Parcours administratifs dans un État en faillite

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Si le gouvernement congolais n'assume plus toutes ses responsabilités, il n'en demeure pas moins une force incontournable du paysage social, économique, politique et administratif. Pourquoi ? Qui sont ses agents ? La raison d'être de l'État congolais se limite-t-elle tout simplement à la prédation ?
En présentant les aventures et les mésaventures administratives des Lushois sous forme de récits, ce livre veut permettre à tous les Lushois, sans distinction, de se faire entendre.
Publié le : dimanche 1 juillet 2007
Lecture(s) : 79
EAN13 : 9782336282398
Nombre de pages : 161
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CAHIERS AFRICAINS
AFRIKA STUDIES
n° 74
2007Parcoursadministratifs
dansunÉtatenfaillite
RécitsdeLubumbashi(RDC)
Theodore Trefon
aveclacollaborationdeBalthazarNgoy
n° 74
2007
Éditions L’Harmattan
5-7, rue de l’École-Polytechnique
75005 ParisLes auteurs
TheodoreTrefon (Ph.D.de l’universitédeBoston) seconsacre auCongodepuis plus
de vingt ans en tant que chercheur, coordinateur de projets et consultant. Il travaille
dans les domaines des sciences politiques, de l’anthropologie urbaine et de
l’environnement et dirige la Section d’Histoire du temps présent du Musée royal de
l’Afrique centrale (Tervuren, Belgique). Professeur visiteur à la Katholieke
Universiteit Leuven (Belgique) et à l’ERAIFT/université de Kinshasa, il a dirigé
l’ouvrage Ordre et désordre à Kinshasa : réponses populaires à la faillite de l’État
(L’Harmattan/MRAC, 2004).
Balthazar Ngoyest chef de travaux au département des sciences politiques et
administrativesde l’universitédeLubumbashi.
CAHIERS AFRICAINS–AFRIKA STUDIES
Musée royalde l’Afriquecentrale (MRAC)
KoninklijkMuseum voorMidden-Afrika (KMMA)
Sectiond’Histoiredu temps présent
(anciennementInstitutafricain/CEDAF)
AfdelingEigentijdseGeschiedenis
(voorheenAfrikaInstituut-ASDOC)
Secrétairede rédaction:EdwineSimons
Leuvensesteenweg 13, 3080Tervuren
Tél.: 32 2 686 02 75Fax: 32 2 686 02 76
E-mail:africa.institute@africamuseum.be
Site: http://www.africamuseum.be/research/dept4/research/dept4/africainstitute/index_html
Conditionsde vente: http://www.africamuseum.be/publications ; publications@africamuseum.be
Couverture :Conception graphique:SonyVanHoecke
Illustration:CélinePialot
Photographies:Th.Trefon
Les activités de la Section d’Histoire du temps présent (anciennement Institut africain/CEDAF) sont
financées par leSPPPolitique scientifiqueet par laCoopérationbelgeaudéveloppement.
Les Cahiers africains sont publiés avec l’aide financière du Fonds de la recherche scientifique-FNRS de
Belgique.
Ce Cahiera reçu unappui financierde laVrijeUniversiteitBrussel.
