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Congo Siasa

A blog on Congo, its politics and tribulations. Edited by Jason Stearns.

Congo Siasa

There are two birthdays coming up that should be of interest. There is, of course, the 50th anniversary of Congolese independence coming up in June 2010. General Denis Kalume, the former interior minister, and the renowned Congolese historian Isidore Ndaywel have been nominated to lead the committee organizing the festivities.

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Congo Siasa

It was a bit anti-climactic when, two days ago in the steamy lakeside town of Baraka (South Kivu), the rebel leader Yakutumba Amuli officially ended his insurgency and joined the Congolese army. After years of being in the headlines (at least, the MONUC internal report ones), he only pitched up

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Congo Siasa

There’s been some noise in the past week about the unsolved murder of Albert Prigogine (aka Ngezayo), a wealthy Goma businessman (and nephew of Russian-Belgian Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine) who was shot in broad daylight in Goma on 13 March 2008. The lawyers hired by the Ngezayo family gave a

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Congo Siasa

Check out this video made by the Virunga national park promoting the use of biofuel briquettes to replace charcoal. As a reminder, charcoal is a hugely profitable business for armed groups in the Kivus – every year around $20 million in charcoal is consumed in the Goma area alone, 80-90

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Congo Siasa

Quiz: Which country has invaded the Congo several times over the past year, allegedly to get its hands on natural resources? Which country is obsessed with the possibility that the Congo could become host to a dangerous rebel insurgency? For those who only voted for Rwanda, you get one point,

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Congo Siasa

It is easy to think that all is quiet in the Kivus, if only because international news agencies rarely pick up much of the news there – it’s hard to get a novel, interesting spin on the “7 dead, five houses burned to the ground, eleven goats stolen” kinds of

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Congo Siasa

One of the beauties of democracy is that it is difficult to control from the center. Institutions such as provincial assemblies and the national parliament become difficult and costly to control or buy-off. One sometimes wonders, however, whether in places like the Congo these institutions are fighting for the people

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Congo Siasa

The UN Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston published a short report on the DR Congo today. It is pithy and to the point, as those who have seen his recent work on Kenya have come to expect. He looked at Bas-Congo, where over 200 supporters of the Bundu

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Congo Siasa

In honor of the greatest Congolese musician of the 20th century, Franco Luambo, who died 20 years ago this week, I wanted to give a platform to some (probably gratuitous) speculations on Kinshasa’s streets. In 1985, Franco released what would become his greatest hit, Mario. It was a rambling, 13

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Congo Siasa

Last week, the Congolese government asked Amalgamated Metals Corp (AMC) and Traxys to begin buying tin again. Both companies had suspended mineral shipments in May 09 and Sept 08, respectively, for fear of being accused of indirectly supporting rebels who control the tin mines.Their boycott was a big blow –

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