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Troubled state-building in the DR Congo: the challenge from the margins*

  • Denis M. Tull (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

This paper examines contentious state–society and centre–periphery relations in the DR Congo and their implications for state-building. Since the 2006 post-conflict elections, the state's authority has come under fire in the western province of Bas Congo, where a politico-religious group (Bundu Dia Kongo) has emerged as a serious challenger. Enjoying huge local legitimacy, the group has articulated political grievances that the newly elected central government has violently repressed. As locally perceived, elections are a legitimising tool in the hands of the government to impose its unfettered authority in the name of the state-building project. Furthermore, and backed by donors, the Kinshasa authorities also refuse to implement a wide-ranging decentralisation reform. This has fed disenchantment about post-conflict politics in Bas Congo, boding ill for democratic politics and the prospects of state-building in the DR Congo.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Email: denis.tull@swp-berlin.org
Footnotes
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I greatly benefited from the opportunity to present earlier drafts of this article at the University of Oxford, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Washington, Pomona College, Claremont, and the Laboratoire d'Etudes et de Recherche sur les Dynamiques Sociales et le Développement Local (LASDEL), Niamey. My thanks go to Pierre Englebert, Vincent Foucher, Peter Lewis, Lee Seymour and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Sarah Biecker and Andrea Sperk provided invaluable research assistance. I am indebted to my interlocutors in Bas Congo and Kinshasa.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

J.-F. Bayart 2000. ‘Africa in the world: a history of extraversion’, African Affairs 99, 395: 217–67.

J.-F. Bayart , P. Geschiere & F. Nyamnjoh . 2001. ‘Autochtonie, démocratie et citoyenneté’, Critique Internationale 10: 177–94.

P. Englebert & D. M. Tull . 2008. ‘Post-conflict reconstruction in Africa: flawed ideas about failed states’, International Security 32, 4: 106–39.

J. D. Fearon & D. D. Laitin . 2004. ‘Neotrusteeship and the problem of weak states’, International Security 28, 4: 5–43.

J. S Migdal . 2001. State in Society: studying how states and societies transform and constitute each other. Cambridge University Press.

V. Mouflet 2009. ‘Le Bas-Congo, aux marges de l'agenda international: angles morts sur les émeutes de 2008’, Afrique Contemporaine 232: 5774.

J. K. Thornton 1998. The Kongolese Saint Anthony: Dona Beatriz Kimpa vita and the Antonian movement. Cambridge University Press.

K. Vlassenroot 2008. ‘Négocier et contester l'ordre public dans l'est de la République Démocratique du Congo’, Politique Africaine 111: 4467.

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The Journal of Modern African Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-278X
  • EISSN: 1469-7777
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-modern-african-studies
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