©Musée royalde l’AfriquecentraleetL’Harmattan, 2007.Sommaire
Remerciements................................................................................................ 7
EnglishSummary..........................................................................................11
Introduction : le pourquoi de l’administration dans unÉtat
en faillite ........................................................................................................21
Moribond mais pas mort.............................................................................21
Pourquoi l’administration persiste-t-elle?.................................................23
L’ambiguïtéde l’administration publique..................................................29
Un personnel non motivé............................................................................34
La négociation:constantedans les relations usagers-services publics......38
Cadrede l’étudeet méthodologie...............................................................42
Transporteur de charbon de bois : un métier condamné..........................47
Noircomme uncharbonnier.......................................................................47
L’épopée makalade monsieurMutunda....................................................48
Amis ruraux -agents urbains......................................................................50
Ne pas répondre insolemment…................................................................51
Un métier mangeurde forêt........................................................................53
La boulangerieCosta et les agents de l’État : un gagne-pain
pour tous........................................................................................................55
Grèce-Katanga............................................................................................55
Un pain lushois...........................................................................................56
«Déshabillez-vouset marchez nuaussi… »:Costaet les services
publics........................................................................................................58
Quelques pains pour lesenfants….............................................................61
Les tribulations administratives d’un marchand de matériel
de construction..............................................................................................63
Mufata: importateuret vendeur par vocation............................................63
Pourquoiautantde services?.....................................................................65
On ne mange pas les grosses légumes........................................................72
Les déboires administratifs d’untaximan...................................................75
Le Dubaï.....................................................................................................75
Le kamikaze................................................................................................76
«Je mangeraides papiers ?».78
Le harcèlement sur les itinéraires...............................................................796 Theodore Trefon
Les paradoxes.............................................................................................80
Une retraite àLubumbashi : repos ou antichambre de la mort?............85
MzeeFerdinandMunguna..........................................................................86
Ferdinand l’orphelin...................................................................................87
Retraiteet services publics: incertitudeetdésespoir.................................88
«Mesdocuments…c’est ma vie».............................................................92
Lenganda lushois : un lieu d’urbanité par excellence...............................95
«Je pratique lacourtoisie…»....................................................................95
Unebièreet quelquesbillets.......................................................................99
L’ententecordiale.....................................................................................101
En attendant le prince charmant au marché de laKenya.......................103
«Finie la nuit…».....................................................................................103
Activités ménagèresetdébrouillardise.....................................................104
Ménagère-vendeuseet services publics....................................................106
Le petitcommerceau marché: uncontexteadministratifdifficile..........110
Papiers, palabreetconsolation.................................................................112
Rendez àCésar… : la double vie d’un pasteur........................................113
Alleluia!Amen!......................................................................................113
PasteurTamboet l’AssembléechrétienneenAfrique .............................114
Œuvre spirituelle ou moyende vivre?.....................................................115
Servirdeux maîtres...................................................................................117
Conclusion: uncontrepoidsde l’État.......................................................119
La banque de la rue : le cambisme lushois...............................................121
Labanqueroutede labanque....................................................................121
«Lechauve »............................................................................................123
Aspectadministratif: lechienaboie…...................................................126
Un phénomène incontournable.................................................................128
City-Cyber : la maison de l’Internet.........................................................131
nom@yahoo.fr..........................................................................................131
WillyDibaen incertitude.........................................................................132
Le virtuelà l’épreuvedesdémarches.......................................................134
«Miel sur ledos»....................................................................................137
Bibliographie...............................................................................................139
Annexes........................................................................................................143REMERCIEMENTS
De nombreuses personnes et institutions ont rendu possible la publication
dece livre.Je tiensà leuradresser mes plus vifs remerciements.Ceux-ci vont,
en premier lieu, à mon collaborateur, Balthazar Ngoy, chef de travaux à
l’université de Lubumbashi, pour son engagement et sa persévérance. Nous
avons travaillé ensemble pendant près de trois ans sur ce projet commun,
d’abord dans la capitale katangaise, puis brièvement au Musée royal de
l’Afrique centrale de Tervuren (MRAC) et, ensuite surtout via Internet. Sa
contribution a consisté, notamment, en la collecte des informations et en
l’encadrementdesenquêteurs.
