International Journal of Peace and Development Studies
Subscribe to IJPDS
Full Name*
Email Address*

Article Number - EDFD16566585

Vol.8(5), pp. 55-63 , October 2017
DOI: 10.5897/IJPDS2017.0309
ISSN: 2141-6621

Full Length Research Paper

National dialogue as solution to African problems: The D. R. Congo in focus

Jean-Marie Mbombo
  • Jean-Marie Mbombo
  • Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar

 Received: 25 July 2017  Accepted: 13 October 2017  Published: 31 October 2017

Copyright © 2017 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0

Some African leaders cause problems in Africa when they breach peace accords, rig elections or manipulate their respective constitutions in order to remain in power indefinitely. At the same time, they expect a frustrated opposition to come along through national dialogues and help to quench the fire which they have deliberately ignited. It appears however that lasting solutions to political crisis are yet to be found in countries such as Burundi, Congo and Gabon to name but a few. This paper focuses on a series of actions initiated by the government of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in recent times. Such actions included the reluctance of the Kabila administration to fund the Independent Electoral Commission, the Constitutional Court’s interpretation of Article 70 of the Constitution that ruled in favour of the incumbent to remain in power until a new president is elected and the inconclusive nature of the national dialogue to discuss the future of the country beyond 2016. The study relies on secondary data (review of extant literature) and adopts a paradigm of elite clientelism in order to make sense of the current political stalemate. Findings suggest that the government-initiated political dialogue was a sophisticated strategy of dividing the opposition and rewarding a few sympathisers to the regime with political appointments in order to maintain the status quo ante. The study calls on donor countries to step up pressure on the regime and condition their development aid on its readiness to hold credible elections in order to avert another major crisis looming.


Key words: National dialogue, constitution, Kabila, elite clientelism, term limit, conflict.

Aljazeera (2017). Kabila names Bruno Tshibala new DRC prime minister: Announcement likely to further divide the president's opponents in a country that has been rocked by violence. Retrieved April 28, 2017, from Aljazeera: 



Allison S (2017). Think Again: Can Burundi bury the ghosts of its troubled past? Available at:


Ayittey GB (2005). Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa's Future. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


Bach DC, Gazibo M (2012). Neopatrimonialism in Africa and Beyond. New York: Routledge. Available at: 



Barkan JD (2011). Ethnic Fractionalisation and the Propensity for Conflict in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. In J. T. Herbst, On the Fault Line: Managing Tensions and Divisions Within Societies. London: Profile Books, pp. 150-169.


Bayart JF (2009). The State in Africa: The Politics of the Belly, Second Edition. Cambridge: Polity.


Bratton MA, Van de Walle N (1997). Democratic Experiments in Africa: Regime Transitions in Comparative Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press. 332p.


Chabal P, Daloz JP (1999). Africa Works: Disorder as Political Instrument. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Available at: 



Coleman KP (2007). International Organisations and Peace Enforcement: The Politics of International Legitimacy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: 



Diamond L (2010). The rule of law versus the big man. In L. a. Diamond, Democratization in Africa: Progress and Retreat, Second Edition. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press. pp. 47-58.


Dowden R (2009). Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles. London: Portobello. 576p.


ECOWAS (2015). Supplementary Act A/SA.02/05/15 Amending the Supplementary Protocol A/SP1/12/01 On Democracy and Good Governance, Abuja, Nigeria.


Erdmann GA, Engel U (2006). Neopatrimonialism Revisited - Beyond a Catch-All Concept. 


Fabricius P (2017). 28th AU Summit: ECOWAS raised the bar, but will others follow? Available at: 



Ferguson J (2006). Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order. Durham: Duke University Press.


Fiquremariam S (2008). African Solutions to African Problems. Available at: 



Fombad CA, Murray C (2010). Fostering Constitutionalism in Africa. Pretoria: Pretoria University Press. Available at: 



Freedomhouse (2013). Angola. Retrieved January 9, 2017, from Freedom in the World. Available at: 



Gettleman J (2017). Pact Would Force Out Joseph Kabila From Congo. If, of cousrse, He Agrees. Available at: 



Harowitz S (2007). Mediation. In C. a. Webel, Handbook of Peace and Conflict Studies. New York: Routledge, pp. 51-85.


