Weekly meeting of IDPs from Ituri living around Goma DRC
Weekly meeting of IDPs from Ituri living around Goma North Kivu, DRC
As usual on Friday November 3rd 2023 IDPs from Ituri living around Goma came for their weekly meeting which is held at our offices, this time were in big numbers.
Among issues discussed were: The leadership, the vulnerability they are facing, and the general elections in DRC.
The prayer was done by a volunteer and after that the participants introduced themselves. After introduction it was observed that the majority are from IDP Camps that are near our offices mainly Bulengo, and Rusayu and those living in host communities. It was also observed that others are living in camps that a somehow far and may need transport in order to come for meeting. Options will be considered how to get them and ensure they are involved including the field visits.
The situation of IDPs from Ituri living in host communities, they narrates various problems they are facing including the lack of food, lack on medicine, lack of school fees for their children, and the lack of documents in order to move freely. The meeting observed that it is urgent to develop an advocacy strategy for them at all levels in order to ensure they are not excluded from the available relief aid. Our team on ground will understand better this situation through interactions with local authorities, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Programme and the International Organization for Immigration.
On the issue of what happened to the previous leadership, the participants observed that the leaders they have in place are highly political and in some places they have told people not to come for meetings at our offices. One among the issues raised is that according to leaders all those who came from Ituri should be registered as originated from Ituri and that is highly political, yet we told them that much as they lived in Ituri they should have come from somewhere, many in actual sense came from North Kivu and South Kivu and some actually are refugees from Rwanda who came since 1994.
Among the problems we are also working to solve conflicts in eastern DRC is the question of identity and stereotypes connected to one’s identity. The most hated identity is to be called “Munyarwanda, or being perceived as associated to Rwanda”
At least with these ones we are with, we do encourage them to be proud of their identity and help others to know who they are, but also make a different between the crime and the identity of the person. This is working very with Rwandan refugees in Goma who feel happy to be identified as Rwandan refugees, and now we are working with these from Ituri.
The vulnerability of those from Ituri was highly discussed and they agreed to make a strong leadership that can address their challenges which are unique to them.
They were briefed about the current elections and how they should conduct themselves to avoid conflict. Many did not have clear information about these elections, about the candidates and how to vote. Those who attended our meeting had have heard about the current President Felix Tshisekedi but did not know anything about others who are candidates, we spent a lot time to explain them the 26 presidential candidates, those who want to be Members of the Parliament and the necessity to vole for good people who will represent their interests. We advised them not to vote someone because of the money and other materials.
There was a lot debate on this issue, the meeting agreed to put it on the agenda of the next meeting so that people are fully informed how to vote.
Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos