The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), H.E. Ms Leila Zerrougui, paid a visit to the SADC Secretariat and met the SADC Executive Secretary, H.E. Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax on 26 June 2018, in Gaborone, Botswana. The purpose of the engagement was to exchange views on the existing cooperation, and on ways of strengthening collaboration and sharing of information between MONUSCO and SADC.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, H.E. Ms Zerrougui highlighted that, the priority for MONUSCO at this time, was to support efforts towards the holding of inclusive and credible elections in the DRC, as articulated in UN Security Council Resolution 2409 (2018). She also mentioned that MONUSCO was ready to provide logistical and technical support to the DRC, in line with the mission support provided to the 2011 elections, whereby logistical support was provided to 129 polling stations out of the 232 polling stations throughout the country. She further underscored the urgent need for a request by DRC government for the elections logistical support in order to be in time with the process of budget approval that is being finalized at UN Headquarters, New York.
The Executive Secretary of SADC H.E.Dr Tax thanked Ms Zerrougui for her visit and willingness to mobilise resources in support of the DRC, and for the continued engagements between MONUSCO and SADC. The SADC Executive Secretary highlighted the importance of implementing the recommendations of the UN – SADC Joint Task Force on the strengthening of the operational capacity of the MONUSCO - SADC FIB. She also reiterated the region’s continued support to the DRC, as evidenced by SADC’s sustained political and security engagements, including through SADC follow – up Missions to the DRC, the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) to the DRC, and the continued deployment of the FIB. The SADC Executive Secretary also indicated that the region has opened the SADC Liaison Office in the DRC, aimed at coordinating the on-going political, electoral and security support initiatives. In addition, the Executive Secretary indicated that in line with SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, SADC will send an Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to observe the forth coming elections scheduled for 23 December, 2018.
Both parties agreed to continue engaging on ways that will ensure sustained support to the DRC, in order to contribute to enhanced peace and political stability.
MONUSCO’s mandate, as encapsulated in United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2409 (2018) includes, among others, support to the implementation of the “Comprehensive and Inclusive Political Agreement” signed by DRC stakeholders on 31 December 2016, the protection of civilians, which entails preventing, deterring and stopping all armed groups and local militias from inflicting violence on civilians, and the neutralization of these armed groups. Three SADC Member States have been contributing to the MONUSCO – SADC Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), operating under MONUSCO since 2013, namely, the Republics of Malawi and South Africa, as well as the United Republic of Tanzania.