n African Journal on Conflict Resolution - The role of civil society in conflict resolution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1998-2006 : an appraisal

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-6997


The second Congo war (1998-2003) was a very complex conflict that involved a vast array of actors, interests and issues. After a stalemate was reached on the battlefield with none of the warring parties able to achieve military victory, peace negotiations became the only viable option to end the war. Civil society organisations were directly involved in both the peace process and the subsequent transitional dispensation designed to resolve the conflict, providing some sort of popular legitimacy to these two processes clearly dominated by politico-military forces. The central argument of this article is that while civil society involvement in the peace and transitional processes was instrumental in resolving the conflict underpinning the second Congo war, it entrenched a legacy: the politicisation of the civil society movement as inaugurated in the early 1990s. Indeed, although ground-breaking, the direct involvement of civil society in the management of transitional institutions contributed to weakening its member organisations as many of their leaders were either directly recruited into existing political platforms or simply decided to establish their own political organisations and join active politics.

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