A Microcosm of Militarization: Conflict, Governance, and Armed Mobilization in Uvira, South Kivu

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Policy points:
• To sustainably demilitarize Uvira, it is necessary to defuse conflicts related to customary authority, weaken armed groups and their civilian support networks, and improve security management and regulation of local defence forces.
• It is important to recognize and address the adverse roles sometimes played by politicians, business-people and local authorities in armed mobilization.
• It is also important to reduce incentives for citizens to solicit armed groups to provide security, dispute resolution and other public services by improving the governance of customary authorities and security services.

Abstract: This Usalama Report by Judith Verweijen at the Rift Valley Institute analyses militarization in Uvira and how it shapes the interplay between local conflicts, governance and armed mobilization. Focussing on the Bafuliiru Chiefdom and the Ruzizi Plain Chiefdom, the report examines how armed forces influence and are influenced by conflicts related to customary power, security governance and local economic regulation. The presence of so many armed groups in Uvira affects local governance profoundly, in particular because of their links with local authorities. The report argues that in order to sustainably demilitarize Uvira, it is necessary to defuse conflicts related to customary authority, weaken armed groups and their civilian support networks, and improve security management and regulation of local defence forces.

Keywords: DRC; Conflict; Security; Governance; Local Economy; Demilitarization

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