NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 14 – President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto on Tuesday witnessed the signing of a peace agreement by former Central African Republic (CAR) Presidents Francois Bozize and Michel Djotodia.
The endorsement declaring support to two peace agreements by the Ex-Seleka and Anti-Balaka – signed last week in Nairobi – and to the Brazzaville Agreement of July 2014 also brought to a close the Nairobi-CAR Peace Initiative facilitated by President Kenyatta.
“With the signing of the Nairobi Declarations by the two former Presidents of Central African Republic, it is my pleasure and singular hounour to declare the Nairobi-CAR Peace Initiative now concluded,” President Kenyatta said.
Last week, the Ex-Seleka and Anti-Balaka signed the Nairobi Agreement on Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and the Nairobi Engagement Declaration Adherence to the Transition Roadmap in Central African Republic at State House, Nairobi.
Addressing the CAR delegations today, President Kenyatta said commitment to the two milestones by all the main parties laid a firm foundation on which lasting peace and stability can be built in CAR.
The CAR delegations represented the Anti-Balaka led by Joachim Kokate, former President Djotodia’s Ex-Seleka, a group led by former President Bozize and another group representing civil society organizations.
President Kenyatta disclosed that he was requested by President Sassou Nguesso to facilitate the cessation of hostilities and ceasefire, which he accepted in the spirit of Pan-Africanism.
The President pointed out that peace does not come easy and should never be taken for granted, especially for a country that has been unstable for long.
“The African of today understands that instability in your neighbor’s country is instability in your country,” President Kenyatta said.
He asked the international community to support the peace process, saying: “It does not matter how we got them to the table, what matters is that they are at the table discussing peace.”
Deputy President William Ruto said Kenya’s support to the CAR peace process was driven by the philosophy that instability anywhere is instability everywhere.
He thanked the parties to the conflict in the CAR for seeking peace for the sake of children and women in the war-ravaged country.
“This agreement is a testimony that we can solve our problems in the region and Africa,” the Deputy President said.
To those arguing over the legality of the peace process, the Deputy President said: “It is for the sake of the children and women of Central Africa.”
Congolese President Sassou Nguesso in his capacity as the international mediator and President Kenyatta as the facilitator were the force behind the talks.
Noting that for the last two years CAR has been searching for peace, Former President Bozize appreciated President Kenyatta’s efforts that saw the combatants live in the same hotel in Nairobi and learn to talk together in the last four months.
“Peace has no price for the survival of a nation. Peace is above everything else,” he said.
He challenged the Government in Central Africa to seize opportunity to restore peace in the country and requested President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto to continue their facilitation role even in Central Africa at the Bangui exclusive forum.
Former President Djotodia thanked President Kenyatta and President Sassou Nguesso for their efforts to stop the implosion in CAR and the region. He expressed his support for the outcome of the peace process and its implementation.
“As a sign of my commitment, I support the restoration of peace in Central Africa Republic. We are happy to be part of this historic list of those who have taken part in restorinmg peace in our country,” former President Djotodia said.
To former President Bozize he said: “Before Goda and man, we have to commit to peace.”
Former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende, who is also the chairman of Kenya Power and the chief mediator in the talks, asked the warring parties to honour the Nairobi peace initiative, saying there is “value in it.”
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Sassou Ngwesso of Congo sent representatives.
The peace process is backed by the UN Security Council, African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States.