Why is the peace process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) faltering? Why have the demobilisation programmes been unsuccessful? This paper, from the School of Oriental and African Studies, analyses these problems against the background of the DRC’s culture of violence, its informal politics and economy and the crises faced by ordinary people. Demobilisation programmes do not address fighters’ motivations and the peace process has led to immediate gains by some parties while institutionalising destructive systems and long-term losses for the population.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has experienced a series of violent conflicts in the last ten years. During the early 1990s, neglected elements of the army and population systematically pillaged the major towns in DRC. Soldiers are not paid and therefore can be recruited to rebel armies for a few dollars. However, demobilisation programmes, which bring promises of reintegration grants, have not enticed people to disarm.
The 1980s and 1990s saw the devastation of infrastructure and the disruptive implementation of structural-adjustment programmes. Features of the informalised economy include artisanal mining and evasion of the state through non-payment of taxes. Elites have deliberately fuelled and exploited insecurity to impose and maintain a particular political order. These regimes have relied on foreign support, so the culture of violent power has been reinforced internationally.
Although there has been some improvement in security countrywide, demobilisation has been slow, as has the peace process itself, and both have significant problems.
There needs to be a thorough analysis of the political economy of the conflict, tracing in detail what is being achieved and how. International funders should:
Author: ZoÃ« Marriage
Source: Marriage, Z, 2007, 'Flip-flop rebel, dollar soldier: demobilisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo', Conflict, Security and Development, 7(2), pp. 281-309, Routledge
Size: 30 pages