11 January 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: Invest in Peace, Not Gadgets to Solve DRC Conflict

Photo: Sylvain Liechti/UN
Fleeing conflict (file photo).


On Tuesday, the UN peacekeeping chief, Herve Ladsous, asked the Security Council to support the deployment of surveillance drones.

This controversial request was supported by the French UN spokesperson, Brieuc Pont, who tweeted "the UN in Congo needs additional assets, including drones, to be better informed and reactive".

While there are various challenges that need to be ironed out, as Rwanda's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Olivier Nduhungirehe, told The New Times yesterday, such as issues pertaining to national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the biggest question is whether the unmanned aerial vehicles would actually improve the situation.

Presently, the bloated MONUSCO mission enjoys the status of being the most expensive UN peacekeeping mission in history with an annual budget of more than one billion dollars. It is heavily equipped with modern weaponry including gunships, tanks and heavy artillery.

However, if one is to attempt to justify all that expenditure vis-à-vis actual impact one the ground, disappointment would follow. Eastern Congo has not become a safer place for civilians since MONUSCO started operating, it has become more dangerous.

So, the question we must ask is; why should the UN spend more money for a mission that has become an abysmal failure? Is it not throwing good money after bad? How will these drones help the peace process?

In fact, it is more logical to financially support the region's peacemaking efforts. That way, the UN would actually be a part of the peace process and not a mere bystander.

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