Today, NOOW partner The Enough Project released a new comprehensive study, "A Criminal State: Understanding and Countering Institutionalized Corruption and Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo," by Sasha Lezhnev. The study, the second report in the the "Violent Kleptocracy: Corruption and Conflict in East and Central Africa" series, details how Congo is not a failed state—for everyone. It is a failure for the vast majority of Congolese who suffer from abysmal security, healthcare, and education services. However, it is an efficient state for ruling elites and their commercial partners who seek to extract or traffic resources at the expense of Congo’s development. Over the past 130 years, Congo has had many elements of violent kleptocracy, a system of state capture in which ruling networks and commercial partners hijack governing institutions and maintain impunity for the purpose of resource extraction and for the security of the regime. Violence has been the systemic companion of these regimes. This study argues that President Kabila and his close associates rely in large part on theft, violence, and impunity to stay in power at the expense of the country’s development. If international policymakers are to have a real impact in helping Congolese reformers actually reform the system, they need to shift the lens through which they view the conflict.
Read the report here.