Les entretiens ayant permis la rédaction des récits portant sur l’expérience
administrative proposés dans cet ouvrage ont été menés essentiellement par
des étudiants finalistes du département des sciences politiques et
administratives de l’université de Lubumbashi: Van Cromphaut Kasongo
Kyungu (récit du pasteur Tambo Mayombo), Sylvie Nkulu (récit de la
vendeuse-ménagère, Marie Kabedi), Matthieu Kayembe (récit de M. Makala
Mutunda), David Kyoni (récit du retraité, Ferdinand Munguna), Balthazar
Ngoy (récits du taximan, Erick Kalenga, et du quincaillier «René Mufata »
[la seule personne parmi nos sujets ayant exprimé le souhait de se faire
identifier par un pseudonyme]), Betty Betu (récit des boulangers, Irène et
Constantin Tselentis), Pierre Walinwa (récit de la tenancière du nganda,
Florence Makaya), Didy Kafata Nduwa (récit de Willy Diba, le gérant d’un
cybercafé)etenfin,EmmanuelMonga (récitducambiste,GilbertMukandila).
Qu’il me soit permis d’exprimer ici ma chaleureuse gratitude à toutes ces
personnes –enquêteurscommeenquêtés.
Précisons d’emblée que les enquêteurs ont récolté les informations sur
base d’un questionnaire. Celles-ci ont constitué la matière brute à partir de
laquelle ont été façonnés les récits, qui furent ensuite analysés, structurés et
annotés par moi-même avec l’aide de Balthazar Ngoy. La précision est utile
car elle explique la légère diversité de style qui existe entre les récits. (Notre
démarche est explicitée davantage dans la partie « méthodologie » de
l’introduction.)
La Vrije Universiteit Brussel a fourni un support financier généreux sous
la forme de salaires, de frais de mission et de frais de fonctionnement dans le
cadre du projet « Networks of Governance in a Failed State ». Ainsi, les
collèguesdece projet,MarcDespontin,ErikFranck,JanGorus,StefaanSmis
et Saskia Van Hoyweghen, ont tous soutenu sa réalisation. Cette recherche a
également été facilitée par le projet «Gestion participative en Afrique
centrale » (GEPAC), financé par l’Union européenne. Le dénominateur
commun entre ces deux projets était la gouvernance et l’analyse des relations
société-État.8 Theodore Trefon
Les discussions avec le professeur Mutambwe Shango de
l’ERAIFT/université de Kinshasa sur le contexte sociopolitique congolais
m’onténormémentappris –et fasciné.Ceséchanges m’ontaidéà formuler les
idéesavancéesdansce livre.
Au fur et à mesure que le manuscrit prenait corps, de nombreux amis et
collègues ont émis des critiques constructives sur son fond et sur sa forme. Il
s’agit de Paul Kyungu et de Ngoie Tshibambe, de l’université de
Lubumbashi ; de Francis Lelo Nzuzi, de l’université de Kinshasa ; d’Erik
Kennes et de Jean Omasombo, de la Section d’Histoire du temps présent du
Musée royalde l’Afriquecentrale ;deBenjaminRubbers,de l’université libre
de Bruxelles (ULB) et de Dan Kaminski, de l’université catholique de
Louvain. La contribution de Violaine Sizaire (projet GEPAC) à l’écriture
d’une version intermédiaire des récits m’a été par ailleurs très précieuse. De
même, la lecture méticuleuse de l’introduction par Pierre Petit, de l’ULB, et
nos discussions sur l’imbrication entre le formel et l’informel dans le registre
administratif, ontconsidérablementcontribuéà sonamélioration.
Alors que j’entamais la «dernière ligne droite » de la rédaction, j’ai eu le
privilège de pouvoir présenter cette recherche, d’abord au Crisis States
Research Centre de la London School of Economics (LSE), lors d’un
séminaire individuel, en décembre 2006, et ensuite, un mois plus tard, à
Copenhague, lors de la conférence « Confrontation and Conviviality:
Negotiating World Views, Spiritualities and Everyday Lives in Colonial and
Postcolonial Congo ». Je suis infiniment reconnaissant à James Putzel et à Jo
Beall de LSE, ainsi qu’à Michael Barrett, du musée d’ethnographie de
Stockholm, et à Koen Vlassenroot, de l’université de Gand et de l’Institut
royal des relations internationales, qui m’ont invités à Copenhague car les
débats et les échanges qui en ont découlé m’ont permis ultérieurement de
mieux expliciter certains points théoriques de l’introduction. Il en fut de
mêmedeséchangesavecPierreEngelbert.
