DR Congo/Matadi: Sensitisation day on the mandate and activities of MONUC
Biliaminou Alao / MONUC
On 26 March 2009 in Matadi, MONUC organized two conference debates on its mandate and activities in Bas Congo province for the deputies and members of the provincial government, as well as political party and civil society representatives.
After a short presentation on MONUC's mandate and the history of the Mission in the DRC since 30 November 1999 by the interim head of MONUC's Matadi office, all the substantive sections of MONUC Bas Congo informed the 150 participants present at the two meetings on their daily activities in the implementation of the Mission mandate.
Concerns regarding the upcoming local elections
The questions and answers session made it possible for those present to challenge MONUC on the provisions designed to avoid election fraud, as well as the procedures to take into account unregistered minors, and people who have lost their voter registration cards.
MONUC's Electoral section representative explained its support for the Independent Electoral Commission, so that all the errors from previous elections are used as lessons for the future, and that previous successes are built upon.
Security of the territory of the province
The deputies and civil society representatives underlined the incursion of the Angolan army into two villages in the territory of Mbanza Ngungu, and questioned the nature of MONUC's support for the Congolese government.
In response, the positive contribution of MONUC through its Radio Okapi was reiterated, as Radio Okapi allows the Congolese population to be informed, thus putting the onus on authorities at provincial and national level to shoulder their responsibilities.
In this way, the inhabitants of Kusi observed the departure of Angolan soldiers from their village, after nearly two months of occupation, as the village of Sava Ina awaits its turn for liberation.
Congolese Police and respect for human rights
MONUC was also reproached for not preventing the Congolese National Police (PNC) from making exactions against members of the ex movement Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK) during the confrontations of February 2007 in the province.
The head of the United Nations Police (UNPOL) in Matadi pointed out that PNC officers are trained by MONUC on a regular basis. He said that in 2009, nearly 1,500 PNC officers underwent training by MONUC in the fields of road traffic, maintenance and re-establishment of law and order, judicial police and intelligence gathering, with a focus on respect for human rights, child protection and the prevention of violence against women.
Prison conditions in Bas Congo
MONUC's Rule of Law section representative underlined its contribution to the improvement of the difficult conditions in the prisons and detention centres of the province.
MONUC Matadi's interim head of office congratulated Bas Congo's local authorities, political actors and civil society organizations for their contribution to the maintenance on peace in the harbour province.
The audience expressed their appreciation and said they would like to see a repeat of the initiative, in order to continue the debate on other socio-economic issues in Bas Congo province.