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KENYAN LAW ENFORCEMENT PROTESTERS CLASH AND SOUTH SUDAN TO HELP OVERSEE M23 WITHDRAWAL

March 30-April 5, 2023 | Issue 8 - AFRICOM Team

Abigail Buxton, Christine Saddy, Kyle Dillon, Mridul Jérémie Mahendroo, Utsav Yadav

Steven Jones, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief Editor


Kisumu County, Kenya[1]


Date: March 30, 2023

Location: Kisumu, Kenya

Parties involved: Kenyan President William Ruto; Kenyan government; Kenyan security forces; Kenyan citizens; opposition leader Raila Odinga; Kisumu Police Chief Japhet Koome

The event: Clashes between Kenyan law enforcement officers and protesters led to the death of a police officer. Odinga subsequently called for protests at his Kisumu stronghold to rally against Ruto and his failure to address the country’s deteriorating economic situation. Kenya is currently facing the depreciation of the Kenyan Shilling, a 9.2% inflation rate, and a severe drought, which are negatively impacting citizens’ ability to remain financially afloat.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The police officer's death will very likely strengthen law enforcement's efforts to contain the protests. Security forces will likely respond by aggressively increasing their use of tear gas and water cannons and will likely use lethal force if protests intensify. The frequency and intensity of violent incidents will likely degrade the country’s stability and threaten human lives.

  • These protests will likely threaten local productivity, foreign investment, and tourism, very likely adding to the country’s economic decline. These challenges will almost certainly lead to increased national unemployment and inflation, likely endangering civilians’ livelihoods. If the government does not resolve these challenges, then violent protests will likely multiply, further threatening the country’s economic situation.

  • Ruto will very likely continue to call on Odinga to hold diplomatic talks rather than further destabilize the country with these protests. If protests intensify, then Ruto will likely target Odinga with an arrest, similar to previous opposition leaders, or an assassination attempt. Ruto’s continued hostility towards the opposition will almost certainly incite further protests against his rule and threaten his government’s ability to maintain political and social stability.


Date: April 2, 2023

Location: Goma, North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Parties involved: East African Community (EAC); DRC government; DRC civilians; rebel group March 23 Movement (M23); Rwandan government; South Sudan government; French President Emmanuel Macron

The event: South Sudan sent 45 soldiers to Goma, along the DRC's eastern border, to oversee the withdrawal of M23 rebels after a conflict erupted between the DRC government and M23.[3] South Sudan is part of the EAC force, a military alliance composed of seven African countries formed last year to stabilize the eastern DRC.[4] This conflict has resulted in the displacement of thousands of people which has forced refugees to demand aid and better living conditions.[5] The DRC also accuses Rwanda of supporting M23 which adds to the complexities of this conflict.[6] Macron threatened sanctions, including those against Rwanda, if the commitments are not fulfilled.[7]

Analysis & Implications:

  • M23's failure to withdraw from North Kivu on March 30 likely prompted the EAC to send troops to the DRC. EAC nations are very likely to pursue their interests in the DRC because of regional instability and their desire to prevent M23's diffusion to neighboring countries. There is a roughly even chance the increased number of foreign countries involved in the DRC will complicate efforts to remove M23 and possibly create tensions between African countries.

  • DRC citizens will likely question the motivations of EAC forces in their country and protest against their involvement. There is a roughly even chance that an inadequate government response and the continued presence of EAC forces will likely encourage citizens to join armed militias. This will likely exacerbate the conflict in the DRC by strengthening opposition forces and possibly creating additional militant groups.

  • M23’s failure to withdraw from North Kivu will likely lead to France imposing sanctions on Rwanda. There is a roughly even chance that other Western countries will implement economic restrictions following these initial French sanctions. The sanctions will likely discourage business creation in Rwanda, leading to less financial support for M23.

 

[2] Police Officer dead In Kenya protests, Reuters, March 2023, https://www.africanews.com/2023/03/31/police-officer-dead-in-kenya-protests/

[3] First batch of South Sudanese troops land in eastern DRC, Rédaction Africanews and AFP, March 2023, https://www.africanews.com/2023/04/02/first-batch-of-south-sudanese-troops-land-in-eastern-drc/

[4] East African Community’s Ability to Equip Military Force Questioned, VOA, April 2022, https://www.voanews.com/a/east-african-community-s-ability-to-equip-military-force-questioned-/6547429.html

[5] DR Congo: Hundreds displaced by fighting protest in Goma, Rédaction Africanews, March 2023, https://www.africanews.com/2023/03/06/dr-congo-hundreds-displaced-by-fighting-protest-in-goma/

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

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