Corruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Corruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which used to be an institutionalized part of the state, has been relatively lowered in recent years. However, it continues to exceed corruption in comparison to most states. The BBC's DRC country profile calls its recent history "one of civil war and corruption."[1] President Joseph Kabila established the Commission of Repression of Economic Crimes upon his ascension to power in 2001.[2]

History edit

The Mobutu era (1965–1997) edit

Mobutu Sese Seko ruled Zaire from 1965 to 1997, looting his country's wealth for personal use to such a degree that critics coined the term "kleptocracy". A relative once explained how the government illicitly collected revenue: "Mobutu would ask one of us to go to the bank and take out a million. We'd go to an intermediary and tell him to get five million. He would go to the bank with Mobutu's authority, and take out ten. Mobutu got one, and we took the other nine."[3] The Congolese explained the lack of support from the government by the humorous article 15: Débrouillez-vous ("Figure it yourself").

Mobutu institutionalized corruption to prevent political rivals from challenging his control, leading to an economic collapse in 1996.[4] Mobutu allegedly stole up to US$4 billion while in office.[5]

The Kabila Era (1997–2019) edit

Laurent Kabila led an insurgent group against Mobutu and quickly assumed power after Mobutu was overthrown.[6] During this time period, Kabila issued a statement making himself president with near absolute power in the government.[7] With people supporting him for overthrowing Mobutu, he was not initially met with much public opposition.[8] However, Kabila's and his government's goals for the regime were said to be unclear and vague.[8]

He refused immediate elections in fear of the country returning to Mobutuism, and continued to postpone promised elections.[7] The constitution was not changed, and he and his peers exploited resources for their personal benefit.[9] Laurent Kabila led a regime that upheld corruption through clientelism by appointing his clients as cabinet members.[10] Under the Kabila regime, the DRC has failed to pull itself out of its “collapsed state” status from when Mobutu was in power.[11]

The government has not implemented security and human rights reforms, free media, and the decentralization of power.[12] The economy plummeted, forcing workers to be underpaid and living conditions to deteriorate.[13] Laurent Kabila was killed in 2001 by one of his body guards in an attempted coup d'état.[14]

During that time period, The Democratic Republic of Congo received a score of 1.9 out of 10 in the Corruption Perception Index, which reveals high levels of corruption.[10]

His son, Joseph Kabila was elected president after Laurent Kabila's death.[6] Joseph Kabila is working with the World Bank to curtail corruption and improve economy.[15] In addition, the Commission of Economic Crimes was implemented in 2001 by President Joseph Kabila. Nonetheless, there are still reports of high-ranking officials exploiting resources for their personal benefit and other forms of corruption.[9] In 2006, the constitution changed the president's minimum age from 35 to 30 years old to include Joseph Kabila, who was 33 at the time.[10]

In 2017, Reuters exposed a scheme involving overpriced biometric passports.[16]

After Kabilas (2019–) edit

In June 2020, a court in the Democratic Republic of Congo found President Felix Tshisekedi's chief of staff Vital Kamerhe guilty of corruption. He was sentenced to 20 years' hard labor, after facing charges of embezzling almost $50m (£39m) of public funds. He was the most high-profile figure to be convicted of corruption in the DRC.[17] However, Kamerhe was released already in December 2021.[18]

In November 2021, a judicial investigation targeting former president Joseph Kabila and his associates was opened in Kinshasa after revelations of alleged embezzlement of $138 million.[19]

Corruption Perceptions Index edit

Year Score Rank
2017 21 161[20]
2018 20 161[21]
2019 18 168[22]
2020 18 170[23]
2021 19 169[24]
2022 20 166[25]
2023 20 162[26]

The table above shows how the Democratic Republic of the Congo fared in seven successive years of Transparency International's ranking of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index. Countries are scored on a scale from 0 ("highly corrupt") to 100 ("very clean") and then ranked by score; the country ranked first is perceived to have the most honest public sector.[27]

See also edit


References edit

  1. ^ "DR Congo country profile". BBC News. 10 February 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  2. ^ Werve, Jonathan (2006). The Corruption Notebooks 2006. p. 57.
  3. ^ Ludwig, Arnold M. (2002). King of the Mountain: The Nature of Political Leadership. p. 72.
  4. ^ Nafziger, E. Wayne; Raimo Frances Stewart (2000). War, Hunger, and Displacement: The Origins of Humanitarian Emergencies. p. 261.
  5. ^ Mesquita, Bruce Bueno de (2003). The Logic of Political Survival. p. 167.
  6. ^ a b Isango, Eddy (December 7, 2006). "Kabila Promises New Era for Congo" (PDF).
  7. ^ a b Rosenblum, Peter (May 1998). "Kabila's Congo". Current History. 97 (619): 193–199. doi:10.1525/curh.1998.97.619.193. S2CID 146274596. ProQuest 200705711.
  8. ^ a b Schatzberg, Michael G. (1997). "Beyond Mobutu: Kabila and the Congo". Journal of Democracy. 8 (4): 70–84. doi:10.1353/jod.1997.0065. S2CID 154740659.
  9. ^ a b Nguh, Augustin (December 2013). "Corruption and Infrastructure Megaprojects in the DR Congo" (PDF). International Rivers.
  10. ^ a b c Matti (2010). "The Democratic Republic of the Congo? Corruption, Patronage, and Competitive Authoritarianism in the DRC". Africa Today. 56 (4): 42–61. doi:10.2979/aft.2010.56.4.42. S2CID 153894995.
  11. ^ Reyntjens, Filip (2001). "Briefing: The Democratic Republic of Congo, from Kabila to Kabila". African Affairs. 100 (399): 311–317. doi:10.1093/afraf/100.399.311. JSTOR 3518770.
  12. ^ Dizolele, Mvemba (July 2010). "The Mirage of Democracy in the DRC" (PDF). Journal of Democracy. 21 (3): 143–157. doi:10.1353/jod.0.0189. S2CID 154018859 – via National Endowment for Democracy and The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  13. ^ Mills, Greg (February 2002). "Africa Portal". Africa Portal. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  14. ^ Christensen, Christian (2004). "Political Victims and Media Focus: The Killings of Laurent Kabila, Zoran Djindjic, Anna Lindh and Pim Fortuyn" (PDF). Journal for Crime, Conflict and the Media. 2: 17 – via JC2M.
  15. ^ "Democratic Republic of Congo" (PDF). United Nations.
  16. ^ "Congo's pricey passport scheme sends millions of dollars offshore". Reuters. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Vital Kamerhe: DRC president's chief of staff found guilty of corruption". BBC News. 20 June 2020.
  18. ^ "DRC: Under what conditions has Vital Kamerhe been released?". The Africa 7 December 2021.
  19. ^ "DRC: Investigation opens on Joseph Kabila over $138 million embezzlement". Africanews. 24 November 2021.
  20. ^ ""Democratic Republic of the Congo (2017)"". Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  21. ^ ""Democratic Republic of the Congo (2018)"". Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  22. ^ ""Democratic Republic of the Congo (2019)"". Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  23. ^ ""Democratic Republic of the Congo (2020)"". Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  24. ^ ""Democratic Republic of the Congo (2021)"". Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  25. ^ ""Democratic Republic of the Congo (2022)"". Retrieved 2023-02-01.
  26. ^ ""Democratic Republic of the Congo (2023)"". Retrieved 2024-02-22.
  27. ^ "The ABCs of the CPI: How the Corruption Perceptions Index is calculated". Retrieved 2024-02-22.

External links edit