Strides have been made in securing peace and security for the DRC, writes Yav Katshung Joseph ahead of crucial July 30 elections, the first in 40 years. But threats remain to the electoral process from vested interested and rogue militia. Violence and conflict have plagued the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since its independence from Belgium in 1960. Forty-six years later, could we attempt to say that violence and conflict are no longer the normal state of affairs in the DRC? The DRC has travelled a long and difficult way. It has faced thirty-two years of authoritarian regime with Mobutu, followed by the 1996-1997 war led by Kabila and then the 1998-2003 war, with its international and regional aspects.