Launch of ‘Congo Blues: Scoring Kabila’s Rule’

On Thursday, May 12, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center launched its newest issue brief, Congo Blues: Scoring Kabila’s Rule, by Pierre Englebert, H. Russell Smith Professor of International Relations and Professor of African Politics at Pomona College.

Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham welcomed attendees to the event and introduced Englebert, who provided an overview of the brief’s findings, and Richard Gittleman, President and Executive Director of United for Africa’s Democratic Future, who responded to Englebert’s remarks. Pham noted that this issue brief builds on the publication of a previous study, Why the Congo Matters, released in March 2016.
In the brief, Englebert argues that, despite being in power for fifteen years amid relatively buoyant recent macroeconomic growth, Kabila has done painfully little to improve the lives of Congo’s citizens. At best, his tenure has been characterized by willful neglect and, at worst, by adverse and bloody manipulation of the country’s political system. In the place of effective governance, the regime has relied on confusion, dithering, meaningless dialogue, absenteeism, theft, patronage, violence, and repression that has effectively set the country back to the days of Mobutu Sese Seko’s klepocratic dictatorship. What’s worse, Englebert, Gittleman, and Pham agreed that all signs indicate that Kabila intends to stay in power beyond the constitutionally mandated end of his term in November 2016.

With Pham moderating, the panel discussed questions posed by the audience on DRC’s role in regional stability, the country’s economic prospects, and the role of the international community.

For more on the event, see “Joseph Kabila’s Ugly Legacy.”

This issue brief is made possible through generous support from United for Africa’s Democratic Future.

DSCRead the issue brief here.

Image: Left to right: J. Peter Pham, Pierre Englebert, and Richard Gittleman