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Comparative Survey Results from Kinshasa and Kisangani

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This section compares and contrasts the findings of the survey results from eastern Congo with the survey results from Kinshasa and Kisangani. The objective of the survey was to gauge attitudes and perceptions of the populations of eastern DRC most affected by ongoing conflict. As such, 2,620 interviews were conducted throughout the Ituri district of Oriental province and the provinces of North and South Kivu. An additional 1,133 surveys were conducted in Kinshasa (592) and Kisangani (541) as points of comparison with the results from eastern DRC. As Congo’s capital and seat of national government, Kinshasa is far removed from the realities of the ongoing conflicts in eastern DRC. The survey reveals that there are clear divergences of views and perceptions between Kinshasa and eastern DRC. For its part, Kisangani, as described in the background section on the Congo conflicts, experienced intense fighting during the Second Congo War, but fighting subsided for the most part during the transition. The survey reveals that Kisangani’s mixed history of prior intense suffering as a result of armed conflict and relatively recent peace results in some shared attitudes and perceptions with Kinshasa on the one hand and eastern DRC on the other.

As was the case in eastern DRC, the sample was selected regardless of any selection criteria with the exception of age (only adults aged 18 or older were interviewed). Same-sex interviews were also conducted here (i.e., women interviewed women and men interviewed men). In Kinshasa, the sample comprises about 100 ethnic groups, with seven groups accounting for 53 percent of respondents: Kongo (14%), Luba (11%), Mbala (8%), Yaka (6%), Yombe (5%), Yansi (5%) and Nyanga (5%). In Kisangani, about 80 ethnic groups were represented in the sample, with four groups each representing 5 percent or more of the sample and accounting for 46 percent of the total sample: Lokele (21%), Poke (12%), Mbole (7%), Kusu (6%), Yombe (5%), Yansi (5%) and Nyanga (5%). The fifth largest group was the Kusu (4%). In total those five groups represented over 50 percent of the sample. Table 35 provides detail of the main ethnic groups by zone under study.

The mean age of respondents was 32.6 years old (S.D. 11.98) in Kinshasa and 34.8 years old (S.D. 13.53) in Kisangani. In Kinshasa, about half the respondents described themselves as single and never married (49%) or as married or in a marital relationship (41%). In Kisangani, respondents were more frequently married or in a marital relationship (66%) while only 24 percent were single, never married. The average household size was 7.5 (S.D. 3.42) in Kinshasa and 9.5 (S.D. 5.25) in Kisangani. Most respondents lived in households that had children (Kinshasa: 81%, Kisangani: 91%). Looking at religion, most respondents described themselves as Catholic (Kinshasa: 28%, Kisangani: 33%) or Protestant (21% and 24% respectively). In Kinshasa, one quarter of the respondents (28%) adhered to ‘Eglise du Reveil,’ a form of evangelical Christianity (3% in Kisangani and 1% in eastern DRC).

Table 35: Sociodemographic characteristics of respondents in Kinshasa and Kisangani

Table 35 - Sociodemographic characteristics of respondents in Kinshasa and Kisangani

* Ethnic groups are provided by order of importance. Only groups that represented about 5% or more of the respondents are provided.

Not unexpectedly, exposure to violence was lower in Kinshasa and Kisangani compared to the East. Nevertheless, even in those cities, respondents frequently reported experiencing traumatic events. For example, in Kinshasa, 41 percent of respondents reported having been displaced at some point since 1993, and 25 percent said they had been beaten by armed groups, compared to 81 percent and 46 percent respectively in eastern Congo. Still, 65 percent of respondents in Kinshasa and 61 percent of those in Kisangani identified themselves as victims of the conflicts, compared to 81 percent of those in eastern Congo. Four percent of respondents in Kinshasa reported having experienced sexual violence as part of the conflict, compared to as many as 16 percent in eastern Congo.

Different priorities: Fifty-seven percent of respondents in Kinshasa and 47 percent in Kisangani identified the economy or employment as one of their priorities, compared to 15 percent in the East. Respondents in Kinshasa and Kisangani also more frequently identified food and education as priorities compared to those in the East. By contrast, respondents identified security as a priority more frequently in the East (34%) compared to Kisangani (22%) and Kinshasa (5%). Peace was identified as a priority more frequently in both the East (51%) and Kisangani (56%) than in Kinshasa (32%). These results were reflected in the priorities respondents identified for the government.

The different priorities result from the fact that there is continuing open armed conflict in eastern DRC while the violence and fear wrought by the absence of security is not felt in Kinshasa and Kisangani. In the absence of violence, respondents in Kinshasa and Kisangani express the acute need for improvement of their economic situation and quality of life. This suggests that some efforts at raising awareness at the national level should occur. To the extent that ongoing conflict in eastern DRC threatens to destabilize the fragile state structure, raising the specter of renewed violence that would affect the entire country, Kinshasa and the rest of the DRC should develop solidarity with the suffering populations of the East and commit to end violence there.

