The wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have seen the recruitment of flip-flop clad rebels and instability arising because soldiers have not received their salary of a few dollars. Conversely, demobilisation programmes, which bring promises of reintegration grants, have not attracted people to disarm. This paper examines this conundrum alongside three features of the situation in Congo: the informalisation of politics and the economy, the exercise of power through violence, and the multiple crises in which people are living. Drawing on reports on demobilisation and interviews conducted in Congo, the paper investigates what implications these three aspects have for demobilisation, and what is achieved by the programmes as they stand. It argues that demobilisation programmes do not address fighters' motivations, and outcomes are largely immaterial. Instead there is a political pillage - akin to the pillages that took place across Congo in the early 1990s - by which some parties make immediate gains, whilst shaping the conditions for longer term losses and destructive systems
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