Monusco to be headed by African

The proposal to appoint an African to head the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco) is at advanced stages, a senior official of the African Union has said.
A Congolese refugee prepares food in a camp. The New Times/  File
A Congolese refugee prepares food in a camp. The New Times/ File

The proposal to appoint an African to head the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco) is at advanced stages, a senior official of the African Union has said.

Boubacar Gaoussou Diarra, the newly-appointed special AU envoy to the Great Lakes region, said this during his maiden field visit to the region last week.

During his working visit, Diarra toured the troubled North Kivu region and declared, “An African is better placed to fully understand the challenges underlying the unrest in eastern DRC and how best to solve them.”

He told a meeting attended by officials from the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL) that this would help build solidarity among the African people as they attempt to solve the consequences of regional instability.

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Diarra said the proposed multinational neutral force in DR Congo would promote regional cooperation and partnership in finding a lasting solution to the Congo crisis.

The current head of Monusco is Roger Meece, an American whose force has been widely criticised for doing little to pacify the region despite having a hefty annual budget in excess of $1.5b.

There were initial suggestions that the regional force would act independent of Monusco, but last month’s UN Security Council meeting ruled otherwise.

On his part, CEPGL’s Executive Secretary Herman Tuyaga said it was timely for the region to do everything possible to end the DR Congo conflicts, which have a spill over effect to neighbouring countries.

The need for peace

“Restoring peace in the region would facilitate development projects to improve the lives of the locals,” Tuyaga said.

However, in an interview, Adolphe Bazatoha, the chairperson of the Parliamentary Forum of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, said Kinshasa’s commitment is required to return lasting peace in DRC.

“It is all still speculation. Before DRC counts on its neighbours to solve its problems, they should first deal with the country’s internal affairs,’ Bazatoha said.

The multi-national force is expected to comprise about 4,000 troops to work alongside Monusco in eliminating both local and foreign rebel groups operating in the eastern DR Congo.

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