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Publication Details

Reference
Mamdani, Mahmood  (1998) Understanding the Crisis in Kivu: Report of the CODESRIA Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo September, 1997. Centre for African Studies University of Cape Town : 1-29.

Summary
The Congo mission of CODESRIA took place in September, 1997, in the interugnum
between the First Rebellion against Mobutu and the Second Rebellion against Kabila.
The Mission comprised two members, Jacques Depelchin and Mahmood Mamdani
(chair).
Conceptualised as the first of a two-phased focus on the crisis in the Great Lakes region,
the Congo mission was to concentrate specifically on the region of Kivu. In that context,
the Mission was asked:
(a) to meet different categories of people to establish a sense of the situation on the
ground;
(b) to engage local researchers with a view to recommending a research agenda directly
relating to the crisis in the region;
(c) to recommend a programme of action to be followed by CODESRIA in the region.
The Congo Mission lasted 17 days, from 3 to 19 September 1997.
We visited four cities - Kinshasa, Goma, Bukavu and Kisangani - and interviewed 32
persons (see Appendix). Except for one rare instance, all other interviews were jointly
done by both members of the mission.
While Jacques Depelchin and I would discuss each interview as we completed it, we
never really tried to arrive at a joint account of the crisis. Subsequent events in Congo,
particularly the fact that Jacques is now a prominent member of the Second Rebellion
(against Kabila), has made it difficult for us to meet and explore the possibility of a
common account. It is for this reason that I feel compelled to take individual
responsibility for the report, and particularly for the interpretive sections that follow. The
following, then, is an analysis of the crisis and a framing of a research agenda and a
programme of action following from that analysis.

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