Warring groups in the Central Africa Republic on Wednesday signed a peace agreement to end hostilities and open a new chapter of political stability in their country.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto witnessed the signing of two agreements between Anti-Balaka, led by Joachim Kokate, and Ex-Seleka, led by former president Michel Djotodia.
The two agreements, the Nairobi Agreement on Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities between Ex-Seleka and Anti-Balaka, and the Nairobi Engagement Declaration Adherence to the Transition Roadmap in Central African Republic, were signed at State House, Nairobi.
Speaking after the signing of the agreements, President Kenyatta urged the leaders to commit to the agreements and avoid being derailed from their objectives.
“There will be many who will try to bring divisions amongst you for their personal benefit. Your principal interest should be the well-being of the Central Africa Republic citizens,” he said.
President Kenyatta pointed out that the signing of the peace agreements was a first step and there are many issues that have to be tackled for the stability of CAR.
“The spirit of brotherhood which you have developed here in Nairobi should continue even to the Bangui forum,” the President added.
President Kenyatta told the leaders to protect the agreements they signed as there are malevolent forces who want the violence to continue.
“Peace is not something that makes everybody happy, there are those who prosper through the misery of others,” said the President.
He assured the delegations that Kenya would continue to support them even as they strive to build their nation.
The President said rapid and substantial progress had been made towards a political settlement that would restore CAR into the community of peaceful states.
“I thank you for the patience, understanding, restraint and commitment you have shown. These are the hallmarks of mature leadership which can usher in progress and happiness for the people of CAR,” President Kenyatta said.
Deputy President William Ruto commended the warring factions for agreeing to set aside their differences and engage each other on a peaceful process.
He said the signing of the agreements would help the Central Africa Republic people to come up with an all-inclusive, effective democratic, elected government that will cater for the interests of all citizens.
The leaders of the two rival groups thanked President Kenyatta and the Government of Kenya for the efforts put into bringing peace in CAR.
They said their country has been in political turmoil for the past 20 years, pointing out that the commitment by the Kenya leadership will definitely bear positive results.
“We came here for peace and to agree amongst ourselves. The time we have spent in Nairobi has made us learn and understand the efforts made by Kenya in reaching this agreement,” said Mr Djotodia.
The latest conflict in the Central African Republic broke out in December 2012.
Some 5,600 African Union peacekeepers and about 2,000 French soldiers are deployed in the country.
The mediation process, which began in November last year, is spearheaded by Kenneth Marende and Lt-Gen (rtd) Njuki Mwaniki.
The signing of the agreements was witnessed by CAR civil society group leaders, led by Mahamat Ali. Others were Mahamat Ibrahim, Alexix Ngoya and El Mackine Mansour.