This book examines under which conditions chieftaincies can play a key role in the democratic and decentralization initiatives aiming at increasing Congolese state's legitimacy and efficiency. The author applies to the Congo Dele Olowu's analysis of the four dimensions of decentralization –political, economic, administrative and financial. He comes to questioning the decentralization rhetoric in the political leaders' discourse, in light of the legislation that has been actually applied from the colonial period until now. He shows the parallel between the colonial and the post-colonial administration by emphasizing the lack of a real will to decentralize. He mentions, however, some recent noticeable signs of decentralization, particularly in the new constitution of 2006 and laws. They include a constitutional recognition of legal status to the chieftaincies, a share in the national revenue, the elections of local assemblies and accountability of the executive to these assemblies. Those changes still need, of course, to mature both in their design and their implementation. This study explores some ways in which this improvement can be pursued.