Respondents were also asked what the priorities of the international community should be, to which respondents in Kinshasa and Kisangani identified peace (47% and 24% respectively) and security (22% and 20% respectively) more frequently than those in the East (peace: 24%, security: 19%). This may result from a different exposure to the international community in the different regions. For one, Kinshasa is exposed to various entities of the international community, including international development actors, UN entities, bilateral and multilateral actors. Furthermore, MONUC is highly visible in Kinshasa, albeit in the form of its headquarters as a political, diplomatic, and administrative actor. As such, the Kinshasa population is likely to be aware of MONUC’s mandate without engaging on a day–to–day level with MONUC as peacekeeping troops and therefore holds a different perspective on what MONUC can achieve.

Respondents in Kinshasa and Kisangani, on average, ranked their level of security better than those in eastern Congo, especially in social situations such as meeting strangers and meeting people from another ethnic group. This is also reflected in the higher average level of comfort in a range of situations when in the presence of a member from any other ethnic group. In Kinshasa, over 90 percent of respondents felt comfortable living in the same community (90%), sharing a meal (93%) or working (93%) with a member of any other ethnic group, compared to two-thirds or less in eastern Congo (living in the same community: 64%; sharing a meal: 60%; working together: 66%). The levels of comfort for this range of situation in Kisangani were similar to the levels in eastern Congo. Looking at the same range of situations, but this time in the presence of former combatants, the levels of comfort in Kinshasa and Kisangani were, on average, similar or even lower than those in eastern Congo.

Respondents in Kinshasa, Kisangani, and eastern Congo defined peace in similar terms. They also saw it predominantly as the role of the government to bring peace. However, respondents in Kinshasa proposed more frequently (33%) that dialogue with the militias was needed to achieve peace compared to those in Kisangani (27%) and eastern Congo (22%). Respondents in Kinshasa were also more frequently convinced that the stakeholders were committed to achieving peace (76%) compared to Kisangani (54%) and eastern Congo (58%).

Respondents in all regions believed it is important to hold accountable those who committed crimes in eastern Congo, and views differed little regarding which crimes they should be held accountable for. Respondents in eastern Congo put an emphasis less frequently on holding the government accountable (17%) compared to those in Kinshasa (32%) and Kisangani (35%), but they more frequently identified Rwanda and Rwandan groups among those that should be held accountable. Overall, the results from Kinshasa, Kisangani, and eastern DRC as displayed in the table below reveal similar awareness and desire to hold accountable the various parties to the conflicts in the Congo, namely militia leaders, militias, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Congolese government.

Table 36: Who should be held accountable?

Table 36 - Who should be held accountable?

When asked directly what should happen to those who committed crimes, about two-thirds of respondents in Kinshasa, Kisangani, and eastern DRC said they should be punished. Respondents in Kinshasa and Kisangani also said more frequently they wanted to see them in court (Kinshasa: 41%; Kisangani: 39%; eastern Congo: 25%).

Despite the different ways Kinshasa, Kisangani, and eastern Congo have experienced the Congo conflicts, views and attitudes towards justice, transitional mechanisms, the ICC, and truth-seeking mechanisms differed little across regions. One exception was that, among the trial options (national courts, international court in Congo, International Court abroad, or no trial), respondents in Kinshasa chose more frequently an international court abroad (20%) compared to those in Kisangani (9%) and eastern Congo (7%). The other respondents were about evenly divided between national courts and an international court in Congo. Overall, few chose no trials at all (5% each in Kinshasa and Kisangani, 8% in eastern Congo). Because access to media is higher in Kinshasa compared to the interior, 34 percent of respondents had heard of the Lubanga proceedings in Kinshasa compared to 30 percent in Kisangani and 28 percent in eastern Congo. More respondents in Kinshasa said they had heard of the ICC (39%) than in Kisangani (25%) and in eastern Congo (27%). The greater awareness of the ICC in Kinshasa likely influences the survey finding that 20 percent of respondents in Kinshasa favor international trials abroad to hold war criminals accountable.

With regard to truth-seeking, the main mechanism advanced to establish the truth was an inquiry by the judicial system, proposed by over half the respondents in all three regions. Respondents in Kinshasa and Kisangani also more frequently proposed a form of truth-seeking commission (Kinshasa: 35%, Kisangani: 36%) compared to those in eastern Congo (24%). This could be because respondents in Kinshasa and Kisangani received greater information about the official Truth and Reconciliation Commission sponsored by the transitional Congolese government.

Finally, respondents in Kinshasa and Kisangani were more receptive to the idea of talking openly about their experience in the conflict (73% and 75% respectively) as compared to those in eastern Congo (63%), possibly reflecting the higher level of security and also anonymity in the two urban settings.