Quatre collègues ont lu et scruté minutieusement le manuscrit dans sa
phase quasi finale.À leur tour, ils ont apporté une série de suggestions et de
précisions qui m’ont permis d’achever le travail. Edouard Bustin, de
l’universitédeBoston (qui, parailleurs, m’encouragedans mes recherches sur
le Congo depuis vingt-cinq ans), Gauthier de Villers (mon prédécesseur à la
Section d’Histoire du temps présent du MRAC), Bogumil Jewsiewicki, de
l’université Laval et Johan Pottier, de la School of Oriental and African
Studies (SOAS) ont ainsi contribué à améliorer la qualité du travail, grâce à
leur expérience scientifiqueet à leur rigueur. Queces personnes, si respectées
pour leurexpertise sur leCongo,aientacceptéd’êtreassociéesàces pagesest
pour moi un honneur particulier.
La finalisation du présent livre a été confiée aux bons soins d’Edwine
Simons de la Section d’Histoire du temps présent du MRAC, qui assure,
depuis plus de quinze ans, le travail d’édition de tous les ouvrages de laRemerciements 9
collection des «Cahiers africains ». Sa connaissance fine du contexte
congolais, son dévouement et son sens du professionnalisme éditorial
constituent des atouts précieux pour la collection et pour notre section. Je la
remercie pleinement pour sonengagementet sonamitié.
Il me revientenfinde saluer le travail graphiquedeSonyVanHoecke pour
la réalisation de la couverture et de remercier Isabelle Gérard du service des
Publications du MRAC pour avoir facilité l’ensemble des démarches
associéesà la productiondu présent ouvrage.
TheodoreTrefon
Tervuren,avril 2007ENGLISH SUMMARY
Key words
Democratic Republic of Congo, Lubumbashi, urban sociology, failed states,
populardiscourse.
Book objective
Failed states do not respond to the basic needs of populations. The
Democratic Republic of Congo, a paradigmatic failed state, is no exception.
International institutions, NGOs, private sector operators and most
importantly, the people themselves, are replacing the state by addressing the
most urgent priorities. Despite overwhelming problems, the state
paradoxically remains a powerful and unavoidable force throughout the
country. It plays fundamental social, economic, political and administrative
roles.
But why is the state still there, so powerful and omnipresent in the daily
lives of these people victimized by colonial oppression, dictatorship,
economic underdevelopment and the recent troubled political transition? How
can this paradoxical presence be explained and how does the state manifest
itself?Whoare itsactorsandagents?Does the raison d’être of theCongolese
state go beyond the violence of exploitation and predation? The objective of
thisbook is to respond to these questions.
Hypothesis
Analysis of people’s relations with state agents is socially and politically
pertinentbecause itcan help us understand the functionanddysfunction of the
Congolese state, notably in the post-Mobutu transition period.
Research setting
Lubumbashi, with its 1.2 million inhabitants, is the second most important
Congolese city after Kinshasa in terms of infrastructure, administration,
employment, investment, servicesand image.The socio-economic situation in
Lubumbashi is catastrophic. Economic decline was a gradual but inevitable
process resulting from Mobutu’s mismanagement of the mining sector in this
city previously namedElizabethville. The 1990 collapse of the Kamoto mine
in Kolwezi was a milestone for the former copper capital. According to
popular discourse “we became orphans when theGécamines went bankrupt”.
Lubumbashi has proven to be conducive to this analysis for two major
reasons. One, it is a largeAfrican city in a phase of multiform transition that
makes it an extremely rich laboratory to analyze social change. In this former12 Theodore Trefon
paradigm of colonial paternalism, petty traders, civil society actors, formal
sector workers, entrepreneurs and people from other socio-professional
horizons all have interesting administrative experiences. Two, considerable
social science research has been carried out in Lubumbashi over the past
decade. This work has provided us with a critical mass of knowledge,
enhancing thecomprehension of our owncomplex research questions.
