Launch of new project on Kasai region

Today, CRG is publishing the first of a series of reports for a new project on the political and security dynamics in the Kasaï region. These publications will include monthly reports that provide a brief overview of the political, security and humanitarian situation in the Greater Kasaï region, focusing particularly on Kasaï and Kasaï Central, as well as longer thematic reports. Through this new project, CRG will continue to shed light on this part of Democratic Republic of Congo that is still relatively unknown to national and international audiences, despite the events of 2016 and 2017 triggered by Kamuina Nsapu groups.

The first monthly report can be found here.

This first monthly report emphasizes that despite the reduction in violence beginning in 2018, and the surrender of many armed groups following Felix Tshisekedi’s election in early 2019, the potential for further clashes remains. The most important factor that can influence whether violence resumes is the near total absence of sustainable disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs for combatants. The potential for the manipulation of these young, mostly unemployed men by politicians therefore remains.

The report also underlines the dire need for development in this isolated region whose malnutrition rate is the highest in DRC. While the immediate cause of the Kamuina Nsapu rebellion was the manipulation of customary authority by politicians, it quickly became an anti-state movement, symptomatic of the frustrations of many Kasaïans who, rightly or wrongly, consider that their region has long been disproportionately neglected by the Congolese state.

President Tshisekedi’s program for his first hundred days in office focused on road rehabilitation and electrification projects, including in Kasaï. But the work has begun with a whimper. At the same time, the Kasaïan people’s expectations of the new president, who is himself from Kasaï Oriental, are enormous, and certainly too high compared to what he can achieve in a short time. What will be the future of Kasaï under these conditions? Its fate will depend on the attention given to it by national and international actors.