EDITORIAL: MONUSCO’s new chief should come with new ideas

Martin Kobler’s tenure as the head of the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) comes to an end at the end of October.

Martin Kobler’s tenure as the head of the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) comes to an end at the end of October.

To say that he will not be missed by many in the region would be an understatement. As the head of a more than 20,000 force, Kobler failed dismally in one of his core task; neutralizing the FDLR militia that are the primary source of instability in eastern DRC for two decades.

MONUSCO never failed to come up with an excuse as to why it had not embarked on disarming the FDLR despite the robust mandate from the Security Council. Instead, it was caught up in a series of scandals that should have been warning signal that the UN force was on a course of failure of tremendous proportions.

Kobler might not be the source of MONUSCO’s debacle, but he had the power to influence things at UN headquarters, after all, he was the Secretary General’s Special Representative in DRC, so the buck stops at his desk.

In sourcing for Kobler’s replacement, the UN should also revisit its priorities regarding the armed groups in the DRC. They should not be hinged on selective course of actions; neither should it be seen to be favouring some sides of the conflict.

Otherwise, contributors to the $1.4 billion annual budget should sincerely raise questions as to whether it is money worth spent.

 

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