Representation of ethnic groups in subnational political institutions: The case of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Samuel, Matemane Iraguha
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With approximately 450 tribes and 250 ethnic groups in a territory of 2 345 095 km2,1the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the world's largest, populous, and multiethnolinguistic countries. Since the departure of the Belgian coloniser in 1960, this Member State of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) is facing a myriad of institutional crises, bloody conflicts and wars, mainly caused by the design of political institutions and the side-lining of some ethnic groups from political institutions. For many decades, Congolese provinces have seen numerous violent ethnic-driven conflicts, which led to institutional instability, political crisis, secessions, massacres and wars. The bloodiest of them all were the first and second Congolese wars. From 1996 to 2002, these so-called "African first world war" cost the DRC the lives of millions of people, divided it into many small "republics" and destroyed the few political and economic infrastructures that survived four decades of institutional instability and dictatorship.