DRC: Interview with Jacqueline Chenard, spokeswoman for MONUC in Kivu North
Jacqueline Chenard, MONUC spokeswoman in Goma, capital of North Kivu Province, eastern DRC.
Goma, 30 July 2006 (IRIN) - Voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo took part in multiparty general elections on Sunday, the first since 1960. These polls are being supported by the United Nations mission in the country, known as MONUC. The mission's spokeswoman in North Kivu Province, Jacqueline Chenard, told IRIN on Thursday in Goma, the provincial capital, that about 3,000 UN troops would secure the elections in Kivu North. The following are excerpts from that interview. QUESTION:
Does MONUC in North Kivu have another mission, given that the region is characterised by instability?ANSWER:
MONUC's election section has already provided technical aid and logistical help to the Independent Electoral Commission to support these elections. MONUC delivered [electoral] equipment to all the localities. MONUC trained the Congolese policemen for the elections. MONUC's Indian brigade in North Kivu will contribute to the security of the polls. Q:
How many men of this brigade are being used to safeguard the province? A:
Approximately 3,000 men for the entire province. Airmen will also be deployed. For the security of the electoral process, there is a multitude of air and ground patrols conducted by our Indian colleagues. There are also fixed and mobile bases to monitor the situation and ensure that voting takes place.Q:
Is it safe for every voter to cast their ballot in North Kivu? Can you say the population does not have to worry even after the release of the results? A:
MONUC cannot answer this question with 100 percent certainty. There are not enough MONUC soldiers to be everywhere. ... There could be incidents here and there, that happens all over the world. One cannot really guarantee that nothing will happen. What is true is that the situation, as a whole, is favourable for a safe poll. Q:
To what degree does the renegade general, Laurent Nkunda, present a threat to the elections? A:
Two or three days ago he said he would not destabilise the elections. ... After the elections, there could be factors that could lead to a temporary destabilisation. Apart from Laurent Nkunda, there is the Interahamwe, all of whose members have not returned to Rwanda; they remain in parts of Congo.
I think it is up to the Congolese government and election officials to solve any potential security problems. The international community alone should not be held responsible. Q:
Do you think that the elections are the surest way to solve insecurity in the Congo, in particular this area? A:
The officials who will emerge from this poll will have to assume their responsibilities. It will be up to them and all the Congolese to make sure that the laws they voted for are applied and respected; that the country is made safe; that development is established and takes root, not only in Kivu North, but nationwide.
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