An agreement was signed between the United Nations and the government of DR Congo earlier this week, initiating the process of withdrawing the MONUSCO peacekeeping mission from the country. The initial phase of troop withdrawal starts in December. After a quarter a century and several billions of dollars spent, the mission leaves behind a legacy of unmet expectations and a security landscape that remains deeply troubled – especially in eastern DR Congo. The decision to end the peacekeeping mission speaks volumes about the reality on the ground. Despite the immense resources invested, the situation in eastern Congo stands today as a stark reminder of the mission's failures. In many ways, the security conditions now may even surpass the turmoil witnessed in the late 1990s when the mission was initiated. ALSO READ: DR Congo army announces ‘divorce’ with FDLR The departure of the UN peacekeeping mission signals both relief and concern. While it marks the end of an era characterized by unfulfilled promises, it also serves as a wake-up call for the DRC. The nation must now take charge of its security and confront the daunting challenges that persist within its borders. It is undeniable that the UN mission faced formidable obstacles from the outset. The country’s vast size, diverse ethnicities, lack of political will and a history marred by conflict posed significant hurdles to bringing about lasting peace. The closure of this chapter, however, should not be seen as a failure solely attributable to the UN. It is also an opportunity for introspection and action within DR Congo itself. The responsibility for ensuring security and stability ultimately rests with the Congolese government and its people. It is time for the nation to step up and take ownership of its destiny. The road ahead for Congo is undoubtedly challenging. Building a secure and peaceful environment demands concerted efforts on multiple fronts. It necessitates effective governance, inclusive dialogue among diverse communities, economic development, and a robust security apparatus that prioritizes the protection of its citizens. ALSO READ: Kagame, US intelligence chief discuss tensions in eastern DR Congo The international community and regional blocs can continue to support Congo in its endeavors, but the primary impetus for change and progress must come from within. Congo has the potential to chart a new course, one where its people can thrive without the shadow of incessant conflict looming over their lives. Time has come for President Felix Tshisekedi to stop blaming neighbours, particularly Rwanda, for everything that goes wrong in Congo. Tshisekedi, or whoever is elected to lead the country next month, must embrace the challenge to help DR Congo to rise above its turbulent past.