n African Journal on Conflict Resolution - Can a fledgling democracy take flight in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?

Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-6997


This article offers a brief review of repression and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over the last century, before analysing the transition process and the country's prospects for consolidating a democracy in the future. The DRC peacekeeping process has been the United Nation's most expensive project to date with an annual budget of over USD 1 billion per annum. The July elections were largely peacefully conducted and reflected a high level of participation. Building a stable sustainable democracy, however, will be difficult. The DRC must survive its poverty, lack of structure, debt, low levels of investment, internal fragmentation, and a history of violence and predatory neighbours. It must rapidly develop a strong, just state able to effectively broadcast power; resolve boundary issues in the face of potential internal and external threats; develop a common sense of nationhood and identity amongst its citizens along with a culture of constitutionalism (rule of law); acquire and effectively use aid from the international community; deal with potentially predatory neighbours; achieve rapid economic development and install effective dispute resolution mechanisms across a broad front to minimise a drift back to violence. It's a daunting agenda with limited resources.

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