Name? Ronsard Malonda
Westphalian identity? Democratic Republic Congo
Why is he in the news? Malonda has been nominated as President of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Yet, Malonda is accused by democracy-seeking protestors and President Tshisekedi for being one of former President Kabila’s many puppets, Tshisekedi’s opponent in politics and life.
Why do we care? Because the DRC’s internal political struggles under the guise of the pandemic are increasing instability in a corrupt government. As the DRC is strategically key in keeping health-related outbreaks at bay; including yellow fever, cholera, and Ebola, further political instability in the region hinders the ability to handle such matters effectively.
Why should you care? The DRC significantly acts as a regional stabilizer, however unstable it might find itself. With around 200,000 Rwandan refugees and another 100,000 refugees from the Central African Republic, the DRC’s government is key in preventing a regional problem from spilling over into other countries.
Who else cares? President Tshisekedi for one. If he signs off on Malonda’s INEC presidency, then Tshisekedi will risk his reelection as Malonda is regarded as a supporter of the former president. Opposingly, if Tshisekedi decided to block Malonda’s nomination, the president will find himself facing significant backlash from the other side of the political spectrum; again risking his long-term success in reelection.
Any further comments? Meanwhile, efforts of keeping COVID-19 in check in the DRC are complicating the efforts of MONUSCO – the UN stabilization mission in the DRC – to build political stability and legitimacy in the government. The WHO is struggling to minimize the health crisis that the DRC has the potential to unleash while MONUSCO struggles to achieve its own goals such as limiting terrorism. With instability comes less oversight into security, and thus, greater opportunity for rebel groups to increase their scope of influence. One such example is seen in the Allied Democratic Forces which just caused 200000 IDPs in the last two months.