A New Approach to Create Leverage for Democratic Change
and Human Rights Protections

DATE: Thursday, October 27, 2016
TIME: 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. EDT
LOCATION: Center for American Progress, 1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20036
SPEAKERS: Dr. Pierre Englebert, Peter Harrell, Sasha Lezhnev, Nita Evele, Holly Dranginis


Panzi Foundation board member Nita Evele joins other distinguished experts on the Great Lakes region of Africa as they discuss how to address the crises of democracy and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, hosted by the Enough Project. The event will launch a new Enough Project comprehensive study authored by Sasha Lezhnev, "A Criminal State: Understanding and Countering Institutionalized Corruption and Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo," the second installment in the Enough Project’s "Violent Kleptocracy: Corruption and Conflict in East and Central Africa" Series.

Over the past 130 years, Congo has exhibited many elements of violent kleptocracy, a system of state capture in which ruling networks and commercial partners hijack governing institutions and maintain impunity for the purpose of resource extraction and for the security of the regime. Ruling networks utilize varying levels of violence to maintain power and repress dissenting voices. This system plays out today with the current regime’s attempt to subvert a democratic transition, as President Joseph Kabila and his associates profit from grand corruption and are trying by all means necessary to hold on to power. The report, based on field and historic research, reveals seven pillars of violent kleptocracy manifest in the government of Congo, including letting security forces pay themselves and ensuring regime-connected elites are not held accountable for crimes.

The panelists will discuss new policy options for addressing the crisis, including using tools of financial and judicial pressure that are normally reserved for combating nuclear proliferation and terrorism, as well as new strategies for good governance.

Bagels and coffee will be available.