Katanga province is one of the most violent yet neglected regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Most of its problems are the same as those that are systemic in the rest of the country but it needs urgent attention because it is both the heartland of national politics and the nation’s most mineral-rich province, a potential economic dynamo whose mines once produced 50 per cent to 80 per cent of the national budget. If the March 2006 elections are to be peaceful and have a chance to produce a stable, legitimate government, both foreign and domestic actors need to pay particular heed to the key province while doing more and doing it immediately to integrate the army, eliminate parallel chains of command and eradicate corruption. Waiting for the elections to put a new government in place before moving on those issues, as present international strategy implies, has it the wrong way around.