President Uhuru Kenyatta with Equity Group CEO James Mwangi and other officials when he presided over the official inauguration of the rebranded Equity BCDC office block in Central Kinshasa in April 2021. [Photo /PSCU]
President Uhuru Kenyatta with Equity Group CEO James Mwangi and other officials when he presided over the official inauguration of the rebranded Equity BCDC office block in Central Kinshasa in April 2021. [Photo /PSCU]

Equity Group Holdings’ DRC business faces a backlash from a section of citizens of the country over controversial comments made by Deputy President William Ruto.

Ruto has been the subject of protests from a section of DRC residents including top diplomats and social media personalities for comments they deemed offensive and demeaning to their country.

Speaking in Kiswahili at a campaign event, Ruto was calling for Kenya to look to explore new markets for livestock and dairy products – and referenced the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) stating that “a country of 90 million doesn’t have a single cow”.

He further made reference to DRC as “where the singers are…the likes of Kanda Bongoman”.

A clip of the speech quickly went viral. The comments sparked outrage among a section of Congolese, particularly online. Some have called for a boycott of Equity BCDC until Kenya issues an official apology for Ruto’s comments.

Equity has been banking on DRC to overtake Kenya as its largest market. In addition to various investments, the bank has sought to spur Kenya-DRC trade by facilitating trade missions involving businesses and leaders from the two countries.

Mwangi has repeatedly highlighted the strong performance of the DRC business since its inception, describing it as “a juggler pipe that will change this (Equity) Group forever”.

The Equity Banque Commercial du Congo (Equity BCDC) brand identity was unveiled in February 2021 following the successful merger of Equity Bank Congo (EBC) and Banque Commerciale du Congo (BCDC).

Other Kenyan brands including national carrier Kenya Airways also found themselves on the receiving end of the backlash from Congolese citizens who called for their compatriots to boycott Kenyan products. Equity, however, bore the brunt of the outrage owing to its recognizability and major presence in the country.

Jacques Sebisaho, a Doctor, tweeted in French: “We have notified all our colleagues who have an account at Equity Bank that we will not do any more transactions with this bank until the DRC receives an apology from the Kenyan govt.”

Congolese Ambassador Francine Muyumba also referenced Equity Bank’s DRC operations as she slammed Ruto. She tweeted: “Mr. Vice Preisident @WilliamsRuto, this is really unacceptable, with all due respect there is a need to withdraw this statement. If #DRC did not have a single cow how could #KENYA sign economic deals with #DRC, @EquityBCDC is currently making money in Congo, this an insult.”

One Litsani Choukran wrote: “Dear @WilliamsRuto, once elected president, and we really hope that happens, come and take back your @EquityBCDC – we have nothing to offer to your rich country and especially that bank does not offer either good quality service in the DRC.

By A proud Ndombolo dancer.”

13 COMMENTS

  1. You see now what Ruto is doing with his bottom up. I tell you he should be donated to DRC free of charge so that he may know there are cows in DRC

  2. This is very reckless for one who wants to lead this good nation. Its a shame and this gives us one more reason to reject him in torallity. What a shame!! Pole to all DRC citizens. Bad language for business which am sure was meant to affect the Kenyan Investments in DRC…intentionally and malicious!

  3. What makes Dr. William Ruto different from Oscar Sudi? Show me a man’s friends and I will show you his characters.

  4. This is like insult to DRC, we’ve been enjoying cordial relationship with them and just recently is when the two country signed a working trade formula together. Will DP Ruto lead Kenyan by such insult to neighboring countries?? I oppose this man Ruto remarks.

  5. Let Kenyans know the folly of careless whispers.congolese are good brothers and sisters.greet me the tall pastor in kivu.

  6. Africans never want to hear the truth.So,isnt it where famous musicians come from,DRC?.Truth said,monkeys are DRC’s cows..it’s only that they don’t give milk, otherwise,they are used for meat!

  7. No apology should be made, but Uhuru should move around the country most especially Turkana County, donating to DRC and yet kenyans in other parts are suffering, people are dying, he trying to lets us know that she is not upto kenyans but to his own benefits…nkt.(NO APOLOGY SHOULD BE MADE)

  8. No apology should be made, but Uhuru should move around the country most especially Turkana County, donating to DRC and yet kenyans in other parts are suffering, people are dying, he is trying to lets us know that he is not upto kenyans but to his own benefits…nkt.(NO APOLOGY SHOULD BE MADE)

  9. Sorry. Get your facts right. I am Kenyan working in agriculture sector in DRC . Masisi is home to thousands of cows. It’s DRC. Your arrogance and naivety will not get you anywhere. Ishindwe. Respect others then come to us and we can listen.

  10. When some creep pays professors to do ones thesis and the creep gets a PHD all we can say is that Ruto got a permanent head damage!
    There’s a simple unit called critical and logical thinking while taking your undergraduate.
    Al in all ” common sense is not always common.
    Congo ya bein
    Na kitoko

  11. Nonsense we have so many issues and problem to deal with High coast of leaving/ lack of daily basic one eg daily bread/ and you us about your petty issues I call it luck of thinking capacity

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