Newly-elected Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi Wednesday met both President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga during his maiden visit as head of State to Kenya.
President Tshisekedi’s visit comes barely two weeks after his inauguration which was attended by Mr Kenyatta, the only foreign head of State present at the function.
Mr Odinga also attended the swearing-in ceremony in Kinshasa.
The DRC leader is on a two-day visit to Kenya for bilateral talks with President Kenyatta where the two leaders are said to have explored ways and means of strengthening relations between the two countries.
President Kenyatta said Kenya was committed to help DRC achieve political stability having learnt valuable lessons from its past political tensions, which the country is willing to share with others.
“We will continue to help you achieve peace and stability because we have had similar experience which we can share. Our country has been able to calm down political temperatures through the famous Building Bridges Initiative,” Mr Kenyatta assured his counterpart.
He said Kenya will partner with DRC in capacity building by offering training opportunities to Congolese public servants in Kenya’s training institutions such as the Kenya School of Government.
“Our partnership will ensure that the countries achieve our founding fathers’ dream of a stable, secure and prosperous African continent. We are ready to partner in building infrastructure, sharing skills in the extractive industry and in many other areas of mutual benefit,” President Kenyatta said.
On trade, President Kenyatta observed that a lot of Congolese imports pass through Mombasa port, especially goods destined to Goma and Lubumbashi in eastern DRC, and called for the deepening of trade ties going forward.
Eastern Congo is known for its instability, with the government struggling to contain militia violence, tit-for-tat killings and a recent Ebola outbreak that has left more than 400 dead since August last year.
On his part, President Tshisekedi thanked Mr Kenyatta for being a true friend of DRC as demonstrated by his visit to the country to attend the Congolese leader’s inauguration ceremony.
He acknowledged the important role played by Mombasa port to the economic well-being of DRC, saying his country is willing to join the East African Community so as to deepen its economic ties with the region.
The two leaders agreed to plan for reciprocal state visits once the newly-elected President forms his government.
Meanwhile, Mr Odinga called on President Tshisekedi to unite the country by embracing players from diverse backgrounds, asking him not to allow cracks that could be exploited by foreign interests.
He also congratulated him on his election and for the first peaceful transfer of power in DRC in close to 60 years.