> Vol. 5, No 2. 2015 > Dynamics of Conflict Management in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

CLEMENT NAMANGALE
Dynamics of Conflict Management in the Democratic Republic of the Congo


09 2015

The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) presents a classic ongoing conflict with many tragic twists that is testing the resolve of sub-regional actors and the entire international community. Any indicators of success are often quickly snuffed out, giving way to palpable collective frustration. Even when the international community attempts to ignore it, the problem keeps coming back with new challenges. Negative events, which are most common in the Eastern DRC, affect both the Great Lakes and the South African Development Community (SADC) Regions, and ignoring the problem is no longer an option. This conflict is particularly unique because, with no tangible enduring solution in sight, the international community keeps experimenting with “new concoctions” of interventions in the vain hope that they may succeed. As is always the case in such situations, the conflict draws in numerous actors and continues to test the international community’s ability to manage conflicts. Many different actors have been lured to the core and yet do not seem to actually influence events on the ground, rendering particularly the Eastern Region highly dysfunctional, and allowing the conflict to drag on seemingly interminably. That situation now appears to be changing. The advent of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) seems to have brought a glimmer of hope that may just be the solution, or at least the beginning of one, if only it can be sustained. But is the FIB the lasting answer to such an asymmetric conflict? Is the FIB concept a new template for future UN missions? This paper attempts to put the dynamics of the whole DRC conflict into perspective, while critically focusing on and analyzing the effectiveness of the concept of the FIB by using the experience of Malawi as one of the three Troop Contributing Countries (TCC’s) fighting rebels in the region. This is not an easy task considering that, despite the defeat of the M23 rebel group, there are still about 40 armed rebel groups dangerously prowling the region.