Beni: MONUSCO Officials, the Territorial Administrator and Civil Society Actors Brainstorm on "How to Renew Mutual Trust"

Civil society in Beni territory says it is ready to resume collaboration with MONUSCO. Photos MONUSCO / Guilaine Kahambu Kasaya

23 Jan 2023

Beni: MONUSCO Officials, the Territorial Administrator and Civil Society Actors Brainstorm on "How to Renew Mutual Trust"

Jean-Tobie Okala

Civil society in the Beni territory, MONUSCO and the territorial administrator have agreed to resume the disrupted dialogue following the rise, over the past few months, of anti-MONUSCO sentiment among some members of the population in this North Kivu territory.

On January 19, 2023, the three partners met in Oicha, capital city of Beni territory, to renew the dialogue – even if it had never actually been disrupted.

MONUSCO reiterated its readiness to support the authorities and civil society’s efforts to restore peace in Beni territory. During the discussions, MONUSCO expressed its regret at being unable to fully implement its mandate due to the anti-MONUSCO sentiment fueled by misinformation and the manipulation of some members of the local population.

MONUSCO's interim head of office in Beni, Abdourahamane Ganda, took this opportunity to ask the territorial administrator, who is there to guarantee everyone's safety, to assume his responsibilities to allow the UN Mission to work without any hindrance.

MONUSCO, a key partner

For Colonel Charles Ehuta Omeonga, Beni territorial Administrator, MONUSCO remains a key partner to the Congolese government who must be "free to move everywhere" in his jurisdiction. As proof of this, the UN delegation met today in Oicha, about thirty kilometers from Beni.

We work in good collaboration with MONUSCO. Moreover, its mandate was renewed for one year, with the consent of the Head of State. We always stand behind the spirit and the letter of the Head of State’s declaration, the guarantor of the nation. We intend to work in close collaboration with MONUSCO, who must be free to move around. It is there to support us, to accompany the Congolese government,” said Bunia territorial administrator.

Colonel Ehuta Meonga also thanked MONUSCO delegation for the efforts made to strengthen State authority, applauding MONUSCO’s achievements in a bid to help address the problems facing Beni region, in particular the construction and equipment of the police stations as well as land registry building. Finally, he undertook to sensitize young people to renew their collaboration with MONUSCO, a key partner to the country.

Civil society keen to reconnect with MONUSCO

Civil society in Beni territory also says it is ready to resume collaboration with MONUSCO. While regretting "the political manipulations" that led to anti-MONUSCO violence last year and the mistrust from some members of the local population.

This feeling of distrust is caused, among other things, by the deterioration of the security situation in eastern DRC or more recently by the bomb attack in Kasindi on January 15, 2023.

The civil society in Beni territory announced during the discussions the upcoming consultations with the population in order to define new methods of collaboration with MONUSCO.

We will shortly consult the population and will know how to react to the attitude of the Congolese government. We, civil society, support the government and we already know its position: it has taken note of the renewal of MONUSCO mandate” said Richard Kirimba, the deputy-chair of the civil society in the territory of Beni.

Interest shown in MONUSCO projects

Civil society is particularly interested in better understanding MONUSCO's new mandate, its transition plan, but also the modalities for implementing quick impact projects and community violence reduction as well as organizing capacity-building sessions for its members.

In conclusion, MONUSCO stressed the importance of resuming this collaboration with an integrated civil society to discuss, in partnership with local authorities, common ways to reduce insecurity, by addressing the root causes, including youth unemployment. For Abdourahamane Ganda, “it is within a framework of mutual trust and joint collective efforts that insecurity can be curbed”.