President Yoweri Museveni’s growing authoritarianism and the country’s weak institutions are multiplying Uganda’s challenges. Conflict risks at the local level are rising due to uncertain political succession, economic stagnation, a youth bulge and an influx of refugees from South Sudan. The state’s repression of political opposition and its increasing reliance on security responses to political problems is fostering discontent in politically and economically marginalised communities. Through field research in Kampala and conflict-affected areas, Crisis Group works to reduce the likelihood of local tensions escalating into violence. We indicate how Ugandan policymakers can embark on a process of democratic transition in order to reduce the risk of discontent turning into political instability, protest and violence.
Ethiopia’s federal and Tigray regional governments are finally gearing up for direct negotiations. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert William Davison discusses why the feuding parties are edging toward peace and what the main obstacles are to achieving it.
Govt deployed troops to DR Congo as part of East African regional force amid mounting allegations that Kampala supports M23 rebels; series of attacks targeted security infrastructure.
Spate of attacks targeted security installations. After gunmen 31 Oct shot two police officers dead in raid on Busiika police station in central Luwero district, unidentified assailants 14 Nov raided Kyanja police post in suburb of capital Kampala, reportedly leaving no casualties. Attackers 17 Nov also raided Gaddafi barracks in eastern Jinja district, killing one soldier, while police 23 Nov reportedly foiled attack on Nakulabye police station in Kampala. Deputy inspector general of police accused rebel group Uganda Coalition Front for Change of responsibility for 31 Oct attack.
Army moved against President Museveni’s former allies. Military 8 Nov arrested ten people, including relatives of former minister Maj. Abdul Nadduli, in Nakaseke district, reportedly over gun that went missing at burial of Nadduli’s son in late Oct; Maj. Nadduli late Sept had voiced criticism of Museveni’s alleged plan to have his own son, Lt-Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, succeed him. Security forces 8-9 Nov also deployed at farm of senior presidential adviser, retired Maj. Roland Kakooza Mutale, in Luwero district, accusing him of giving illegal military training to group of over 100 youths.
Govt faced growing accusations of supporting M23 rebels in DR Congo’s east. Congolese parliamentarians 1 Nov and civil society activists next day accused Uganda of supporting M23 and urged Congolese President Tshisekedi to severe ties with Kampala. Adding to concerns, Museveni’s son Kainerugaba 6 Nov publicly endorsed M23 rebels “fighting for the rights of Tutsi” in eastern DR Congo and issued veiled threat against anyone combating “those brothers of ours”. UN Security Council delegation 18 Nov met with Museveni in Kampala and reportedly asked him to clarify Uganda’s ties with M23. Kampala 21 Nov announced imminent deployment of 1,000 troops to eastern DR Congo as part of East African Community force battling armed groups there.
Fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is intensifying, with Ugandan and Burundian soldiers in pursuit of rebels and Congolese insurgents on the rebound. With help from its allies, Kinshasa should step up diplomacy lest the country become a regional battleground once more.
This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood talks to Great Lakes expert Nelleke van de Walle about the escalation of violence in the eastern DR Congo, as Uganda and Burundi deploy troops to fight rebels in the area and Rwanda threatens to do the same.
The Islamic State has claimed two suicide bombings in the Ugandan capital Kampala. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Dino Mahtani unpacks what happened and assesses the threat of further such attacks in East Africa.
This week on The Horn, Africa editor at Nation Media Group Daniel Kalinaki joins Alan Boswell for a deep dive into what Uganda’s latest elections revealed about President Museveni’s hold on power and the likelihood of future instability.
Official results indicate that President Yoweri Museveni will extend his 35-year rule in Uganda. But the contested election, marred by fraud claims, illustrated many citizens’ frustration with his administration. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Murithi Mutiga explains why the path ahead will be rocky.
President Tshisekedi’s plans for joint operations with DR Congo’s belligerent eastern neighbours against its rebels risks regional proxy warfare. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2020 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to encourage diplomatic efforts in the region and Tshisekedi to shelve his plan for the joint operations.
Three Great Lakes states – Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda – are trading charges of subversion, each accusing another of sponsoring rebels based in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Outside powers should help the Congolese president resolve these tensions, lest a lethal multi-sided melee ensue.
Economically and politically, Uganda's government’s actions are leading to growing frustrations and lawlessness.
Growing discontent threatens the dysfunctional and corrupt political system built by President Museveni, who is now manoeuvering to extend his three decades in power by raising a 75-year age limit on presidential candidates. As security, governance and economic performance deteriorates, Uganda needs urgent reforms to avoid greater instability.
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