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Talk:Democratic Republic of the Congo

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For future reference the Wikitravel:CIA World Factbook 2002 import can be found at Talk:Democratic Republic of the Congo/CIA World Factbook 2002 import.


Regions[edit]

I'm moving the province list here for now, so that they don't all get created... we should figure out 5-7 larger regions to break DRC into, which makes more sense for travel... – cacahuate talk 00:34, 15 November 2007 (EST)


As far as dividing the country into 4-5 regions, here's my best shot:

  • Western DRC (Badundu, Kinshasa, & Bas Congo) — not sure about a name, but this is where the capital, ocean port, & most of the paved roads can be found, it is also where most tourists (usually travelling down the west coast of Africa) pass through
  • Katanga (Katanga)— the large region in the south/southeast which is savanna & no-so-dense forest, accessed from Zambia
  • Kasai (Kasai Orriental/Occidental) — the second & fourth largest cities are here, large mining operations
  • Kivu (Nord/Sud Kivu) — famous for the wars & the ongoing UN mission and NGO work; linked to some extent both culturally and economically with Rwanda & Uganda, visitors here also come from those countries for gorilla trekking & Virunga NP
  • Northern DRC (Equateur, Oriental, Maniema) — the majority of the DRC's jungle centered around the Congo River, these areas are remote & difficult to access (except by river boats).

As far as the exact boundaries, this map of the former provinces looks good and appears to line up well with the colors (thus landscapes) in this satellite image. The names in parentheses above are those of the regions on that map which correspond with the regions I've divided the DRC into. AHeneen 23:56, 20 January 2010 (EST)

The UN has a good map of the DRC here! It includes railroads & roads. AHeneen 01:01, 21 January 2010 (EST)
Looks very sensible to me. Just so you know, that Wikipedia map you link comes from the Perry Castaneda Library collection, which we use a lot. You will find topo, political and administrative maps there for most countries. --Burmesedays 04:11, 21 January 2010 (EST)
OK. The UN map has more roads, but since nearly all are just dirt/mud paths through the jungle, the ones the Wikipedia map are probably the most used/useful (anyone planning on traversing the DRC should be sensible enough to get a good map). The railroads, however, are more clear on the UN map (although most are unused). AHeneen 04:58, 21 January 2010 (EST)


DR Congo regions map, for discussion

Here is the map based on those five regions. I am really happy with this except for the treatment of Maniema. You will see that this causes a rather illogical looking Northern DRC region. That leg that drops down is Maniema, and I think it could be better dealt with as part of Kasai, or split between Kasai and Kivu. Either coudl be renamed - Kasai-Maniema or Kivu Maniema. Otherwise, it all feels right. And a really fun map to produce as I learned a lot along the way. Discuss, approve or otherwise :). --Burmesedays 12:26, 22 January 2010 (EST)

Very nice work! The "Northern DRC" region corresponds with the second largest jungle in the world after the Amazon (the DRC's majority portion of it, at least). Kivu corresponds with the region along the Burundi/Rwanda/Uganda border that is deeply connected with Burundi/Rwanda politics and conflict. From what I've browsed (and I am certainly not an expert on this country), the Maniema region seems to fit with Northern DRC. This satellite image seems to show dark green in Maniema/western Kivu. Since it lies on the Lualaba (the upper part of the Congo), I'd guess it is similar to much of Northern DRC in that it is rural jungle and relies on water for transport. So the regions should stay as they are. A couple cities should be added: Mubji-Mayi & Kindu. The country's railroads are very degraded and whether or not they are operational is hard to figure out. There are many threads discussing DRC trains on Thorn Tree and many seem to suggest some are operating infrequently, so I'd leave them. One line you are missing is Kinshasa-Matadi, which has recently been operational and is currently being refurbished. I cannot find a name for the jungle that forms the "Northern DRC", but since it follows the Congo River maybe "Congo Basin" is appropriate. I'm not sure about a better name for "western DRC", unless it was divided into Badundu & Bas-Congo. A couple tweeks aside, a very good map and I'm glad you've learned something. AHeneen 13:52, 22 January 2010 (EST)
You beat me to the punch—I was just about to suggest Congo Basin or better yet Congo Rainforest instead of bland-sounding Northern DRC. --Peter Talk 15:51, 22 January 2010 (EST)
All understood and will do those additions today and do the article re-organisation, deleting the old regions, redirects etc. You make a good case for the treatment of Maniewa although it does look very odd! The satellite images are fairly compelling as you say. One quick thing, I would prefer it if we did not take any map live into the article until it is completely finished. Cheers. A good collaborative effort this one.--Burmesedays 21:45, 22 January 2010 (EST)
Done. Map finished, region articles created and all re-directs (I think) in place. --Burmesedays 23:27, 22 January 2010 (EST)

About the drinks section.[edit]

It says that you should beware of the local gin because the fermentation process may yield methanol which is toxic. This is of course pure BS. Fermentation of sugars into alcohol cannot ever lead to methanol, it's impossible. The reason why the gin is toxic is probably that unscrupulous vendors dilute the relatively pricey gin ( ethanol ) with methanol. If you're not carefull when doing that you may end up with a concoction with too much methanol in proportion to the ethanol which will blind or kill people.

