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.
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.
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.