This study evaluates the state-initiated policies in post-1965 Zaire and their impact on the Zairean people. The author ascertains the overt and underlying relevancy of the priority that the state has accorded the agricultural and rural sector for socioeconomic development, and he examines the indicators provided by conventional agricultural and rural development theories. These indicators show that the sector has not received sufficient financial support and has lacked the political will to obtain the assigned goals. Thus, the author claims, the basic objective of the agricultural and rural policy has been political, not socioeconomic. The failure of the agricultural policy, the study suggests, is rooted in the nature and role of the state. In post-1965 Zaire, the state is a socialist political superstructure standing on a capitalist socioeconomic infrastructure. Both coexist with the traditional forms of production in the Zairean social structure. This incompatible juxtaposition of different systemic components engenders structural conflicts which work in favor of the few who hold key state offices. The study calls for the mastery of the state as the sine qua non without which Zaire will most likely remain in its present state of national and rural socioeconomic underdevelopment.