The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and head of MONUC, Alan Doss, and the European Union’s Special Representative to the Great Lakes Region, Roland Van de Geer, have both admitted to facing serious difficulties in implementing the Nairobi Accord regarding the disarming of rebels of Forces Democratiques de la Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR).
This is indeed regrettable, if not unfortunate. For the United Nations to sound the pessimism bell when all else depended on them, spells a fresh round of disorder and carnage in the eastern DRC, where FDLR rebels and their Interahamwe cousins who fled justice hold sway. Such failure just makes them celebrate, and they dig in more and commit their mayhem with absolute impunity.
The UN blames the DRC for prevaricating on implementing the Nairobi peace deal. But the UN has also been known to prevaricate in many crucial times, thereby failing to stamp their authority on situations and eventually losing the plot – to very serious consequences. Remember UNAMIR? The UN force in the DRC for example, is the biggest peacekeeping force committed to any one country.
MONUC is 15,000 men strong, and ought to make its presence felt. It is such failure as is now being said of MONUC versus FDLR, which puts the credibility of the entire edifice of the UN peacekeeping mission at stake. When the UN prevaricates, lawless forces like the FDLR become bolder, and the DRC government also sits back and relaxes, leaving the lives and livelihood of its eastern citizens in the hands of the rebels.
How can the UN resign to a ragtag force of bandits who are even operating on foreign territory?
There were several rounds of talks that culminated into the Nairobi Accord. One would have expected that the time for action was going to follow swiftly. But signed accords of action have yet again given way to more talks. When will the bureaucracy end? When shall we see someone from the UN determined enough to enforce UN decisions?
We remain confident that since the UN has diffused many international tensions, we still look to it to resolve many more. But we urge it to be a little bit more emphatic in enforcing its mandates.