DRC: Why the US has not appointed a special envoy for the Great Lakes

By Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala
Posted on Thursday, 8 September 2022 12:39

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (C) meets with members of civil society in eastern Congo, including Panzi Hospital and Foundation founder Dr. Dennis Mukwege (2nd L) at the US Ambassador's residence in Kinshasa, 10 August 2022. © ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP

Since the election of Joe Biden, no American representative for the Great Lakes region has been appointed. Is this a sign of US lack of interest or mere lack of competence? Faced with the violence in eastern DRC and the approaching presidential election, many voices are calling for a greater commitment from Washington.

Kinshasa, 11 August. On the last day of his visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, as he prepared to take off for Kigali, Antony Blinken was questioned by Congolese civil society actors and human rights defenders. In turn, Denis Mukwege, the famous doctor and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and activists Julienne Lusenge and Fred Bauma wanted to ensure that the US Secretary of State would stand firm with their neighbour. Since the resurgence of M23 in November 2021, Rwanda has been accused of supporting the rebel movement, accusations it has denied.