Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


The Security Council will vote either today or tomorrow on a new mandate for MONUC. According to a draft, which is currently being debated, here are the outlines:
  • The mission will be named MONUSCO, the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo. Its first priority will continue to be protecting civilians in imminent danger. But the overall mission will shift slightly to supporting Congolese institutions - the language over and over again is "support the Congolese government" with continuous caveats of "upon explicit request by Congolese authorities;"
  • However, the biggest bullet was dodged: they have decided on withdrawing 2,000 troops, but they will not withdraw any more troops until the Congolese government is able to fulfill certain benchmarks such as progress in bringing an end to military operations, "resulting in minimizing the threat and restoring stability in sensitive areas." MONUSCO will have to report back to the Security Council every three months over the next year on developments;
  • In somewhat convoluted (and contradictory?) language, in order to protect civilians, they are supposed to support the Congolese army "to bring to a completion" operations against the FDLR and LRA, while respecting humanitarian law;
  • They are explicitly mandated to continue efforts such as Joint Protection Teams, Joint Investigation Team, Women's Advisers and - a new development - "Prosecution Support Cells" to support prosecutions by FARDC military authorities;
  • Participate in the training of Congolese police and army battalions and mobilize donors to supply material;
  • Elaborate a plan with other UN agencies for a comprehensive support of the justice sector;
  • Establish, together with the DRC government, five mining "counter" in North and South Kivu to help enhance traceability of minerals (the so-called "centres de negoce").
Some problems:
  • There are no details of how exactly MONUSCO is supposed to support the Congolese army - no mention, in particular, of vetting out abusive officers;
  • No mention of pre-empting violence by taking offensive action against armed groups to stave off (not that it worked that well in the past);
  • No new ideas of how to put pressure on the Congolese security forces to improve behavior - just a small reference to paragraphs about conditionality in the last resolution;
  • Nothing on shifting some resource to deal with the LRA.
The politics of the resolution have been predictable. China is trying to remove many of the concrete suggestions for how to protect civilians, as well as the conditionality of supporting the Congolese army. The Americans are pushing strongly for protection of civilians (but not security sector reform), while Austria is pushing on strong language on security sector reform.

Uganda - wonder of wonders - didn't see the need to say that sexual violence was "widespread."


Alex Engwete said...

EXCLUSIF: La MONUC se métamorphose en MONUSCO (Jason Stearns)

DM said...

The centres de negoce will only make it easier to trace whether dirty minerals are being sold. It will not, however, guarantee that those minerals aren't always dirty. Who will monitor or determine whether minerals are clean or dirty at the centres de negoce? The Congolese government?

Anonymous said...

I continue to be amazed at how all those smart people in the UN and they continue to produce repetitious memos and missions around the world that seem to perpetuate long-standing power structures, blocking opportunities for real sustainable development towards decreasing the areas dependence on political control through violence.

Anonymous said...

So the worst case scenario - MONUC out, nothing to replace - is avoided, then? If yes, it's good news, even if many challenges, as you point out, remain. But, still, I am relieved...

Unknown said...

I do not think Dinesh (DM) is more credible that those he is criticizing.
The DRC government and the UN Experts have shown their limitations. Dinesh's UN Report persecuting Rwandan refugees apparently on the behalf of the Rwandan Government, through Rakiya Omaar, is telling enough.

I just read the latest UN Experts' report on DRC. As usual, these experts have condemned everybody, except the real culprit: Kagame and the Rwandan Government.

UN Experts have been pampering Kagame and his Rwandan government in the repression and oppression of the Congolese people and the Rwandan opposition. Paul Kagame has been so emboldened by the support of UN experts on the DRC for his repressing the opposition that he just arrested Peter Erlinder, an American lawyer, for defending a Rwandan opposition figure! What a shame!
Recently I went through most of the Jason's blogs and was surprised that Jason never made any relevant comments on the repression going on in Rwanda, the grenade attacks, or Johnie Carson's address to the House of the Representative committee regarding human rights abuses and lack of democracy in Rwanda. Let us hope I will see a stinging note on the arrest of Peter Erlinder.
Whatever love you guys (Jason, Dinesh, and other UN Experts) have for Kagame, the time for reevaluating your support is clearly well overdue. What has become of the good old principles?

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