South Kivu: MONUSCO Braced to facilitate inter-community dialogue in the Hauts-plateaux for the return of peace

South Kivu: MONUSCO Braced to facilitate inter-community dialogue in the Hauts-plateaux for the return of peace. PHOTO MONUSCO/Alain Likota

5 Jul 2021

South Kivu: MONUSCO Braced to facilitate inter-community dialogue in the Hauts-plateaux for the return of peace

Alain Likota

The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Bintou Keita, paid a working visit to South Kivu from June 30 to July 2. During this visit which took her to the interior of the province, she met, among others, with representatives of the displaced persons in the Hauts Plateaux, South of the province, in addition to inaugurating some quick impact projects.

Accompanied by the Congolese provincial authorities, Bintou Keita travelled to Mikenge and Bijambo on July 1 where, for at least two years, displaced people have found refuge around MONUSCO bases, following community conflicts and abuses by armed groups in this region.

The Head of MONUSCO sought to listen to proposals from the local populations for a return to normal life: what should be done to have them return home and resume their activities in peace and autonomy?

Most of her interlocutors advocated the path of dialogue - frank and sincere - for peaceful coexistence between communities who, as one of the traditional leaders recalled, had lived at least 300 years of peace in the past.

Besides the efforts made by the military and police, the "Bami", traditional leaders of the communities affected by the inter-communal conflicts in the southern South-Kivu province, favor inter-communities dialogue.

Bintou Keita reassured that the United Nations is ready to facilitate these dialogues. "They should take place in the environments where the communities live, because all of them must take part, and all must be able to speak sincerely, and engage sincerely in the continuation of peaceful cohabitation and social cohesion ", she said.

The Head of MONUSCO said it is important that the deployments of security forces in the region correspond to the current threats.

‘’We are going to have a strategic discussion, in partnership with the FARDC, but also with the Police, to see how our strategic deployment will correspond to the threats that we are now witnessing, “said the head of MONUSCO, in relation to the situation in the Highlands of Itombwe and Uvira.

Bintou Keita claims to have noted from the populations a demand for safety before their return. "This demand requires a greater presence in some areas, in large numbers of the FARDC but also of the PNC. On the one hand, to deploy where there are no FARDC or PNC troops and on the other hand, to continue and strengthen the authority of the State by increasing the workforce where there are few elements. This is what must be combined, " she explained.

Support for strengthening state authority

Moreover, the Head of MONUSCO took advantage of her visit to the South Kivu to inaugurate the Administrative Building of the Kalehe territory, renovated and equipped by MONUSCO.

The rehabilitation of the roof, the installation of new windows and metal doors, the equipment of the building in addition to the solar installation for renewable energy, are the bulk of the work carried out by MONUSCO within the framework of this quick impact project (QIP). MONUSCO's action aims to improve the working environment of the territorial administration staff as well as strengthen the State authority and the confidence of the population vis-à-vis their territorial leaders.

The Provincial Minister of the Interior, Security, Traditional Affairs and Decentralization, Luabanji Lwasi Ngabo, is satisfied with the quality of the work but also with the support and accompaniment of MONUSCO for the strengthening of the State authority, including of its symbols.

"This building, which we find pretty today, is a source of pride for all the citizens of the chiefdom of Buhavu," said the Mwami, applauding as well other actions achieved by MONUSCO in his chiefdom and in the territory of Kalehe.

Also, as part of the quick impact projects, on July 1, the head of MONUSCO handed over computers and laboratory equipment to the Lycée Cirezi in Bukavu, to contribute to the annual training of a thousand girls in female leadership.

On this same occasion, Bintou Keita spoke with the girl students in the final year of Lycée Cirezi on the theme "woman leader today: challenges and opportunities". She called on them to exercise excellence, determination, and to use their influence for positive ends, drawing inspiration from many role models existing in the DRC.