Rapid transition needed in DR Congo


Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) new president must swiftly form a government and seize the moment as groups, anxious for political change, lay down arms, the head of the UN mission in Congo warned.

Felix Tshisekedi’s victory in the December 30 election, while marred by widespread accusations of fraud, led to the first transfer of power via the ballot box in DRC. Safeguarding Congo’s fragile security situation will be a key task for Tshisekedi, who has yet to deliver the final act of the transition.

“The Congolese people are in expectation, we must not disappoint them,” the head of the UN stabilisation mission in DRC (MONUSCO) Leila Zerrougui said in an interview on the sidelines of the G7 foreign ministers meeting in western France.

“This wait should not last too long because nature abhors a vacuum and bad things will happen if good things do not occur,” she said.

In some provinces of Congo, armed groups have laid down arms, she said, naming Kasai (centre), Ituri (east), Tanganyika (east) and parts of the eastern province most stricken by violence, Kivu.

“It’s an important dynamic that ought to be seized on, she said in Dinard where she spoke about sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Amid a resurgence of hostility between African neighbours Uganda and Rwanda, the seasoned Algerian diplomat applauded Kinshasa’s position regarding foreign rebels seeking shelter in Congo.

“The Congolese government has shown clearly it does not agree with being a rear base used to destabilise neighbours,” she said, citing several deportations of Rwandan rebels.

As the trial over the killing of UN sanctions monitors, Zaida Catalan and Michael Sharp in 2017, nears entering its second year, she hoped for a positive signal from the new government. Tshisekedi promised to give impetus to the fight against corruption and the efficiency of the judicial system.

“We do not want to interfere, as long as justice is following its course. The trial is ongoing, but to us it’s important. This trial can inform us on positive changes in the new government,” she added.