Political background
“InCongo today, the state doesn’t do anything for the people. Roads are a
mess.Teacherscan’t live with their pay.Proper healthcare is reserved for the
upper class. Public transport is a nightmare… Things were much better
before… Instead of the state taking care of the people, the people take care of
civil servantsanddo the state’s work.”
This account, which combines nostalgia and legitimate complaints,
summarizes the perception that many ordinary Congolese have of the state.
“The state is dying but not yet dead” is also a commonly heard leitmotiv.
These popular sentiments, inexorably expressed in all of the country’s
languages and dialects, in towns and villages, by the poor and the well-to-do,
have been characterized by development experts and political scientists as
state failure. This ostensibly bleak situation is explained by the failure of the
post-colonial system hastily fabricated byBelgium - a situation not dissimilar
to the broader fiasco resulting from the inappropriate exportation of nation-
state models throughout Africa. It is also explained by mismanagement and
corruption, Cold War politics and by the “paradox of plenty” or “resource
curse” paradigms.
Analysis of Congolese public administrations, and more specifically the
relations between people and public services, is the subject of this book.
Throughout Africa’s second largest country, workers, students, the
unemployed, people from the formalor informal sectors, housewives and
street vendors are all condemned to deal with, in one way or another, the
hungry representatives of public administrations. Escaping them is
impossible.Avoidinga tax,be it official or invented on the spot, isadaunting
challenge for some and a routine exercise for others. While most people do
whatever theycan to outwit the stateagent in front of them, the later rely ona
host of tactics and strategies to have the final word. As arbitrariness reigns
supreme, the stateagent will often try toante up the fine, tax or fee.People try
to pay the smallest amount possible by avoiding situations of vulnerability.
Not having all of one’s papers in order, for example, can result in unexpected
consequences.Beyond monetary loss or gain, saving face is also an important
consideration. The presence of state agents and the institutionalization of
negotiation processes remind people of the stubborn persistence of the state.
Although the administrative machine is clearly more manifest in towns and
cities, rural populations (who represent approximately half of the CongoleseEnglish summary 13
population) are also within its reach. This volume consequently rejects the
frequently expressed idea of a non-existent state. Socio-economically and
politically pertinent, this analysis can improve our understanding of the
functionanddysfunction of theCongolese state.
State crisis in Congo is characterized by loss of legitimacy, abdication
from the development agenda, incapacity to maintain the monopolyof
coercion, shortcomings in the management of politicaland technical priorities
and the inability to mobilize, generate or manage internal and external
financial resources.Despite these overwhelming problems, theCongoendures
asanadministrative space –a space in which stateagentsandcitizens seem to
have reached a complex but workable form of accommodation. During the
long reign of President Mobutu, ordinary Zaireans learned how to deal with
the MRP (Mouvement populaire de la révolution) administrative machine.
Despite its brutality and corrupt practices at all levels, there was a certain
degree of predictability: a person in need of a favour, an exoneration, a
service, a document or information generally knew what he had to do, how
much itcouldcostand how long it might take.
Things changed, at least temporarily, when President Laurent-Désiré
Kabilacame to power.Although most high levelMRPelites were replacedby
Kabila’s AFDL (Alliance des forces démocratiques pour la libération du
Congo) comrades-in-arms, most lower-level administrative agents maintained
their positions.As no one really knew which way the political winds were apt
to blow, both agents and citizens remained careful with respect to their
administrative behavior. State agents refrained from indulging in the former
Mobutu-style practices fora few months, resulting inacertain respect of rules
and regulations. It did not take long, however, to adapt to the new political
context by inventing new strategies of manipulation. Shortly into the
presidency of Laurent-Désiré Kabila, the situation became “normal” and
negotiation once again became the administrative bond between state and
society. “Flexibility” (être souple) and “accepting the day’s exchange rate”
(s’incliner au taux du jour) were common expressions during the transition
period. Theytranslate the need to adapt to the period’s conditions, constraints
and opportunities.