Simple fermentation of sugars can not and will not ever yield toxic amounts of methanol. It's simply impossible and stating otherwise is ignorant and misinformative.

Dictatorship, democracy, or something in between?[edit]

The current thumbnail description of the government of the DRC is "Dictatorship; claiming to be undergoing a transition to a representative government." Yet they've had elections. Isn't the system more like an imperfect republic, but only in the parts of the country the government controls? But what's the best brief way to describe that? "Elected president, limited control"? Ikan Kekek 16:35, 23 June 2012 (EDT)

Freedom House in 2011 ranked the DRC 138th out of 150 countries for democratic governance, so I'm not sure that's what I would call it. Running elections is just one piece of the pie, and electoral corruption, or in this case, simply killing human rights activists, journalists, or people who try to run against the government, undermines their purpose. The Soviet Union ran elections every year.
But more importantly, we have agreed to get rid of that field from the Quickbar, replacing the old fields with the shorter and more useful list in Template:Quickbar/working. I think the main reason we haven't finally gotten around to replacing them is just a disagreement over whether they should be at the top of the page, or at the top of the understand section. --Peter Talk 11:15, 25 June 2012 (EDT)
I wouldn't take what Freedom House says as Gospel, but I definitely take your points. And if this is going to be replaced soon, I won't concern myself with it. If the disagreement drags on for a long time, we should eventually revisit this. Ikan Kekek 17:55, 25 June 2012 (EDT)

The last few elections have been reasonably fair, under very intense scrutiny by the UN & US/European monitors, including the most recent in Nov. 2011. Minority political parties have more influence in the political process than at any time since independence. Not completely sure that "dictator" is the right word to describe the government. The majority party and current president (Joseph Kabila) have a very good control over politics, but Kabila's party and allies are only about 200 of the 500 parliament seats. The rest are split among several dozen small/regional parties, which represent local issues or are formed to follow a particular candidate (since travel/communication is so bad around the country). So I don't even know if the term "authoritarian" is warranted. The "democratic governance" is probably due to the corruption & domineering at the local level in handling elections and crackdowns on protests. You can't expect a 180-degree change in attitude among people & politicians after life under these circumstances:

  • Mobutu who ruled from 1965-1996 was basically a ruthless dictator for most of his reign torturing and/or publicly hanging political rivals, banning any political opposition (except to a limited degree after 1990), creating a cult of personality, and basically controlling the whole government. For much of his reign, he basically only worked to enrich himself (over $5 billion in Swiss bank accounts) and his family & friends. With economic collapse/deflation, corruption became the only way the local governments functioned. My personal favorite is ordering all Congolese to drop their European names and adopt African ones, renaming himself from Joseph Mobuto to Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga ("The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake.")
  • In 1996 rebel leader Laurent Kabila rolled into Kinshasa, suspending the constitution, declaring himself president, and never ever stood in elections between 1996 & his assassination in 2001. Not a whole lot better
  • His son Joseph Kabila then became president. Peace agreements to end the civil war allowed him to remain president (albeit shared power with 4 "vice presidents" from opposition), but carried the framework of a transition to a multi-party government & Kabila was elected president in 2006 in the first multi-party election since one in 1960 upon independence (international community donated $460 million to carry out & monitor it and UN & EU peacekeepers prevented violence/intimidation at polls). Kabila was re-elected in Nov. 2011.

So not really a free democracy to the Western extent, but not a dictatorship or even an authoritarian regime either. AHeneen 21:13, 25 June 2012 (EDT)

Warningbox[edit]

The warningbox at top is packed with useful information, but I think aesthetic concerns might suggest moving the bulk of that information to the Stay safe section, with a prominent section link from the warningbox. --Peter Talk 14:00, 25 July 2012 (EDT)

Done & I think the length is ok, but still a bit long. AHeneen 01:13, 27 July 2012 (EDT)

Taxi Drivers[edit]

Is it true that Taxi Drivers will even come with you to shops if you get out of a taxi? If so, is there any proof?

Sereniama (talk) 00:11, 3 June 2013 (EDT)

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