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

Opposition parties joined forces against President Museveni, and latter conducted several security sector changes. Cooperation agreement signed in July between ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) and opposition Democratic Party (DP), and subsequent appointment of DP leader Norbert Mao as justice minister, prompted backlash. Four opposition parties – National Unity Party, Forum for Democratic Change, Justice Forum and People’s Progressive Party – and pressure group People’s Front for Transition of four-time presidential candidate Kizza Besigye 1 Aug signed their own alliance, vowing to join forces in general elections set for 2026. Amid opposition to Mao-Museveni alliance from within DP, police 16 Aug arrested eight party members, including one MP, for allegedly storming party headquarters in capital Kampala. Meanwhile, in rare move, Museveni 4 Aug promoted over 770 senior police officers in possible acknowledgment of police forces’ key role in holding out against anti-govt protests; same day replaced commander of presidential guard after only seven months in office, along with other changes; and 18 Aug undertook major military reshuffle, including appointing senior officers into army’s reserve forces and foreign service. In Northern region, Adilang sub-county authorities 23 Aug said attacks by suspected Karimojong cattle rustlers in Agago district over past week killed three people and forced 200 families to flee. Following deadly shooting by UN peacekeeping troops at Uganda-DR Congo border post in late July, police early Aug announced deployment of standby force to border with DR Congo to monitor tensions. Ugandan and South Sudanese militaries 6-7 Aug signed agreement to share intelligence on South Sudan rebels alleged to be hiding in Uganda and Uganda rebels alleged to be operating in South Sudan.

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