TagDemocratic Republic of Congo

‘Blood Beer’ or Brewing Benefits? The Paradox of Heineken in the Congo, A guest post by Jason Miklian and Peer Schouten

As the sun goes down in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the sound of tropical birds and insects is slowly overtaken by the groaning hums of an army of small Chinese-made generators. They each light up a few light bulbs and a transistor, creating the much-valued ambiance for which Congo is well-known—an ambiance that is consistently lubricated with fair amounts of Congo’s finest beer, the eternal leader Primus. Sweet-voiced Lingala phrases and guitar riffs from the blown speakers pay playful homage to the bliss that the beer has brought the country; as the melodies bounce off the faintly illuminated hand-painted Primus ads all over the country, they form a pleasant multisensory immersion into Congo’s soul. Just like you can get a Coca-Cola everywhere in the world, so you can get a Primus everywhere in Congo. In addition to its contracts with celebrity singers, the brewery has exclusive deals with 68.857 bars in Congo, which carry Primus-branded tables, chairs, and ashtrays. Hand-painted signs for Primus seem to paper every surface in the DRC, making Bralima’s slogan Toujours Leader! (‘Always the Leader!’) into the most-read phrase in the country.
Continue reading

Congo crisis shows bankruptcy international military policies (guest post by Maria Eriksson Baaz and Judith Verweijen)

There is undoubtedly a need for a political solution to the ongoing Congo crisis, which recently reached new depths with the fall of Goma. Yet viable solutions to intricate, multi-layered conflict dynamics are difficult to reach when one party, in this case the Congolese Government, is brought to its knees following humiliating military defeats. The probability of a sustainable compromise that will reduce violence in the Kivus is difficult to envisage in the face of an insurgency led by skilled military entrepreneurs, with crucial military and diplomatic backing from neighbouring countries.  Certainly, the M23 has advanced some legitimate claims that are shared by both the Tutsi minority they claim to represent and wider layers of the population tired of the Kabila’s Government’s inept governance. However, it is unlikely that its leaders, given their current military advantage, will accept any deal which does not reward their ambitions. In sum, the rebel take-over of Goma has decreased the possibility to break with a vicious cycle  in which insurgent violence is time and again politically rewarded. Continue reading

Harvesting the rotten fruits of repeated rebel military integration: some reflections on the new rebellion in eastern DRC. Guest post by Maria Eriksson Baaz and Judith Verweijen

In recent months, we have seen renewed large-scale fighting and a new wave of displaced in the Kivu provinces of eastern DRC. The current upheaval started in April, when an important faction of the former CNDP rebel group, who had integrated into the Congolese military (FARDC) in 2009, deserted and launched a new rebellion in North Kivu. This group took the name of “M23” after the peace accord between the CNDP and the DR Government signed on March 23 2009. In various offensives over the last months, the M23 have occupied substantial parts of Rutshuru territory, revealing once more the operational weaknesses of the military from which they defected. Continue reading

Harvesting the rotten fruits of repeated rebel military integration: some reflections on the new rebellion in eastern DRC. Guest post by Maria Eriksson Baaz and Judith Verweijen

In recent months, we have seen renewed large-scale fighting and a new wave of displaced in the Kivu provinces of eastern DRC. The current upheaval started in April, when an important faction of the former CNDP rebel group, who had integrated into the Congolese military (FARDC) in 2009, deserted and launched a new rebellion in North Kivu. This group took the name of “M23” after the peace accord between the CNDP and the DR Government signed on March 23 2009. In various offensives over the last months, the M23 have occupied substantial parts of Rutshuru territory, revealing once more the operational weaknesses of the military from which they defected. Continue reading

© 2019 Mats Utas

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