Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Political Component To MONUSCO's New Mandate

Fabrice Musoni writes in his blogpost 'Security Reforms Needed to Protect Civilians in Congo':

'MONUSCO’s mission has come under heavy criticism for failing to achieve its core mandate of protecting civilians in light of increased fighting.'

We can find criticism of MONUSCO in Louise Arbour's open letter to the United Nations Security Council on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (june 11 2012) summarized by Laura Seay here. This letter by Louise Arbour ends with a list of recommendations to the Security Council. These recommendations can be roughly divided in two categories.

The first category on the arrest of Bosco Ntaganda and the ending of cross border support of armed groups by other countries (at least Rwanda) voices support for Congo's ongoing counterinsurgency operation in Kivu.

The second category focuses on the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategy, with a strong political component, to address pervasive insecurity and the threat of illegal armed groups in eastern Congo.

June 27 2012 the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2053 which extends MONUSCO's mission. Among other things it says on Security Sector Reform:

'security sector reform (SSR) should be the primary focus within the stabilization and peace consolidation mandate'
What are the main ingredients of a succesfull SSR? Mvemba Phezo Dizolele writes in his july 16 2012 article 'Hope but no Change':

'It's hard to know where to start in reforming a state as dysfunctional as the DRC, but security sector reform is probably the most pressing of the country's needs'
'The lack of an adequate national integration program has resulted in the establishment of parallel command structures within the military.'
'The DRC has to take critical steps to restore state authority and control over its territory. But without legitimacy, it is impossible for the current pro-Kabila majority to govern. The United States and other donors ought to push the Kabila government to hold free, fair, and transparent provincial elections to offset the paralyzing effect of the 2011 polls.'
Allthough we could argue that today's warning to Paul Kagame can be seen as a victory for Congo's Foreign Affairs minister Tshibanda and Congo's intelligence services, could it also be interpreted as the logical next step of implementing The Democratic Republic of Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006? (Or was it the influence of bloggers like Rwanda's King Kigeli in Virginia?)
The steps taken to hold Rwanda's current regime accountable for it's sustained backing of insurgencies in Congo give us a clear indication of how the new mandate of MONUSCO (and the international consensus on Congo) should be interpreted. Pushing for free, fair and transparent provincial elections in Congo will likely be the logical next step.

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