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DRC: MONUSCO Supports the New Demobilization Program for Ex-combatants

DRC: MONUSCO Supports the New Demobilization Program for Ex-combatants. Photo Monusco/Carine Tope

The Democratic Republic of Congo has adopted a national strategy for the implementation of the Demobilization, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilization Program (P-DDRCS) for ex-combatants. The appropriation ceremony for this program took place during a workshop chaired by Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde Kyenge in Kinshasa on March 17. 

The national strategy is a Congolese Government's technical tool. Its major goal is the stabilization and securing of the eastern part of the DRC. This strategy contained in the P-DRRSC is led by the Head of State. 

The program is based on five major pillars, including Conflict Resolution, the Restoration of State Authority and Security, Economic Recovery and Community Reintegration, Stabilization, Economic and Social Development, as well as Communication and Awareness Raising in eastern DRC. 

The adoption of the strategy marks a significant step forward for the DRC, given the absence of a national DDR program in the country for several years. 

In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde stressed that the government is engaged in this process with MONUSCO, which is in the withdrawal phase. 

“This strategy constitutes an important tool that will enable us to take over the Mission’s tasks after its total and effective exit from the country,” he declared. 

In his speech, P-DRRSC coordinator commended the collaboration and involvement of MONUSCO through its firm commitment and unwavering support in the development of the project and in the implementation and organization of several field activities in the provinces. "MONUSCO provided us with significant technical support for the drafting of this national strategy which is the subject of discussion today", he underscored. 

In the same vien, he also welcomed the participation of the UN experts from New York for their contribution to the drafting of the100-page document. 

Decentralization, the innovative element at the heart of the P-DRRSC 

P-DDRSC coordinator also said this new program has several innovations compared to the three previous ones in the past. Reference was made to DDR1, DDR2 and DDR3 whose results are mixed, according to him. 

“P-DDRSC draws its strength from the mistakes and failures of past programs,” he argued. One of its key innovative elements is the decentralization of decision-making. 

Powers are delegated to the provincial governors, including the territorial and local authorities. To this must be added the active participation of civil society at all levels and even of local communities who are victims of the armed groups’ activism. 

In his confession, Mr. Tommy Tambwe revealed that these stakeholders were not factored in the three previous programs. ''This time, we wanted at all costs to correct these errors'', he declared, before arguing that this strategy factors in the real needs of the communities, with the principle: In the community, For the community and With the community. 

 MONUSCO reiterates its commitment to the Congolese Government

Taking part in the Kinshasa meeting, Bintou Keita, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC, welcomes the adoption of a harmonized program for the consolidation of peace which is carried out in the communities and by the communities, and which integrates stabilization as an approach that integrates dialogue, conflict transformation, restoration of state authority, DDR, community-based reintegration, and community recovery. 

For the head of MONUSCO, the absence of a DDR program has been felt for years in the country. This has resulted in a proliferation of armed groups, as well as the recruitment, and in some cases the “re-recruitment”, of thousands of men and women. On top of this, there are also boys and girls who have experienced the horrors of the conflicts, she said. 

Echoing the program coordinator’s statement, the head of MONUSCO recalled the vision of the PDDRCS which is: in the community, with the community and for the community. “To this I would like to add “by the community”, because the latter will carry the heavy task of seeking locally designed solutions to conflicts and the reintegration of ex-combatants, returnees, and young people at risk and other marginalized people. The populations have lived through years of conflict and destabilization, and it is up to us to ensure that they hold the reins in the search for solutions to the conflicts and that they become actors of development in their respective communities", she insisted. 

She further reiterated the will and commitment of the United Nations to support the Congolese State in the implementation of this new national strategy. 

Several government financial and technical partners took part in the debates on the new national strategy. 

At the end of the day, the program was amended and adopted unanimously. It will be submitted to the steering committee headed by the Head of State for validation.