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

President Museveni’s son lashed out at ruling party amid growing internal rift over Museveni’s succession; army repelled ADF incursion from DR Congo; and authorities rejected UN allegations that Uganda served as rear base for M23 rebels.

Museveni’s son criticised ruling party, repression of opposition continued. In series of tweets, Museveni’s son Lt-Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba 2-3 Dec attacked his father’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, saying it “does not represent the people of Uganda”; 5 Dec condemned “those signing declaration against [us] in NRM”, possibly referring to recent calls for Museveni to run in 2026 election. In response, NRM Sec Gen Richard Todwong 14 Dec urged Kainerugaba to “respect” and stop “insulting” party. Parliament’s Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa same day criticised party’s old guard, saying NRM elders should not underestimate younger counterparts’ capacity to run state affairs. Security forces 30 Dec reportedly fired tear gas and arrested at least 30 people at rally of opposition leader Bobi Wine in capital Kampala.

ADF rebels raided villages close to DR Congo, attacks on security targets continued. Militants of Uganda-born, Islamic State-affiliated Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 13 Dec crossed border from DR Congo into western Ntoroko district and opened fire at civilians, killing two; army engaged assailants, reportedly leaving 17 killed and capturing 13 others. Meanwhile, attacks on security installations continued. Notably, unidentified gunmen 9 Dec raided Kyabadaza police station in central Butambala district, killing two civilians.

Kampala rejected UN allegations about M23 using Ugandan territory as rear base. In report to UN Security Council, UN experts 16 Dec alleged M23 rebel group wreaking havoc in eastern DRC since March 2022 has been able to recruit in Uganda and move through Ugandan territory unhindered; also noted that Kampala denied knowledge of M23 presence on its soil, said it would “not condone any of Uganda’s territory [being] used to destabilise any country”.

In other important developments. UK 9 Dec sanctioned former Police Chief Gen. Edward Kale Kayihura over alleged police abuses under his leadership between 2005 and 2018, adding to U.S. sanctions imposed on Kayihura in 2019.

Continue reading

Latest Updates

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.