More than 30 people representing the civilian and judicial authorities as well as civil society met on12-13 April at the centre d’alerte pacifique of Aru territory to reflect on what mechanisms to put in place in order to restore confidence between the different local actors.
This meeting, organized at the initiative of the Civil Affairs section of MONUSCO, aimed at setting up a permanent framework for dialogue allowing all parties to meet regularly to iron out their differences to prevent violence in a territory where mob justice cases have been recorded.
In March 2015 a group of demonstrators had engaged in acts of vandalism and looting, during which public buildings were torched and in-bond vehicles damaged.
The judicial authority has since been weakened, said Moussa Ben Shabani, registrar of the peace court of Aru. He denounced the fact that “young people have been opposing a summons issued for the vandals and looters to appear in court, which has undermined the judicial authority and thus State authority.”
For his part, Héritier Ahundu, a civil society member, first welcomed MONUSCO’s initiative at bringing all parties together. He then enumerated several grievances against the local administration, which, he said, result in a crisis of confidence between the authorities and the population. He cited “the lack of dialogue between the State and the population; the absence of a consultation framework in the territory; the lack of transparency in State services; traffic of influence; the failure to act on available security information.”
As for Henri Venant Kosipalamu, Administrator of Aru territory, he stressed the need « to raise public awareness of certain laws so people can understand the offences and penalties for those offences, and put an end to this kind of behavior”
The participants finally agreed to set up a permanent dialogue framework which will be meeting every weekend for constructive discussion on the life of this territory.