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

Far-reaching iron sheets corruption case resulted in arrest of govt officials; military reported progress against armed groups in eastern DR Congo.

Iron sheets corruption case continued to engulf govt. Authorities 4-18 April detained and charged Karamoja affairs minister, Mary Goretti Kitutu, her deputy Agnes Nandutu, and finance minister, Amos Lugoloobi, for allegedly diverting iron sheets that were part of $10mn relief package originally intended for locals in Karamoja sub-region. President Museveni 3 April pledged to “take political action” against govt officials found guilty of “theft”.

Authorities cracked down on Kenyan herders, causing tension with Nairobi. Ugandan forces 8 April conducted raid against Kenyan nationals suspected to be holding guns in Moroto district; Kenya claimed seven killed while Uganda confirmed one death and six injuries. Additionally, Ugandan military court around 12 April sentenced 32 Kenyan herders to 20-year prison terms for illegally possessing firearms; pastoralists from Kenya’s Turkana county often cross to Uganda during dry spell in search of water and pasture. Turkana officials 13 April protested sentence, saying there was “no fairness and justice for our people”.

Ugandan forces reported gains against M23 and ADF in eastern DR Congo. Ugandan forces 10 April said they had recovered three towns vacated by M23 rebels in Rutshuru territory since 1,000-strong contingent of East African Community regional force late March deployed to North Kivu (see DR Congo). Meanwhile, Uganda’s Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, 6 April hailed achievements made by Uganda-DR Congo joint operations against Islamist militia Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in eastern DR Congo, saying “ADF is now scattered in smaller groups” and “can no longer come together”.

In other important developments. DR Congo nationals allegedly led by local chief from Ituri province’s Mahagi territory around 20 April entered Zombo district and claimed three Ugandan villages; Zombo and Mahadi officials in following days held talks, agreed to respect border demarcations.

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