Drivers of Chaos in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo Warfare


  • Roger Kibasomba Man-Byemba University of Kinshasa



DRC, chaos, defence, security, Africa


Eastern DRC is seriously affected by a protracted warfare involving illicit exploitation of natural resources, corruption, humanitarian crisis and terrorism carried out by armed groups including the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Movement of 23 March (M23). According to DRC government, M23 is a terrorist group supported by Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF). Invasion and terrorism drive the war and the chaos. For Rwanda, fighting and chaos derive from ethnic conflicts over land, citizenship, local political power, and state failures. To many observers, ongoing violence and fighting are driven by rent seeking by Congolese military commanders, lack of State authority, distorted rule of law at both national and local levels, the abuse of public office for private gain (corruption), failed defence/security and justice sector reforms, undisciplined civilian armed and unarmed combatants, warlords and opportunist warmongers. Overall, state failures combined with globalized war diseconomy as conducted by multinational companies, failed multiparty system regarding democratic governance system drive ongoing chaos and armed violence, beyond government control and defence capabilities, despite peace agreements and the involvement of international and regional peace peacekeeping initiatives. Our analysis suggests that the war strategy being used resembles to what McKew refers to as the Gerasimov Doctrine, a chaos theory of political warfare which is used by Russia in Ukraine war. It is a silent total warfare combining politics and war activities with the objective of weakening, controlling and submitting an enemy by influencing its domestic politics and security. It creates a chaotic environment as a result of Clausewitzian friction. Hence, the search for sustainable peace and political stability needs to address factors which drive and sustain the chaos. Such strategic change requires top leadership involvement at the Head of State level, in his capacity of commander in chief of the armed forces. It is a matter of rebuilding the State, transforming non-state forces into a professional military and inducing few innovations into the defence reform process. Such innovations will include establishing territorial armies in eastern provinces where armed groups and foreign forces take advantage of State weaknesses to exploit resources and abuse local defenceless populations.


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How to Cite

Kibasomba Man-Byemba, R. (2023). Drivers of Chaos in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo Warfare. Journal of Central and Eastern European African Studies, 2(4), 82–120.