For better or for worse, the history of the Congolese conflict and the history of the United Nations Mission in the Congo have been enmeshed since 1999. Throughout its history MONUC has been a laboratory for peace but after nearly ten years in the field, peace is nowhere to be found. This report therefore discusses the success and failure of the United Nations in DRC.
In terms of successes, the holding of presidential, general and regional elections should be noted, although local elections have not yet been held. Security has improved in most of the country and robust operations have made it possible to convince some rebel chiefs to hand in their weapons. This has not, however, prevented the FARDC from suffering a series of military disappointments at the hands of Kivu rebels.
In terms of failures, there is a long list with the DDR process struggling due to lack of money and political agreement, reform of the security sector that has given rise to a new army without any cohesion, badly paid, with insufficient training, and under often corrupt and unreliable command. This is so bad that the police and military, along with FDLR and CNDP combatants, often violate human rights. Impunity reigns supreme.
The exceptional duration of MONUC’s mandate helps one to appreciate the achievements in terms of public image. Knowledge of the terrain has undoubtedly improved but is far from sufficient to enable all the Congolese to feel safe, particularly because various sexual abuse scandals and trafficking of all types have cast a shadow over the image of peacekeeping soldiers at the very same time as some improvements was being recorded in terms of public opinion. The road to peace in the DRC is steep and obstacle-ridden. Will a further ten years be required before the Long March of the Congolese comes to an end?