The end of hostilities between warring factions in Congo-Brazzaville has marked a decisive moment in the state’s developmental history. Post conflict reconstruction is a foundational component of public policies that restore order within society, igniting the engines of economic development, and in obtaining sustainable peace. In recent years, Africa has experienced a disproportionate share of conflicts compared with other regions; and leads the world in the number of present intrastate conflicts. Since the end of the Cold War, some African states have made advances in post conflict peacebuilding and intergroup reconciliation. This article focuses on post conflict reconstruction through the lens of security sector reforms, primarily disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs. This study asks, how can postconflict scholars and practitioners determine if a DDR program has been a success or failure? Using Congo-Brazzaville as a case study, this article integrates the literature of political science and program evaluation to assess the level of “success” in Congo’s DDR programs. DDR is a highly complex and contingent process, and complete success or failure is unlikely, with most program outcomes result in a series of mixed effects. In summing the successes of individual indicators (e.g., weapons collected, munitions destroyed) DDR may be commonly perceived as successful, however, the conflict context, power dynamics, level of development, or social reintegration of ex-combatants may retard short-term gains for long-term instability. DDR programs should not carry the burden of peacebuilding themselves, and donor summary reports should not rely on easily quantifiable indicators in decreeing a program’s success without contemplating domestic power politics and elite cooptation mechanisms.
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Karazsia, Z. (2015). Evaluating the “Success” of Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Programs: The Case of Congo-Brazzaville. Journal of Interdisciplinary Conflict Science, 1(2), 83-. Retrieved from http://nsuworks.nova.edu/jics/vol1/iss2/1
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