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Leadership failure, state collapse and external intervention : investigating instability and conflict in the democratic Republic of Congo, 1960-2010.

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This is a study about leadership failure, state collapse and external intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from 1960 to 2010. It is based on research that I undertook, records that I kept and field work interviews conducted while serving as a United Nations Electoral Affairs Officer (2004-2006) and Political Affairs Officer (2006-2010) in the DRC. It is further based on a field mission in the DRC in 2012. The study covers the period from independence in 1960 through the Mobutu years to the Joseph Kabila presidency up to 2010. I use the framework of historical legitimacy, political economy and subaltern realism to explain conflict and instability in the Congo since independence. I posit that governance and leadership failure and external intervention are interrelated but that leadership failure is a more crucial explanation of state failure and collapse than external intervention. Moreover, while political economy analysis and realism are powerful investigative tools, the state’s lack of historical legitimacy best explains crises and instability in DRC since independence. Decentralization within a unitary system, functionalist regional integration and the rule of law may well be solutions to the problem of conflict and instability in the DRC.


Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2016.


Theses - Political Science.