Nation and the Politics of Congo

While today Congo operates within a Democratic Republic framework, till as recently as 2005 the concept of nationhood is not familiar to the population.  The region of Congo had for most part of the twentieth century been ruled by Belgium.  And after the withdrawal of Belgian imperial rule in 1960, the region was torn apart by internal civil conflict.  A major part of the five decades of sovereignty has been accompanied by political instability, coup-de-tats, party vendetta and lack of economic growth.  Hence, the conditions prevailing in Congo’s recent history did not allow the establishment of the idea of a peaceful, stable and functioning nation.  When the international community, under the guidance of the United Nations finally brought Congo into the democratic fold, the event was seen as marking a turning point in the country’s tragic history.  With the successful completion of its first two general elections in 2006 and 2011, the people of Congo can look forward to forging a unique national identity.  Perhaps in the coming decades the improved political conditions in the country will allow its people to express themselves artistically and creatively that was unimaginable in the years past.  This way, the ethno-cultural identity of its people will find new expression on the international stage, paving a way for the consolidation of its nationhood.  The two terms ‘Nation’ and ‘Politics of Congo’ thus have had an inverse association in political science studies until recently.  It is only in the last 6 years that the two terms became more compatible and resonate with each other.  In order to fully understand how far Congo has lagged behind in terms of sovereignty and democratic norms, it is essential to compare it with the commonly accepted definition of ‘nation’.  And in doing so one is able to identify Congo’s current status.  It is for this reason that the two terms are relevant to the study of comparative politics.

Works Cited:

“Congo Overview”. Minority Rights Group International. Retrieved 2009-06-13.

United States State Department. Bureau of African Affairs. Background Notes. “Republic of the Congo”. Accessed  19 October 2011.