It has been announced that the former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been appointed to mediate and be a “Special Envoy” to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ethiopia. He will have to partake in the insurgencies in the DRC and the conflict in Northern Ethiopia (Tigray). Therefore, he has a massive take and lots of responsibility overnight.
The Former President be working with Heads of State in the DRC. Where he has to be working directly with the authorities in Kinshasa. That’s the place he has a shot and possibility to make a difference. Kenyatta already has a working relationship with President Felix Tshisekedi. Therefore, if there is hope for any substantial progress or delivery. He should hope to get somewhere in the DRC.
The M23 latest peace agreement was already made in Nairobi with the Nairobi Declaration. That’s why, Kenyatta has goodwill and could use the working relations from his years in office to make a difference, but we shouldn’t have to high hopes. However, we have to take what positives there are before downplaying this role and office.
On the other hand, in Ethiopia and Addis Ababa, is a place where Kenyatta might not be so much welcome. There won’t be much fanfare or acceptance of him. He will be a nonce and nuisance quickly. The Addis Ababa government have to already work with the African Union Envoy for the Horn, Olusegun Obasanjo. The former Nigerian President have struggled to bring any dialogue or talks between the stakeholders. This work has been stifled and his had an unforgiving role, as the FDRE and the Government of Tigray has both ceased talks or negotiations in general.
Obasanjo have tried and his hands are tied. We know the FDRE is directing how the AU Envoy can operate. While people will quickly question the mandate and what sort of mission Kenyatta has. This was quickly launched, as Kenyatta retired from the Office of Presidency. It is a way of softening the blow and give him a purpose. Though, what will the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tell Kenyatta and what is his anticipated to do?
Will he make phone-calls, conduct field-work or even try to get stakeholders to meet each other? A man of peace can do a lot. He can do little or a lot. If any of the 10 years in Office will tell us. The former President could easily create a scandal or a way of using the office for enriching himself. However, it would be hard to find a way to make this happen. Nevertheless, people shouldn’t be shocked, if he found a way or a scheme to get some additional funds. That is his way and how he has run his government.
Ruto surely sent him on his merry. Giving him a token of appreciation and an honourable task. Kenyatta should use all diplomatic channels and shouldn’t expect much. It isn’t like his through IGAD, AU or any other body. No, his just appointed by the incumbent Kenyan President and that isn’t setting a strong mandate.
This is sort of like the mandate or role Stephan Kalonzo Musyoka had in the South Sudan in the previous term. He was the Special Envoy to South Sudan and he surely cannot show much, if anything He got a few free trips to Juba, but cannot be said to helped the process significantly.
This here office should be gazetted and the mandate should be set forward. Also, the current President should give a time-frame and possible plans for it. Since, it shouldn’t just be something to keep Kenyatta busy. Kenyatta should have a target to work towards in coordination with Kinshasa and Addis Ababa. However, time will tell if they will let him or see him as outside noise. Peace.