Vacuum Governance in Eastern DRC
This report investigates the social and security dynamics in Shabunda territory (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Located in westernmost South Kivu province and bordering Maniema province, Shabunda is an isolated, enclaved region that has known high levels of insecurity consequent to the activities of residual armed groups known collectively as the Raia Mutomboki. While the isolated situation of Shabunda territory fosters a persistent and polymorphous insecurity, it also enables, as demonstrated in this report, the deployment of local governance systems involving state and non-state actors in the daily management of local political power and access to resources as well as in conflicts around these issues. This, in turn, creates a space of opportunity that contributes to broader transformations of the rural landscape, which this report conceptualises as a form of ‘vacuum governance’.