United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - Report of the Secretary-General (S/2019/776)
- The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 46 of Security Council resolution 2463 (2019) and covers major developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 29 June to 25 September 2019. The report describes progress in the implementation of the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) since my report of 17 July 2019 (S/2019/575); provides an overview of political developments; outlines progress in adjustments to the Mission’s priorities, posture and presence, as well as the pursuit of its comprehensive approach to the protection of civilians; and provides information on the performance of MONUSCO uniformed personnel.
II. Political developments
The political situation during the reporting period was dominated by the inauguration of a coalition government under the Prime Minister, Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, in September. The President, Félix Tshisekedi, also continued to play an active role in regional initiatives to strengthen bilateral relations and increase cooperation on security and economic issues.
On 26 August, Prime Minister Ilunga announced the composition of his government, following the endorsement by President Tshisekedi. It comprises 67 members, including the Prime Minister, 5 vice-prime ministers, 10 State ministers, 31 ministers, 3 ministres délégués and 17 vice-ministers. Three out of four of the ministers have never served in a government. The representation of women increased from 10 per cent to 17 per cent. The distribution of ministries between the two platforms of the coalition is broadly in line with a prior agreement, reached on 29 July, which provided that 42 portfolios would go to the Front commun pour le Congo and 23 to the Cap pour le changement. The same agreement also contained a commitment by the two platforms to implement a common programme through a coalition government.
An extraordinary session of the National Assembly was convened between 19 August and 7 September to debate and approve the programme of the new Government and inaugurate its members. On 3 September, Prime Minister Ilunga presented the programme, which focuses on the political, defence and security, economic and finance, reconstruction and social and cultural sectors. The document, which was presented without detailed budgetary commitments, aligns with the priorities of President Tshisekedi and reflects the positions for which Cap pour le changement and the Front commun pour le Congo campaigned during the 2018 election. On 6 September, following a process of parliamentary debate and scrutiny, the National Assembly approved the government programme and proceeded to the inauguration of the new ministers. The Lamuka coalition boycotted the inauguration in protest at allegedly deliberate violations of parliamentary rules, which in their view disadvantaged the opposition. Several influential civil society organiz ations also expressed their concern over the size of the new Government and its cost implications.
The installation of the legislative institutions continued to generate political contestation. Internal disputes surfaced visibly during the election of the Senate Bureau on 27 July, following the endorsement by the Front commun pour le Congo of Alexis Thambwe Mwamba as its sole candidate for the Senate presidency. This led to disagreements with the second largest political grouping of the platform, the Alliance des forces démocratiques du Congo et alliés, whose leader, Modeste Bahati Lukwebo, also expressed interest in the position and maintained his candidacy even after being confronted with exclusion from the Front commun pour le Congo. In a secret ballot, Alexis Thambwe Mwamba was eventually confirmed as President of the Senate with 65 votes against 43 for Modeste Bahati, indicating that the Front commun pour le Congo could not leverage its full numerical strength despite its majority. The Cap pour le changement-aligned former Prime Minister Samy Badibanga was elected First Vice-President of the Senate against the candidacy of a prominent member of Front commun pour le Congo, Évariste Boshab.
Following his relatively strong showing in the Senate, Modeste Bahati announced that the Alliance des forces démocratiques du Congo et alliés would henceforth act as a third member of the government majority, separate from the Front commun pour le Congo. However, the actual loyalties of individual members of the grouping remained contested. On 2 September, the faction led by Modeste Bahati eventually expelled a number of senior officials and five constituent parties from the Alliance des forces démocratiques du Congo et alliés, citing their continued allegiance to the Front commun pour le Congo.
The last two remaining gubernatorial elections took place in June and July. The vote was conducted in Sud-Ubangi on 10 July and won by a Front commun pour le Congo affiliate. The Sankuru election, initially postponed due to logistical and security constraints, took place on 20 July. Despite the fact that the Front commun pour le Congo held a majority in the provincial assembly, an independent candidate, who later announced his loyalty to President Tshisekedi, was elected against former Government Spokesperson Lambert Mende.