ICG (2006). Securing Congo's Elections: Lessons from the Kinshasa Showdown. Retrieved May 11, 2008, from International Crisis Group: 


ICGLR (2016). 6th Ordinary Summit of ICGLR Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Luanda, Angola 14th June 2016. 


IDGPA (2015). Constitution de la Republique Démocratique du Congo. Kinshasa: Institut pour la Democratie, la Gouvernance, la Paix et le Developpement en Afrique.


ISS (2006). 6 July 2006: 670 EUFOR Soldiers Already Deployed in Kinshasa. Retrieved May 11, 2008, from Institute for Security Studies: 



ISS (2016). The Political crisis in the DRC another test case for the AU's preventive diplomacy, PSC Report. Retrieved March 07, 2017, from Institute for Security Studies: 



Louw-Vaudran L (2017). Elections in 2017: can the AU up its game?


Makiashi W (2015). Problématique de l'Etat et de sa refondation en Afrique: cas de la République Démocratique du Congo. Revue Africaine de la Démocratie et de la Gouvernance, pp. 39-54.


Mbombo JM (2008). UN-EUFOR Cooperation in the South: An Appraisal of the liberal peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. M.Phil. Dissertation, Trinity College Dublin, University of Ireland.


Meredith M (2005). The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence. London: The Free Press.


Moss TJ (2007). African Development: Making sense of the Issues and Actors. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.


Murray E, Mesfin B, Wolters S (2016) (2016). Weak Ugandan democracy, strong regional influence. Available at: 



Mwenda AM (2010). Persoalizing Power in Uganda. In L. a. Diamond, Democratization in Africa: Progress and Retreat, Second Edition. Baltimore: John Hopkins. pp. 233-247.


Nest MW, Grignon F, Kisangani EF (2006). The Democratic Republic of Congo: Economic Dimensions of War and Peace. London: Lynne Rienner.


Nzongala-Ntalaja G (2015). The Fragile State and Crisis in Eastern Congo. Revue Africaine de la Démocratie et de la Gouvernance. 2(1&2):15-37.


Prunier G (2009). Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Geneocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe. New York: Oxford University Press.


Ramsbotham OT, Miall H, Woodhouse T (2007). Contemporary Conflict Resolution, Second Edition. Cambridge: Polity.


Reyntjens F (2001). Briefing: The Democratic Republic of Congo, From Kabila to Kabila. Afr. Affairs 100(399):311-317.


Stearns J (2012). North Kivu: The Backgrond to conflict in North Kivu province of eastern Congo. Nairobi: Rift Valley Institute.


Talbot C (2001). Congo peace talk revived after Kabila's assassination. Available at: 



The Guardian (1960). Democratic Republic of the Congo. Available at: 



UN (1999). Ceasefire Agreement (Lusaka Agreement). Retrieved March 13, 2008, from United Nations Peacemaker:


van de Walle N (2001). African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis, 1979-1999. New York: Cambridge University Press.


van de Walle N (2007). The Path from Neopatrimonialism: Democracy and Clientelism in Africa Today. Available at: 



VOA (2016). DRC Court: Kabila's Mandate Can Be Extended if No Vote. Available at: 



Weiss HF (2010). Voting for Change in the DRC. In L. a. Diamond, Democratization in Africa: Progress and Retreat, Second Edition. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, pp. 310-323.


Wembi S (2017). Congo President Names Ex-Opposition Leader as Prime Minister. Retrieved April 9, 2017, from The New York Times: 


Zurcher C (2011). The Liberal Peace: A Tough Sell? In S. D. Campbell, A Liberal Peace? The Problems and Practices of Peacebuilding. New York: Zed Books, pp. 69-88.



APA Mbombo, J. (2017). National dialogue as solution to African problems: The D. R. Congo in focus. International Journal of Peace and Development Studies, 8(5), 55-63.
Chicago Jean-Marie Mbombo. "National dialogue as solution to African problems: The D. R. Congo in focus." International Journal of Peace and Development Studies 8, no. 5 (2017): 55-63.
MLA Jean-Marie Mbombo. "National dialogue as solution to African problems: The D. R. Congo in focus." International Journal of Peace and Development Studies 8.5 (2017): 55-63.
DOI 10.5897/IJPDS2017.0309

Subscription Form