Proxy Wars and the Dawn of Godfathers
Despite significant stabilization efforts and analysis, the situation around Kitchanga – sitting on the edges of Rutshuru and Masisi territories in North Kivu – remains volatile. This report understands Kitchanga as part of a broader geographical and socio-political complex, including the Bwito and Bashali chieftaincies. While deep-seated conflict persists in this area, the report highlights new security challenges that are undoing the status quo of political order. It demonstrates how the military dynamics shift the balance of power that has revolved around the Rwandan FDLR and its allies for over two decades; illustrates how protracted dynamics of land, local politics and protection keep shaping everyday life; and highlights the limits of stabilization in a context of ongoing fighting and military operations. Together, these dynamics seriously challenge short-term stabilization and peacebuilding efforts.