Corporative Governance: United Nations Peace Mission for Congo (MONUC) and the Forces Armée de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC)
Author: Bulelwa Mukenge
Originally Published at Peace and Conflict Monitor on: 05/10/2011
The form of governance that political leaders in a country practice determines the future of the country. Conflict in the DRC has been a result of bad management of the country’s political institutions. Corporate governance has been identified as one of the ingredients imperative to conflict resolution, as each party is given the opportunity to partake in the decision-making processes. In civil conflict, all warring factions should be allowed the chance to help in finding a lasting solution to the issues at stake. In the Great Lakes Region, the United Nations has exerted pressure on the various players and stakeholders in the decades-long conflict to come to the negotiating table to resolve their differences and make peace. The purpose of this paper is to analyze corporative governance of the joint military commission between MONUC as UN forces and the FARDC as DRC’s national army during the transitional period. Lessons of experience learnt from this joint military mission are evaluated in order to identify the causes of its successes and failures, and suggest recommendations that may help to strengthen corporative governance between UN peacekeeping forces and national forces elsewhere.
After five years of the war launched by Ugandan forces under the umbrella of the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC), mainly supported by former Mubutu cronies led by Jean Pierre Mbemba, and Rwandese forces (RPF) under the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RDC), a ceasefire was put into place. However, the aforementioned cease fire did not succeed as expected. This was followed by the dialogue between belligerents, which took place at Sun City in Pretoria and led to the Global Accord and Inclusive. Due to the presence of several armed groups, particularly from the eastern party of the country, the UN Security Council decided to send troops into the DRC, for the DRC did not have well-organized and equipped forces to face the aggressors and different local combatants groups. Therefore, the UN forces and the FARDC were assigned the same mandate; however, even if these armies had common objectives, they also had different responsibilities during their operations. The UN forces are under the command of a Special Representative of the UN General Secretary, while the National Forces are under the command of the Deputy President in charge of security affairs.
According to the World Bank (United Nations Development Programme, 1977), governance is the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social development. The manner in which political (States) leaders manage, use or misuse power to promote social and economic development or to pursue agendas that undermine such goals, good governance is conceived from the process perspective with emphasis on rule of law, accountability, participation, transparency, and human rights.
Corporative governance may be considered an inter-organisational watch dog for effectiveness and efficiency. The fundamental principles that drive corporative governance involve openness and disclosure of information; these principles help organizations identify problems, analyse them and implement strategies in order to improve management and address the problems. Therefore, organizations involved in corporative governance are supposed to complement each other, as each of them has its own specific expertise. Moreover, the success or failure of an organization depends mainly on how individuals are held accountable for their actions; this would motivate individuals to avoid the misuse of resources or breaking the rules.
This paper aims to discuss the corporate governance relationship between the two armies involved in stabilizing the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the transition until the proclamation of the results of the first presidential and parliamentary election. The armies in reference are, on one hand, the Force Armée de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC), and on the other hand, the United Nations’ Peace Keeping Forces in the DRC (MONUC). The resolution of the ceasefire signed in Lusaka/Zambia under the UN mediation on 10 October 1999 provided that a neutral force be deployed in the DRC to monitor the peace process and to protect civilians against all kinds of violence.
Theoretical Framework-Governance and Good Governance
This section brings to the fore the various debates and discussions around the governance discourse. Governance is the set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that guide, direct, and control how an organization’s business divisions and IT teams cooperate to achieve business goals. A comprehensive governance plan can help reduce or avoid disagreements or help in the resolution of conflicts. Recently, the terms “governance” and “good governance” are being increasingly used in development literature. Bad governance is being increasingly regarded as one of the root causes of all evil within our societies. Major donors and international financial institutions are increasingly basing their aid and loans on the condition that reforms that ensure “good governance” are undertaken. The concept of “governance” is not new. It is as old as human civilization. Simply put, “governance” means: the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented). Governance can be used in several contexts, such as corporate governance, international governance, national governance and local governance.
