[QODLink]
South 2 North

DR Congo: Peacekeepers at war

Can the UN intervention brigade bring lasting peace and stability to the war-torn country?

Last Modified: 27 Jul 2013 08:41
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
No subject is off limits - Redi Tlhabi talks frankly to inspiring and intriguing personalities from across the world.

On March 28, 2013, the United Nations Security Council authorised a 3,000 strong "Force Intervention Brigade" to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - the first of its kind in UN history.

Many believe that the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the DRC has failed. The conflict continues and by some estimates 5.4 million are dead, and hundreds of thousands of women are raped every year.

And fearing the rising death toll, the UN has broken tactic: the peacemakers are going to war.

But is this the way to create internal peace and prosperity in the DR Congo? And is it the way forward for international peacekeeping missions?

In a passionate and heated edition of South2North, Redi invites Ambassador Bene M'Poko from the embassy of the DRC in South Africa; American author Jason K. Stearns; and former CEO of Africa Liberty and civil leader Bernard Katompa to debate the past, present and future of the Congo.

M'Poko explains how the resources of the DR Congo have historically made it a target for external intervention, and that the current government needs time to recover.

"In 1960, the year of independence, we had less than ten college graduates - so it took a long time to send children to school, to build institutions and so forth ... But those institutions were weakened by the conflict - and the source of the conflict is resources. If this was a desert country some place with no resources, nobody would touch us. Nobody would be interested."

Stearns, author of the book Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo explains that the reason the DRC has recently been largely ignored by the media is because of the complexity of the situation on the ground.

"Basically epidemiologists tell us that 5 million people have died, but they have died in ways that are very difficult to simplify and to tell. And we don't care about things that are difficult to simplify and tell - especially when they're happening in Africa. So in the Congo, 90 percent plus of the victims are indirect victims of violence - in other words these are people displaced by violence who then died due to diarrhoea, malaria, pneumonia - far away from TV cameras."

Katompa believes that ineffective leadership and weak institutions are to blame for the sluggish progress in the Congo. M'Poko challenges Katompa pointing to the projected 8.2 percent growth in the economy.

"What is being said is not the reality on the ground. When you are talking about GDP growth, you have to see the base of that GDP growth. You're talking about 17 billion of GDP, and you're talking about 8.2 percent growth … Now you have this in an environment where there is no proper regulations in terms of the financial system, there is no regulation in terms of mining resources, no accountability … So you have a situation which is a pandemonium … When you are talking about economic growth, does that growth translate into a better life for your people?"

 

South2North can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1930; Saturday: 1430; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 0830.

616

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.
join our mailing list