Democratic Republic of Congo: Nothing New in the East Études de l’Ifri, December 2022
While a state of siege was declared a year ago in two Congolese provinces and Kenyan authorities organized a meeting in Nairobi between the Congolese government and armed groups, the pacification of the Congolese East remains unresolved. This study looks back at the Tshisekedi government's policy and handling of this issue since 2019.
The results of this policy have so far been negative, as the security situation has not changed: insecurity has become permanent and commonplace in the same territories that have been hotbeds of violence for 20 years. The Congolese and human rights organizations denounce the state of siege.
Unfortunately, the authorities' responses to the "problem of the East" are identical to those of Joseph Kabila's terms in office. Tshisekedi's government has simply recycled ineffective solutions (military campaigns, regional security cooperation, demobilization, disarmament and reintegration program) and the policy of pacification is going in circles. This failure is explained by the security approach to a governance problem. The conflict in eastern Congo is based on a guerrilla economy that has successfully taken root, as evidenced by the stability of predatory networks and trafficking routes. This guerrilla economy is an extension of the war economy that prevailed during the occupation by the Rwandan and Ugandan armies. It has been facilitated by the impunity that has prevailed, and still prevails, since 2006 and by a strong coalition of local, national, regional and international interests. In addition, international partners have also developed the wrong approach by offering technical solutions to the political problem of governance.
The best example of this approach is the attempt to police the mineral trade in the Great Lakes, which has not reduced conflict in eastern Congo. As a result, the pacification of eastern Congo has stalled, yet no actor seems willing to change his approach or to make a mea culpa.
This content is available in French: République Démocratique du Congo : à l'Est rien de nouveau