Since governance is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented, an analysis of governance focuses on the formal and informal actors involved in decision-making and implementing the decisions made, and the formal and informal structures that have been set in place to arrive at and implement the decisions. Government is one of the actors in governance. Other actors involved in governance vary depending on the level of government under discussion. In rural areas, for example, other actors may include influential land lords, associations of peasant farmers, cooperatives, NGOs, research institutes, religious leaders, finance institutions, political parties, the military, etc. The situation in urban areas is much more complex. Figure 1 provides the interconnections between actors involved in urban governance. At the national level, in addition to the above actors, media, lobbyists, international donors, and multi-national corporations may play a role in decision-making or in influencing the decision-making process.
All actors other than government and the military are grouped together as part of “civil society.” In some countries, in addition to civil society, organized crime syndicates also influence decision-making, particularly in urban areas and at the national level. This brings to the fore the concept of corporate governance, where all stakeholders and civil society are called upon to participate in finding a lasting solution in a crisis area; in the case of the DRC, where a war has ravaged the political, economic and social life of its citizens.
Corporative governance refers to the set of processes, customs, policies, laws, and institutions affecting the way a corporation (or company) is directed, administered or controlled. Corporate governance also includes the relationships among the many stakeholders involved and the goals for which the corporation is governed. The principal stakeholders are the shareholders and the community at large. Corporate governance is a multi-faceted subject. An important theme of corporate governance is to ensure the accountability of certain individuals in an organization through mechanisms that try to reduce or eliminate the principal-agent problem. A related but separate thread of discussions focuses on the impact of a corporate governance system in economic efficiency, with a strong emphasis on shareholders’ welfare. There are still other aspects within the corporate governance subject, such as the stakeholder view and the corporate governance models around the world.
In this paper, the author expresses the notion that it is only through the involvement of all the people of the DRC and the international community that a lasting solution to the country’s crisis could be reached. Institutions such as the UN have tried their best, but without the involvement of principal stakeholders and the people of the DRC, the peace-keeping processes could yield nothing.
UN Peacekeeping Forces Structure
UN Security Council Resolution 1291 of 24 February 2000 determines the responsibilities according to its structure: the Special Representative of the Secretary General, General William Lacy Swing from the United States; the Deputy Special Representatives of the Secretary General, Ross Mountain from New-Zealand and Haili Menkerios from Eritrea; the Force Commander, Lieutenant General Babacar Baye from Senegal; and the Police Commissioner, Daniel Cure from France. These UN peacekeeping forces were dispatched into twenty field offices with one Divisional Command. In addition to these forces, there are also civil personnel.
Moreover, there is also a political team known in French as la Commission Internationale d’Appui à la Transition (The International Commission to Support the Transition), made up of representatives from countries members of the Permanent Security Council led by the French.
UN Forces Mandate
Since the creation of these peacekeeping forces in the DRC during and after the transition, their mandates had always changed according to circumstances on the ground or to the agendas of those who manipulate theme. Consequently, many resolutions have been made, but the situation on the ground did not improve as expected. The first main tasks of these forces were to monitor the ceasefire, to supervise and verify the disengagement and the redeployment of different forces, and to seize or collect arms and any related material whose presence in the territory of the DRC violates the measures imposed by Paragraph 20 of Resolution 1291 of 24 February 2000; Resolution 1445 of December 2002; Resolution 1493 of 28 July 2003; and Resolution 1565 of 1 October 2004. The mandate also stipulates that UN forces should provide support to the FARDC to disarm foreign combatants who were supporting the FARDC, to participate in and monitor the process of the programme of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) of Congolese combatants, including their dependents, as well as to provide appropriate security in some sensitive locations.
National Army FARDC Mandate
Generally, the National Army has the duty to protect the boundaries and the integrity of the territory, its habitants and their goods. However, the agreement from the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, known as the Global Accord and Inclusive, conferred the post of Deputy President in charge of the National Army to Azarias Ruberwa, then President of the Congolese Rally for Democracy, the rebellion group that serves as an umbrella to Rwandese Forces (RPF). Despite being the national army of the country, the FARDC is supposed to cooperate with the UN peacekeeping forces in implementing its mandate as outlined by different resolutions of the Security Council.