Why the administration persists
Even though state crisis certainly handicaps the modus operandi of
administrative services, it has hardly made them disappear. They still clearly
have a raison d’être throughout the society for leaders and citizens. State
crisis has, however, significantly transformed their original mandates. The
administration is a powerful machine that contributes to the perpetuation and
reproduction of the state as a sovereign political and territorial entity.
Although a recent World Bank report on governance in DRC mentions “the
administration’s endurance and a few pockets of functionality”, it also argues14 Theodore Trefon
that theadministration “seems to haveabandoned its original objectives”.Ina
study devoted specifically to the endurance of the state (and Congolese
nationalism), despite all the indicators that seem to indicate total state
collapse, Pierre Englebert highlights the Congo state’s “stunning propensity
for resilience”. This characterization is borrowed here to account for the
resiliency of theCongoleseadministration.
Exploitation of the people is the dominant explanation accounting for the
persistence of the Congolese state in general and the administration in
particular.A more subtle argument that contrasts normative concepts of good
governance and actual practices of governance is put forward by Giorgio
Blundo: “Participation, decentralization and administrative transparency need
to be interpreted as being particular governmental technologies endowed with
their own political rationalities and ‘governementalities’”. A further
explanation is expressed by Dominique Darbon: “the relationship between
service providers and service users is based on incertitude and discrimination,
resulting in a culture of fear, evasion and periodic predation when the
opportunityarises”.
Our research on the Congolese administration has allowed us to identify
three reasons that account for its persistence. Each reason nuances the above
interpretations without rejecting or contradicting them. First, the
administration in Congo is instrumentalized by the state’s political elites.
They exploit the administration in the same way they exploit mafia-type
networks for political survival and personal enrichment. Even though they
abuse and manipulate these networks, they are at the same time dependent on
them. The administrative machine in place today in Congo is a tenacious
colonial legacy, along the same lines as the reproduced colonial state itself:
and state and administration are intimately linked. Despite the flagrant
contradictions and internecine haggling that characterise their symbiosis, one
could not exist without the other. More than twenty years ago Aloko Gbodu
Ombeng observed this situation in his study of lower-level Zairean civil
servants in which he described the “phenomenon of fusion and confusion
between state and administrative bodies”. Instrumentalization is a dynamic
and constant process, notably in strategic areas. The state manifests itself via
the administration, for example, for security purposes, which is one of its
basic sovereign prerogatives. The branches involved in the protection of
territory and population – but especially elites – are the army, the police, the
intelligence services (Agence nationale de renseignements -ANR) and border
control (Direction générale des migrations -DGM).Although theMinistry of
Defense and the Ministry of the Interior theoretically control these services,
important decisions emanate directly from President Joseph Kabila and his
advisors. The administration is instrumentalized, in this context, to reinforce
and stabilize political elites. This can also be interpreted as being the
deliberate production of “clever power” opposed to the production of “weak
power”. This refers to the advantages that political elites derive fromEnglish summary 15
ostensibly unmanageable political situations that theyin fact help produceand
perpetuate.
Another strategic area where the state still wields considerable control is
the financial realm.Internally, priority is given to services that generate public
revenues suchas the Direction générale des impôts, the Office des douanes et
accises (OFIDA), the Direction générale de recettes administratives,
domaniales et judiciaires (DGRAD) and the Office congolais de contrôle
(OCC). The high-level officials that manage these services are not selected
haphazardly: appointments are decided upon at the top of the political
pyramid and respect clearly defined paternalistic logic and patron-client
patterns. At the external financial level, the state manifests itself via the
administration in the framework of development cooperation by channeling
funds coming from the international community. Even though these
institutions rely on a corps of international experts and consultants, the
involvement ofCongolese civil servants is unavoidable for the identification,
definition and implementation of actions. In the context of the
internationalization – or re-colonization – of the Congo, the state maintains
some degree of control through this strategy. The role of Congolese civil
servants at all levels is also crucial for the smooth implementation of
humanitarian operations or NGO initiatives in the areas of health, education
and infrastructure. Without their support, the success of these actions would
be seriously handicapped or even sabotaged if an official, however petty, is
not sufficiently motivated todeal witha file or haveadocument signedby his
supervisor.
