Populism has become a buzzword in popular and media discourses in recent years. Academic debates on the concept of populism—what it is and isn’t, where to look for it and its normative prescription—has been highly contested. From minimal definitions to vernacular descriptions to propositions to drop the concept all together, a considerable but disparate field of study has emerged.
The Ruzizi Plain in South Kivu Province has been the theatre of ongoing conflicts and violence for over two decades. Patterns and dynamics of conflicts and violence have significantly evolved over time. Historically, conflict dynamics have largely centred on disputed customary authority – often framed in terms of intercommunity conflict.
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.
This first report analyses the string of attacks in and around Djugu territory in Ituri since late 2017. Based on both historical and recent conflict analysis, it finds recent and concrete triggers of the ongoing crisis, nonetheless rooted in protracted tension over land, livelihood and territory, often framed in ethnic binaries.