Corporative Governance between MONUC and FARDC
As mentioned earlier, the objectives of the UN peacekeeping forces in the DRC are to monitor and secure transitional institutions, to disarm and repatriate foreign troops involved in conflict, and to facilitate the integration and reinsertion of Congolese former combatants into the national army, as well as to protect civilians including the protection of the UN’s installation.
Therefore, taking into account the outcomes of this corporative governance with regard to its goals set up by the UN Security Council through its different resolutions, one may say that the corporative governance between the two forces has been marked with success and failure. Any given organization should evaluate its activities according to goals, time and resources spent in order to identify its weaknesses and strengths.
Some Cases of Success
Among the major realizations of the corporative governance of the two forces are:
o Through the corporative governance between the FARDC and the UN peacekeeping forces, the National Programme for Disarmament, Deployment and Reinsertion was launched and 25 orientation centers were opened in February 2004;
o Creation of integration teams that monitor, coordinate and control the destruction of arms under the supervision of the MONUC; and the creation of the Military Integration and Structure (SMI) and CONADER;
o To date, six brigades were integrated and trained, with 24,000 men, while another six brigades were suppose to complete their training by the end of the same year. It was expected that the FARDC would have 18 integrated brigades before the launch of the election scheduled in 2006;
o The joint military operations between the two armies had succeeded to some extent in Ituri, North-Kivu Province, as well as in South Kivu Province to reduce the capacity of foreign troops and to motivate Congolese militia to disarm and be integrated into the national army, or to be reinserted into civil society, especially the younger members.
o The corporate governance of forces had succeeded in maintaining peace during the parliamentary and presidential elections despite the battle that occurred in Kinshasa between troops royal to Kabila and Mbemba.
Corporative Governance’s Failures
However, despite its minor aforementioned successes, the failure of corporative governance has been huge, in such a way that the success realized cannot be considered success. Therefore, due to the fragility of transitional institutions, the corporative governance forces, particularly MONUC did not fulfill their mandate. Since its implementation until today, MONUC and the FARDC failed to stabilize the eastern part of the country despite the number of troops, resources and military equipment.
For example, on 4 June 2004, General Mutebusi and Laurent Nkundabatware seized the town of Bukavu, and many women were raped and other human rights violations were committed by them and the troops under their control. To date, none of them have been brought to the International Criminal Court. On top of this, after the election in 2006 that led to the end of the transition, Nkundabatware and 5,000 men, with the support of the Rwandese government and troops, occupied the Territory of Rutshuru in North-Kivu Province for years, and MONUC and FARDC could not defeat them with all of their ammunition and troops. Consequently, thousands of Congolese are living in internally displaced persons camps, thousands have been killed, and women are raped on a daily basis, all while MONUC and the FARDC are present in the area.
In addition, MONUC has been accused of looting the mineral resources in the same way as all the multinationals corporations that are plundering the country; even soldiers are raping kids.
After this outline of some of the cases of success and failure of the corporative governance relationship between MONUC and the FARDC, the following section will analyse how different activities were implemented with regards to corporative governance principles: operations direction, operations control, regulation, accountability, completeness and hierarchy.
According to the Cadbury Report (1992: 15) corporative governance is designed as a system by which organizations are directed and controlled. Thus, corporative governance’s role is to give overall direction to organizations and to oversee and control the executive actions of management so that it may satisfy the legitimate expectations for accountability and regulation of interests beyond the corporate boundaries.
The FARDC consists of troops from different former belligerent groups; therefore, it is impossible to expect a positive performance by such an army given the fact that there is no respect for the chain of command and different troops still have allegiance to their former leaders (rebels). Also, the FARDC did not have the military capacity necessary to lead operations. Contrastingly, the UN peacekeeping forces are well equipped and organized to undertake operations effectively; however, they acted like neutral forces on the ground.
