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Mvemba Dizolele

Adjunct Lecturer


Mvemba Phezo Dizolele is a senior fellow and the director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Prior to CSIS, he was the Africa senior adviser at the International Republican Institute. Previously, he served as the course coordinator for central and southern Africa at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute. He was also a Peter J. Duignan distinguished visiting fellow and a national fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Dizolele has testified for both chambers of the U.S. Congress, as well as at the UN Security Council. He has served as an international election monitor and delegate in several countries, including Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he was also embedded with UN peacekeepers in Ituri and South Kivu as a reporter.

Dizolele’s analyses have been published in the Journal of DemocracyNew York TimesNewsweek InternationalInternational Herald TribuneForeign PolicyForeign AffairsNew RepublicForbesSt. Louis Post-Dispatch, and other outlets. A frequent commentator on African affairs, he has been a guest analyst on PBS’s NewsHour and Foreign Exchange; NPR's Tell Me More, On Point, and the Diane Rehm Show; BBC’s World News Update; and Al Jazeera’s The Stream, NewsHour, and Inside Story. Dizolele holds an international MBA and an MPP from the University of Chicago. He is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and is fluent in French, Norwegian, Spanish, Swahili, Kikongo, and Lingala and proficient in Danish and Swedish. He is the author of the forthcoming biography, Mobutu: The Rise and Fall of the Leopard King (Random House).
Congo’s Election is a Farce, The Washington Post, December 29, 2018

Waiting for Democracy in Congo, Foreign Affairs, August 17, 2018

What Mobutu Did Right, Democracy Lab, Foreign Policy, May 9, 2014

Congo is too Big to Fail, Foreign Policy, September 3, 2013

Back to Africa, Foreign Policy, November 5, 2012

The DRC’s Crumbling Democracy, Journal of Democracy, July 2012

A Crisis in the Congo, Foreign Policy, December 14, 2011

Joseph Kabila and Where the Election in Congo Went Wrong, Foreign Affairs, November 28, 2011

Battle After Ballot: Ivory Coast’s Bloody Presidential Standoff, Newsweek International, April 10, 2011

It’s Time to Hold Rwanda Accountable for Its War Crimes, The New Republic, and October 5, 2010

The Mirage of Democracy in DRC, Journal of Democracy, July 2010

Bush’s Quiet Successes, Hoover Digest, Stanford University, Winter 2009

Congo’s Conflict, Forbes, December 22, 2008

The Toll of Small Arms (with Rachel Stohl), The New York Times, September 5, 2006

How to End the Deadliest War in Africa, Hoover Digest, Stanford University, Summer 2006

Eye on Africa: Mali’s Democracy, United Press International, December 21, 2004

The UN in Congo: The Failure of a Peacekeeping Mission, The New York Times, May 10, 2004

Kabila Needs Real Help Now, The International Herald Tribune, November 12, 2003




  • Africa


  • Foreign Policy Analysis
  • Defense and Human Security
  • Democratization and Governance
  • Advocacy and Strategic Communication

In the News

The dark side of Rwanda’s rebirth.

Mvemba Dizolele wrote in Foreign Policy, 05/29

A key moment for DR Congo and Patrice Lumumba's family.

Mvemba Dizolele interviewed on BBC, 05/28

Elections in Africa.

Mvemba Dizolele testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations, 03/02

Power shift in Congo.

Mvemba Dizolele wrote in Foreign Affairs, 02/25

DRC grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic shock.

Mvemba Dizolele wrote for Center for Strategic and International Studies, 7/21