What To Do About Eastern Congo

The main predicament in Eastern Congo is that some 25 militias operate in North and South Kivu provinces. (The BBC has a list and a map.) They subsist by taxing mines, roads, and market towns, along with some outright plundering of peasants.

Why is Eastern Congo so lawless?

  1. The general tendency to predatory rule in Africa, made worse by:
  2. A fairly dense population to prey upon, thanks to rich volcanic soil;
  3. Minerals to loot, such as tin, gold and coltan;
  4. Immigration: Tutsi and Hutu settlers who intruded upon the existing ethnies;
  5. Distance: close to Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, but far from Kinshasa, the Congolese capital;

So, what is to be done?

Separation is perhaps the most feasible option. If there were a smallish new independent state of Kivu, it might follow Rwanda (and the town of Rutshuru) in being ruled by a competent and disciplined Tutsi regime. This is far from perfect, of course, but is probably better than the status quo. It would not end the predation, but it might make it more orderly.


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