Due to these facts, the military operations under corporate governance were weak for two reasons. First, the FARDC is supposed to direct and decide on the operation to be taken; however, the fact that the FARDC forces lack military capacity and is characterized by the weakness of the chain of command meant that it could not impose its programme on a well-organized army. Secondly, the UN peacekeeping forces considered themselves superior because they are well-equipped and trained forces. As a result, there is confusion on the ground and some cases of betrayal between both forces during operations.
Control of Operations
During the transition, the DRC government was monitored by the Security Council through the CIAT. The role of this committee was to monitor political and military activities in order to reach the objectives assigned to the transition government. To this end, the two forces involved in corporate governance were reporting to different bodies; the UN Forces had to report to CIAT, while the FARDC reported to the DRC government. This disparity created much confusion during the operations and impeded the success of this joint venture. At the same time, however, the CIAT played a key role in solving problems that occurred.
These military organizations had the mandate to pacify the war-torn country and monitor the peace process until the organization of the elections in 2006. Both MONUC as well as FARDC are bound by agreements that define clearly the roles and limits of each of them. Resolution 1291 of 24 February 2000 and the Resolution 1565 of 1 October 2004 determine the mandate of the UN peacekeeping forces, while the FARDC, as national forces, should play its role as stipulated by the Constitution.
Accountability in corporate governance
According to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountancy (CIPFA) (1994:6), “Corporative Governance recommends openness or disclosure of information; integrity or straightforward dealing and completeness; and accountability or holding individuals responsible for their actions by a clear allocation of responsibility and defined roles”. With regard to this definition of accountability, and considering the human rights violations committed by either the members of the UN peacekeeping forces or FARDC, offenders were not held accountable in the same manner, and most of the crimes they committed, especially rape, were not disclosed. Moreover, many complaints against these forces were not registered, or were simply neglected. Furthermore, the UN forces had more influence than the FARDC; such influence played a key role in undermining the initiatives taken by the UN commander from the FARDC. On several occasions, UN Forces Commanders influenced changes within the FARDC command ranks by deciding who to send where, according to MONUC’s will. For instance, Amisi Kasikila, then commander of the FARDC battalion from Goma, was sent to Kasai for opposing the collaboration between UN peacekeeping forces with the CNDP pro-Rwandese dissident group led by Nkundabatware, who occupied Masisi Territory. This collaboration undermined the DRC government’s actions, and in supplying ammunition to the CNDP, violated the embargo imposed by the Security Council.
Moreover, some UN Forces officials were or still are involved in the looting of minerals from the areas where they were deployed, and no judicial action has been taken to prosecute them. In addition, since MONUC was implemented in the DRC, members of UN peacekeeping forces who are alleged perpetrators of the crime of rape have not been prosecuted; instead, they were sent back to their respective countries, and victims never heard about the outcomes of the trials.
Corporative Governance and Completeness of Organisations (Forces)
Corporative governance is based on the principle that several organizations form a joint venture to manage a given programme; however, each of them has its particular expertise to complement the other for the success of the programme. However, the joint venture between the UN Forces and the FARDC didn’t appear to complement one another, but rather they had different agendas, which undermined the complementary nature that is supposed to characterize their activities on the ground. Several cases prove the lack of completeness between the two forces. For example, on 2 June 2004, Mutebusi and Nkundabatware seized Bukavu and many crimes were committed by their troops, but the UN Forces did not support the FARDC to stop the tragedy. Moreover, in 2002 in Kisangani, in the presence of the Rwandese and Ugandans, armies fought for control of the minerals, and many civilians were killed and others injured. Meanwhile, the UN Forces did not play their role according to their mandate. In these two sad events, if MONUC had interfered according to its mandate as stipulated by Resolution 1291 of February 2000, many people would not have been killed.
Hierarchy in Corporative Governance
The responsibilities of both armed forces are determined by their respective mandates, but their objectives are mainly to monitor and participate in the implementation of the peace process during the transition. The UN peacekeeping forces have to report to the UN General Secretary while the FARDC has to report the Transitional Government.