The personal survival of its staff is another reason that can account for the
persistence of the administration. Civil servants and other state agents have
“privatized” what is officially public service provision. This transformation is
conditioned by the ways these agents cleverly exploit the advantages
associated with their status and their positions of authority. They constantly
invent new tricks, arguments and schemes that could be qualified as “social
cannibalism”: society is its own self-consuming prey. Relations between civil
servants (the workers) and the administrative services (the structure) are
embedded inacomplexand interdependent framework.Without the structure,
agents have no raison d’être. Without staff, these services would cease to
function. The survival of agents thus depends on the perpetuation of the
administrative structure. Agents consequently need to justify the importance
of their work – and themselves – by rendering services (many of which are
seemingly insignificant) and issuing authorizations, certificates, testimonials
and by wielding the stamps and seals of their services. The real and imagined
value of these symbols is an important but often underestimated political
reality.In this senseadministrative procedurescontribute to identity formation
in Congo today: without these symbols, one can easily cease to exist in the
eyes of the administration. The narratives that follow validate the importance
which service users attach to this unavoidable administrative reality. This16 Theodore Trefon
situation, moreover, helps clarify many of the negative stereotypes so often
expressed about the Congo. Authorities have succeeded in maintaining the
value of these symbols. They manipulate – sometimes with finesse,
sometimes with brutality– discourses on the power of symbols and the
symbols of power. A retired worker from Lubumbashi, Tata Ferdinand,
explains in one of the following narratives, “documents pertaining to my
meagre pension are my life”. For civil servants, the administration – and of
course its peripheral economic buffer zone – is not something to be taken
lightly. For them and their families the administration and the state is not an
“empty shell”but indeeda vital reality.
Finally, persistence of the state can also be explained by the volume and
thediversity of services soughtby the population.This pertains mainly to real
services, but ones that are not addressed in conventional ways. Certain
services require specificadministrative or technicalactions that the statealone
is able to satisfy. Given their necessity, people reinforce the state in these
areas, helping it to reproduce itself. To avoid public schools closing their
doors, for example, parents participate in “motivating” teachers bypaying
them bonuses that supplement the salaries they receive from the state. (The
monthly state salary for a teacher is approximately $30.) These teachers are
part of the administration that recruits themand awards diplomas.Despite the
crisis of the public school system in Congo, having at least one high school
graduate in the family in possession of a state diploma (le diplôme d’État)
continues to be an ambition for Congolese parents. Another such example is
given by Mrs. Kabedi, homemaker and market women, in her narrative.
Instead of simply contacting the national electricity provider (Société
nationale d’électricité -SNEL) and expecting them to connect her house with
power, she explains how the neighbourhood formed an association, collected
money, bought the electric cables and other material and eventually
negotiated with the SNEL workers and paid them for the technical and
administrative work they eventually performed. This is a typical example of
new forms of state-society relations in theDRC: an ephemeral neighborhood
association collaborated directly with a national agency to obtain a concrete
result. The population benefits because they get electricity at home (except of
course during the frequent blackout periods) and the SNEL agents benefit
because they receive cash for their expertise instead of depending on
inadequate and randomly paid state salaries. This type of semi-public, semi-
private hybrid solution is characteristic of relations between people and the
state in manyareas of public life in theCongo.
Public administrations in most countries are subordinate to the state.
Political authorities define policies that are implemented by the
administration. Even in developed democracies, this relationship is often put
to the test. In Congo, it is pure fiction. Administrative personnel in Congo
define their own strategies without necessarily taking into account political
injunctions. Strategies have replaced policy. Administrative personnel have

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