HSP Seminar (#238) “Democratisation by taking up arms: containing violence in the two Congos”

Description: In some Central African countries (Congo Brazzaville, Congo Kinshasa, Burundi, Angola), the transition from single party state to multiple party state was accompanied by violent armed confrontations. Paradoxically, the involvement of civilians in these confrontations can be seen as an indicator of strong political mobilization in the democratization process. Since the implementation of various peace agreements, many fighters have been integrated into official armed forces. This demilitarization process has profoundly transformed the structure of the national armed forces. Where previously recruits had to receive training before joining the armed forces or combat, conditions for recruitment have almost been reversed: ‘spontaneous’ fighting skills now are preconditions for recruitment. This reversal maximizes the continuous potential for conflicts as it encourages fighters to remain in a state of perpetual mobilisation. This situation incites combatants to take up arms every time the opportunity presents itself. Furthermore, as members of the official security forces are immune to prosecution, the potential for abuse of power is enormous. The combination of these two dynamics: the valorisation of “perpetual mobilisation” and an environment prone to abuses of power, is the key to understanding   the cycles of violence that ravage the region.  My presentation will focus on how these cycles of violence are dealt with in the two Congos. What religious, political and economic devices do the Congolese societies use to attempt to contain violence?
Date: October 17, 2017 17:00 – 19:00
Venue: Bldg. 18 ,4th floor, Collaboration Room 1, Komaba Campus, University of Tokyo
Lecturer: RemyBazenguissa-Ganga (IMAF-EHESS)
Moderator: Mitsugi ENDO, University of Tokyo
Language: English
Materials: To be provided at the venue.
Organizers: Graduate Program on Human Security, University of Tokyo (HSP)
Co-organizers: Research Center for Asian Studies, Institute of Advanced Global Studies (IAGS), Kanto Branch, Japan Association for African Studies