Monday, 5 January 2009


Contextualizing The Question

The future for the Democratic Republic of Congo, despite recent developments in its complex crisis, is a better future more than pessimistic realism would suggests. Persisting conflict is compelling to overcome stereotypes in the situation’s analysis, a fact that is broadening slowly the number of people willing to get involved for the right reasons. There is an unprecedented inclusive participation of the International Community where there used to be only a few European diplomats and businessmen dealing directly with the highest levels of a dictatorial leadership. Since the mid 1990s, foreign analysts and policy advisors have produced all kinds of assessment over the situation. They keep announcing an imminent collapse. Envisioning a better future should start from an approach that goes beyond a recurring flawed logic applied to the DRC in two aspects: the perception of the country’s problems in their causes and the country’s leadership endemic resistance to seize the opportunities of changing times.

First, it is useful to deal with the remote cause of the crisis, which is not exclusive to the DRC. Principally it is the nature of the postcolonial State, which led to generalized failure. The biggest obstacles to peace and sustainable development (corruption at all levels of governance and armed conflicts) are both consequences of the State’s failure. External interference (colonial policy, cold war policy and shifting sands of new geopolitics after the fall of the Berlin wall, increasing role of inefficient UN resolutions), economic hopelessness and ethnic violence can be traced back to this same political origin as its different dimensions.

Secondly, it is convenient to look into the interlocking immediate causes that led to the current crisis. They can be found in the flaws of the Sun City’s agreement in 2003. This agreement is directly related to three major issues to be kept in mind while assessing DRC problems. Those three issues are, in turn, directly connected to the actual features of the Congolese dysfunctional order: a) the transitional institutions; b) the so called democratization brought about by the adoption of a new constitution in February 2006 and the presidential and parliamentary elections; and c) the armed conflict in the Eastern part of the country.

Thirdly, it is helpful to show what can be seen as flawed logic in the perception of the crisis. In the name of preserving the legitimacy of the new institutions, the complex causes of crisis have become increasingly reduced to only one factor as it appear in International NGOs reports, Foreign diplomats and UN official declarations, and those of the Congolese government. According to this flawed logic, the DRC problem is a security problem posed by a surprisingly disciplined rebellion in the East. Neighboring countries, particularly Rwanda and Uganda are usually blamed by the Kinshasa leadership and their foreign supporters, stirring up endemic hatred among the people, and poisoning regional diplomatic relations. The irresponsible sweeping characterization of Laurent Nkunda and his CNDP, for example, has gone as far as establishing a moral equivalence of the movement with the Rwandan genocidaire forces still active in the Kivus and other parts of the country. This perception contributes heavily to silencing anyone questioning Kinshasa’s lack of political will in dealing with so many, grave and dangerous other threats against security, stability, and development. Showing such misrepresentation implies also elaborating on the role of foreign political partners (UN, EU, et al.) and their impact both on the crisis and its possible solution.

Understanding these different causes is a must to understanding the problem, and hence, the way forward to sustainable peace, a sine qua non condition for sustainable development. A misconception of these same causes, even from well wishing analysts, politicians and diplomats has fueled the crisis or offered very slim margins for sustainable solutions. The way to sustainable development must first acknowledge the failure of mechanisms used in the past, even in recent past. The end, the means and also the method sought indicate the order of priorities: there cannot be economic reforms at large scale without political reforms and precise ones at every level of the society. And there cannot be entrepreneurial development if there is no peace.

Lastly, it could be interesting to elaborate on development opportunities for the DRC in the global context, as another means to sustainable peace. Indeed, effort in business development and opportunities must be one of the most effective incentives to promote peace. I would suggest that there is an urgent need for bold policy and programmes specifically in the fields of the political form of governance, education, infrastructure and industrialization. Development will be achieved by creating an environment for private enterprise, which requires positive political will capable of generating, for business people and foreign investors, trust. Areas of possible development of private enterprise are suggested taking into account: a) the context of a country that has never been well administered territorially; b) the lack of training due to a long term dysfonctionning educational system; c) the enormous potential of the country, at small scale and large scale, including relations with economic powers and multinationals.


Anonymous said...

Why not first questioning the context?
Anyway, the analysis is very good though the last point is rather a simple optimistic view.

There is such huge mountain of prerequisites before thinking any overhaul and any economical and social development in DRC.

The ghost of Leopold II is still haunting the country. The fall of the Berlin walls didn't remove its well known Conference on Africa with other unknown agendas from their members.

The flaws of Sun city agreement and its three major issues are hiding one basic fact: the lack of leadership among the country representatives for a locked if not vanished national Independence.

Who is deciding what to discuss or to do for DRC national matters? No Congolese but those international representatives or Community! They are writing the scenario to be played by Congolese. It's pure masquerade.
This is what is happening even in Nairobi with Obasanjo's scripts?

Those Malu Malu, Kengo and other Kamerhe or Kabila are simple servants of Foreigners and are not acting for their country.
The country isn't belonging to the inhabitants that are renting it!!

As long as there is no true national and African concern from those so said leaders, there will be no positive results at all. You can't build anything on third party base but just dreaming for heaven salvation!!!


Antoinette said...


The lack of leadership will be shown when dealing with the failure of the State (which by the way is also linked to the absence of the concept of NATION, together with the reason why it always "some other" deciding...

The last point is deliberately optimistic, in case the problem of leadership is solved, those are the "atouts" that can be counted upon to build up something, hahaha... It's the whole mentality that need to be overhauled... Thanks for reading the analysis!

Anonymous said...

Americas (North, South) got their liberators (freedom fighters)like Washington, Bolivar and some others with unfortunately very different outcomes for religious issues. Protestant in the North and Catholic in the South, this is a true undisputed correlation seen all over the world!

Alike, Asia managed to get rid of colonialism thanks to its big demographic factor and weight but at the highest toll in China with Mao Ze Dong, India with Gandhi, Viet-Nam with Uncle Ho Chi Min, etc.

As for Africa, the demographic hemorrhage begun earlier and became a habit with slave trading from both East and West mostly so that its loss can't be assessed.
Now, from slavery toward colonialism and post colonialism eras, the slave mechanism didn't change so much but its application.

Before, slavery was between individuals and companies. Now, it's between nations and communities (EU, UN, International Community, etc).
In that order, Mobutu, Habyarimana, Hufwet-Bwanyi, Bongo, Kamerhe, Malu-Malu, Kengo or Kabila replaced Tipo Tipo, Rumaliza and many other ugly slaves traders.
Africa remains still enslaved on its large extend but on site as raw materials supplier. See Coltan and other minerals that are turning people mad in Africa but mostly in Europe and elsewhere!!!

The event of the liberation of African countries began a little in the sixties in North Africa (mostly Algeria). Then Uganda and Rwanda unexpectedly did it with the tandem of Fred Rwigema Museveni and Kagame, followed by RSA with Nelson Mandela.
Shall we see DRC joining the winning team soon in the domino process?


Anonymous said...

Ce comment sans rapport avec l'article ne vise qu'à m'assurer si vous avez eu accès à ce démenti scientifique à ce que certains congolais, qualifient de "génocide" par ignorance, négationisme ou inconscience?

Antoinette said...

J'en suis au courant, merci, mais je ne l'ai pas vraiment lu. Cependant je le ferai puisque quand il est apparu je l'ai gardé avec d'autres dossiers qui traite du le négationnisme. Il y a en plus des assertions dont je ne sais vérifier la ou les sources... J'oublie souvent de consulter l'obsac à cause de son rythme sporadique, mais je le fais des fois. Merci.