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HASTY & IRRATIONAL DECISION: Tshisekedi’s Backfired Decision to Drive MONUSCO Out of the DRC Jeopardizes Civilians’ Live in the East

Presidential candidate in the 2023 General Elections Dr. Denis Mukwenge has described as “hasty” the decision by President Fèlix Tshisekedi and the DR Congo’s to have the United Nations’ Peacekeeping Mission in the east, MONUSCO, withdrawn from the country.

Security situation in eastern DRC has deteriorated in the past few days with the M23 rebels having the upper hand over the Congolese army (FARDC) and continue occupying several territories around and advancing into the city of Goma, North Kivu Province.

The situation has since alarmed the citizenry who have demanded for immediate suspension of the disengagement plan signed by Tshisekedi on behalf of the DRC for a gradual, orderly and non-rushed withdrawal of the MONUSCO which is already underway.

The MONUSCO have already handed over one of its strategic base at Kamanyola to the Congolese authorities who are struggling to contain the rampant M23 rebels.

Mukwenge, a Nobel Prize Laureate of 2018, has since written to the United Nations Security Council and indicated the signed withdrawal agreement of MONUSCO forces by Tshisekedi does not meet the condition for the withdrawal of the forces.

Mukwenge adds that this departure is in context of war and overmilitarization of the east of the country risks leaving an “extremely dangerous” security vacuum.

“A hasty withdrawal of the presence of blue helmets and the Monusco Intervention Brigade in a context of war of aggression and over-militarization of the region risks leaving a security vacuum extremely dangerous for the very existence of the DRC and disastrous for the protection of civilians and stability, seriously jeopardizing the legacy of 25 years of presence of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations in the DRC.

There is still time for the government of the DRC and the United Nations to suspend and review the joint disengagement plan and its timetable and to maintain a margin of flexibility depending on the evolution of the situation on the ground to avoid another obvious failure of the international community in maintaining peace and a new chronicle of a catastrophe predicted in the heart of Africa which would further aggravate the threat to regional and international peace and security”, Dr. Mukwege wrote to the member states of the Security Council of the UN.

In December last year, the UN Security Council opted to extend, for another year until December, 2024, the MONUSCO’s mandate.

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