Deputy President William Ruto has initiated talks with the Democratic Republic of Congo after tensions triggered by his recent comments on the country’s economy.
The country’s second in command on Thursday sent a delegation to DRC embassy in Nairobi as part of efforts to address the matter.
In a brief update, Ruto’s Director of Communications Hussein Mohamed said the team was led by Ababu Namwamba, the Head of International Relations at the WSR Presidential Campaign.
Mohamed, who was also part of the delegation, met DRC Head of Missions Madam Malenga Omoy Charlotte. Also present was Korir Sing’oei, the legal advisor in the Office of the Deputy President.
Charlotte, Mohamed indicated, assured Namwamba that there is no cause for alarm over a purported diplomatic row with Kinshasa.
“DRC Head of Missions Madam Malenga Omoy Charlotte has assured that our bilateral relations remain intact and that the existing formal diplomatic channels of communication take precedence,” Mohamed tweeted.
“We both agree that cordial sister countries always leave room for engagement through formal diplomatic channels in the face of any issues.”
Namwamba is the immediate former Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary.
Ababu is the WSR presidential secretariat Head of International Relations.
We both agree that cordial sister countries always leave room for engagement through formal diplomatic channels in the face of any issues.
— Hussein Mohamed, MBS. (@HusseinMohamedg) February 17, 2022
The DP on Tuesday claimed DRC rears no cows, alluding to inadequate milk supply in the country. He was speaking in Nyeri county where he promised to streamline the milk sector.
“We have a market in DR Congo… these people who are singers… These people have a population of about 90 million but they don’t own any cow,” said the presidential hopeful.
Congolese Senator, Francine Muyumba Nkanga, criticized the DP terming the remarks as an insult to the people of DRC.
“Mr. Vice Preisident @WilliamsRuto, this is really unacceptable, with all due respect there is a need to withdraw this statement. If #DRC did not have a single cow how could #KENYA sign economic deals with #DRC, @EquityBCDC is currently making money in Congo, this is an insult,” she tweeted.
On Wednesday, Kenya’s ambassador to DRC Dr George Masafu admitted there have been a negative reaction to comments by Ruto further alluding that he was doing everything to avert a diplomatic row.
“The embassy has informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nairobi on the negative reactions that the comments have triggered among the business community and general populace in the DRC,” Masafu said.
“The Kenyan embassy wishes to reiterate that the government and the people [of Kenya] share a deep and respectful; historical relationship with the government and the people of DRC. This relationship stretches back to the independence of our respective countries.
“The Embassy reassures the Government and people of the DRC that the Government of Kenya will continue encouraging the citizens of both our countries to continue engaging and building strong partnerships especially at this historic moment when the DRC prepares to join the East African Community.”
The DP has since apologised saying his remarks were not intended to be disrespectful in any way.