Democratic Republic of Congo: the democratization of militarized politics

Vlassenroot, K and Verweijen, J (2017) Democratic Republic of Congo: the democratization of militarized politics. In: Bøås, Morten and Dunn, Kevin (eds.) Africa’s insurgents: navigating an evolving landscape. Lynne Riener, pp. 99-118. ISBN 9781626376243

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More than ten years after the official conclusion of the peace process, more armed groups are operating in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo than during the two Congo Wars (1996–1997, 1998–2003), their numbers showing a steady increase over the past few years. However, the nature of armed mobilization is changing. Currently emerging groups (which exist alongside longer-standing insurgencies) are no longer large-scale, foreign-supported rebel movements or broad coalitions of rural-based nationalist self-defense groups, even if their commanders often started their military career in these predecessor armed movements. Rather, they represent a multitude of locally rooted and small-scale armed groups, some of which count no more than ten to twenty fighters. The strong local rootedness of these smaller- scale armed groups, and the ongoing conflicts and competition between the civilian networks of which they are a part, have created both the incentives and the possibilities for local authorities and other local elites to draw upon armed actors to reinforce their power position. Consequently, as we argue in this chapter, militarized politics has become accessible to a broadening range of actors. Hence, it has become “democratized” in the sense of drawing in more, but lower-level politico-military entrepreneurs, reflecting how violence as a strategy has become more accessible.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Centre for Conflict and Security Research
Depositing User: Judith Verweijen
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2019 14:52
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2019 14:26

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