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.

CrisisWatch Uganda

Unchanged Situation

Corruption scandals shook President Museveni’s cabinet; East African military chiefs reportedly directed Uganda to deploy troops to fight M23 in eastern DR Congo.

Museveni’s ministers faced corruption allegations. Parliament 31 Jan-17 Feb conducted investigation into allegations that Gender, Labour and Social Development Minister Betty Amongi misused $1.6mn from National Social Security Fund under her supervision. Authorities 11 Feb arrested three relatives of Karamoja Affairs Minister Maria Goretti Kitutu for allegedly selling govt-funded relief items destined for residents of north-eastern Karamoja region; Karamoja legislators 22 Feb started process to have Kitutu censured, while Parliament 27 Feb opened formal investigation into case.

Govt announced closing UN human rights office. Foreign ministry 3 Feb announced govt will not renew mandate of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights office in Uganda beyond its current term, effectively terminating body’s work, citing progress in domestic capacity to monitor rights compliance; human right activists and advocacy groups, notably Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, in following days denounced “mockery” and accused govt of running from international scrutiny.

Army allegedly set to fight M23 rebels in DR Congo’s east. At meeting in Kenya’s capital Nairobi 9 Feb, East African Community military chiefs reportedly agreed that Uganda (as well as Burundi and South Sudan) will deploy troops in North Kivu province to fight M23 rebels alongside Kenyan forces; Uganda did not officially confirm plan, which, if implemented, could exacerbate regional rivalries. Meanwhile, Ugandan army 18 Feb reportedly handed over to Congolese military 34 civilians rescued from Islamist militia Allied Democratic Forces captivity in eastern DR Congo (see DR Congo).

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