The composition of the National Assembly was subject to legal processes until a revised ruling of the Constitutional Court on 3 and 4 July reinstated some of the previously disqualified members of the Assembly, but also confirmed the invalidation of 31 initially elected National Assembly members, many of them from the opposition. According to the final list of elected officials published by the Court, the Front commun pour le Congo has over 300 seats, Cap pour le changement has 48 seats, and the opposition Lamuka platform holds 99 seats. The remaining seats are held by members of the Alliance des forces démocratiques du Congo et alliés. In a letter dated 29 July, the Comité laïc de coordination called on all judges of the Constitutional Court to resign, given what they viewed as a violation of the Constitution in the handling of electoral disputes. The 31 invalidated parliamentarians also continued to protest against their exclusion from the National Assembly and formed an alliance for that purpose. In the Senate, the Front commun pour le Congo and aligned independent senators hold 79 seats, Alliance des forces démocratiques du Congo et alliés hold 12, Lamuka 11, and Cap pour le changement hold 4, with t he remaining positions held by independents without declared affiliations.
The opposition Lamuka coalition continued its activities, including by holding rallies throughout the country and calling for peaceful marches to denounce the rulings of the Constitutional Court that had invalidated the election of some of its National Assembly members. The leadership of Lamuka met on 30 July and reaffirmed its commitment to work for the reform of national institutions, including the Commission électorale nationale indépendante. The meeting also designated JeanPierre Bemba as the rotating coordinator of Lamuka for the next three months, taking over from Moïse Katumbi. Other initiatives by Lamuka leaders included rallies held by Moïse Katumbi with supporters in all four provinces of the Grand Katanga area in July and August and a rally held by Martin Fayulu in Kinshasa on 4 August. On 10 July, a leader of Lamuka, Freddy Matungulu, announced that he would cease his activities in the coalition, following his appointment at the African Development Bank upon the recommendation of President Tshisekedi.
Civil society and faith-based organizations continued to be actively engaged in political matters. The Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Église du Christ au Congo continued to call for local elections to be held before the end of the year, and on 9 August submitted a petition with 1.5 million signatures to that effect. Other organizations, including the National Council for Monitoring the Agreement and the Electoral Process also called for the local elections to be organized. The Council continued its mediation role between political formations, including calming tensions between supporters of Cap pour le changement and Front commun pour le Congo over the composition of the new government, and dispatched a good offices delegation to Sankuru Province to prevent potential violence surrounding the gubernatorial elections.
Pursuing his anti-corruption agenda, President Tshisekedi, on 8 August, established an office for behavioural change, the Coordination pour le changement de mentalité. Further, during a speech on 11 July marking the first African Anti-corruption Day, he reiterated his determination to reform the justice system and called for the ratification of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. He also advocated a greater role for women in politics and spoke in favour of a 30 per cent female representation rate in the coalition government, and for Parliament to adopt a quota system in elective assemblies and public administration.
President Tshisekedi also continued to pursue an active regional diplomatic agenda. Notably, on 12 July, he met with the President of Angola, João Lourenço in Luanda as part of a quadripartite meeting with the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni. In the joint communiqué of the meeting, they called for cooperation on peace and security, with a focus on armed groups in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as regional economic integration. The summit also supported dialogue between Rwanda and Uganda to resolve their existing differences, which the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola were asked to facilitate. In a follow-up quadripartite summit, on 21 August, in Luanda, Rwanda and Uganda signed a memorandum of understanding to improve political and economic relations.
From 4 to 8 July, President Tshisekedi participated in the twelfth extraordinar y summit of the African Union in Niamey, on the margins of which he met with the Chair of the African Union, the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, to discuss bilateral cooperation and regional issues.