David-Ngendo Tshimba on Lessons from Electioneering in the DRC

A DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL ORDER AFTER VIOLENCE: LESSONS FROM ELECTIONEERING IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

David-Ngendo Tshimba

ABSTRACT

This article, by means of secondary data analysis, delves into the predicaments of elections after violent armed conflicts as a means to (re)build broken political structures and so restore a democratic political order. Although elections are a key component of liberal democratic governance, the article nevertheless acknowledges that resorting to the ballot and not to the gun is actually not a guarantee of order and stability in the aftermath of political violence. The article is in agreement with the fact that many scenarios of electoral engineering in post-Cold War Africa have been flawed as they have been fraudulent, violent, manipulated, or a combination thereof and thus fallen short of meaningful political reconstruction in the aftermath of political violence. On that basis, the article proceeds with a political stock- taking of the case of ‘electocracy’ (the quest for a democratic dispensation through the sole path of popular elections) in post-war Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) based on the two episodes of 2006 and 2011 general elections. The article ultimately suggests that the need to conduct general elections should not take pre-eminence on the political to-do list of priorities facing a post-violence country such as today’s DRC. Instead, the article argues for political institutionalization through socially emancipating politics. This may be a less enviable yet more rewarding move in the quest for a viable democratic political order in the context of a previously war-ravaged country.

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