Weakness of Corporate Governance of Joint Military Ventures
The analysis of the joint venture shows that the causes of the weaknesses of corporate governance between the UN Peace Keeping Forces and the FARDC to fulfill their mandates are not the lack of military capacities or the lack of materials, but the lack of political will and complicity of the international community. Several cases prove how the international community promotes insecurity through its peace keeping efforts, for its troops cooperate with the rebels group that they are supposed to fight when they should be assisting the FARDC in establishing the state’s authority over the territory. Contrary to its mandate, the UN peace keeping forces are doing the opposite of what they are supposed to do on the ground. For example, when civilians are killed and women raped by rebels, UN troops, instead of protecting them, only counts the number of dead or raped women.
Moreover, collaboration between the Indian Colonel in North-Kivu and Laurent Nkunda, chief rebel of CNDP proves how much the mission is biased. According to J.R.T in Congolese newspaper Le Phare of 11 July 2008, “the meeting between Nkundabatware and UN colonel Chand Saroha from India in Kiwandja, 70 km from Goma, the latter said: Nkunda, you are my brother, and you fight for a noble cause”, and at the end of the ceremony, the Colonel Saroba decorated Nkunda with a medal of honor”.
Moreover, several manifestations against the presence of UN forces were organized in different places in the North-Kivu Province due to collaboration between UN troops based in that part of the country and the CNDP then rebel troops led by Nkundabatware. According to Diana (25/06/2008) from the newspaper L’Avenir, “on Tuesday 24 June two to three thousands people in Kiwandja and Mitabo manifested against the presence of MONUC, for it always covers the rebel troops.
Recently, according to Marie-France of the Belgian newspaper La Libre de Belgique (8/10/2010), UN troops collaborated with Bosco Ntaganda, who is number 2 in the ranks of the DRC’s troops in Kivu, while the International Criminal Court needs to arrest him. Bosco Ntaganda had played a key role in recruiting children to fight for Thomas Lubanga, who is currently at the ICC. This confirms the May 2009 report of UN experts, which indicated that Bosco Ntagamda was appointed as number 2 Commanding Officer for the military operation known as Kimia II launched in Kivu to deter the Hutu rebels of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
Taking into consideration Security Council Resolution 1906 of 23 December 2009, which stipulated that “the UN peace keeping troops should not collaborate with FARDC Unities that are allegedly accused of grave human rights violation”; curiously, UN troops collaborated with a man wanted by the ICC.
Therefore, the experience of UN peacekeeping in DRC proves the biases inherent in the UN peace mission; for instead of protecting the victims of aggression, its troops are collaborating with the perpetrators who have killed and wounded millions in DRC. There is a contrast between UN Security Council resolutions and the implementation of these resolutions. Ten years later, despite the presence of UN peacekeeping intervention in DRC, the conflict has not ended; it seems that the UN prefers to maintain the situation as it is so that it can justify the need for its troops on the ground.
United Nations Peace Keeping Forces Moving Forward
The lessons of experience learned from the Joint Military Mission between the UN Peace Keeping Forces and the FARDC in the DRC, according to corporative governance principles, show that:
Corporative Governance might produce good results if all organizations involved to accomplish such a mandate are fully committed;
The efficiency, as well as the effectiveness of corporative governance, depends mainly on the ways in which the organizations involved share information and how they assist each other during difference operations.
The UN Peace Keeping Forces should act according to their prescribed mandate wherever they are deployed. Moreover, in the case of aggression such as in the DRC, the UN Peace Keeping Forces should take into account the interests of the country victims of such crimes during their operations, by using all means to impose an end to aggression instead of collaborating with the aggressors. In collaborating with aggressor forces and countries, they tarnish the UN’s image.
Bio: Bulelwa Mukenge: Masters Student in Public Administration at the University of the Western Cape, with a Bachelors degree in Conflict Management, Diploma in Transitional Justice, Certificate in Conflict Management, and Certificate in Project Management. He is also the Executive Director of the Congolese Organization for Peace and Reconciliation.