Peacekeeping bodies’ in Africa : an analysis of MONUSCO and SADC in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a nation characterized by severe armed conflict. The first phase of conflict began in 1996, resulting in the overthrow of Mobutu in 1997 by Laurent Kabila. While the second phase of conflict began when Rwandans invaded the DRC and backed new rebellion forces against Kabila. Kabila then turned to members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for support. Subsequently, in August 1998, SADC intervened for the very first time in the DRC and its intervention resulted in the signing of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in July 1999. A month later the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) established the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) by its resolution 1258. MONUC’s initial mandate was to observe the ceasefire; ensure the disengagement of all forces; and maintain close liaison with all parties to the Ceasefire Agreement. However, through a series of subsequent resolutions, the UNSC expended MONUC’s area of responsibility to include supervising implementation of the agreement, and performing multiple additional tasks. On 1 July 2010, UNSC by its Resolution 1925 renamed MONUC the United Nations organization stabilization mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). MONUSCO was mandated among other things to protect civilians and support the DRC government in its stabilization and peace consolidation effects. Nevertheless, the DRC continues to be mired in intractable conflicts. The security situation remains extremely volatile and peace remains elusive. While the western part of the country enjoys relative calm, the eastern regions consistently experience high insecurity and repeated incidences of violence. Therefore, this study examines the role of peacekeeping bodies’ in Africa. In particular, the study analyses the role of MONUSCO and SADC in the DRC conflict. It examines the socio-economic and political conditions in the DRC prior to their arrival. The study identifies and explains the factors that gave rise to their deployment. It evaluates their successes and failures as per their mandates and responsibilities towards combating conflict in the DRC. The analysis of both peacekeeping bodies’ highlights new insights into peacekeeping partnerships between local and international peacekeeping bodies’ and the challenges and constraints they endure in conflict ridden areas. The study concludes by establishing lessons from the research to contribute to policy making and initiatives. The study argues that in situations of conflicts in which regional and international bodies’ such as SADC and the UN intervene in order to ensure peace, these bodies’ need to make clear as well as develop their operational doctrines and not allow differences and divisions to hinder their conflict resolution initiatives in order to help facilitate more lasting peace and security. It argues that partnerships between local and international peacekeeping bodies’ are vital for the success of peacekeeping operations and combating African conflicts. These bodies may have different roles but they play an equally important, sometimes mutually re-enforcing role in peacekeeping and conflict resolutions in countries such as the DRC. The study concludes that there is a need for solid and practical relationships between local and international bodies’ in order to be effective in curbing both intrastate and interstate conflict that characterize the African continent.