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.
CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world.
The rerun of Kenya’s presidential elections scheduled on 26 October risks escalating a political crisis, as the main opposition leader has withdrawn and the risk of violence is high. The election commission should seek from the Supreme Court a 30-45 day delay to the vote. Kenya’s political leaders should support such an extension and commit to participate.
The 14 October 2017 twin bombings in Mogadishu mark the deadliest attack in Somalia since 2007. As Somalis unite in their disgust at the most likely perpetrator Al-Shabaab, President Farmajo must immediately provide care for victims and use surging support for the government to redouble efforts aimed at overcoming the divisions in Somalia's society that make Al-Shabaab such a persistent threat.
Following the annulment of August’s historic vote, Kenya must hold repeat presidential elections by 1 November. But rising tensions and the threat of an opposition boycott could result in missing the vote's deadline and risk a constitutional crisis. Both political camps must move away from harsh words and find mutually acceptable electoral reforms to allow elections to proceed.
By 12 October, Washington will decide whether the steps Sudan has taken qualify it for lifting some U.S. sanctions. But to push forward afterwards will require a new roadmap that ties further sanctions relief and improved bilateral relations to political reform and human rights.
Vigilante groups have been successful in providing local security. But subcontracting security functions to vigilante groups for counter-insurgency purposes is a dangerous option for fragile African states. African leaders should set clear objectives and mandates when enlisting vigilantes and invest in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programs.
This is a dangerous moment [for Sudan]. By taking out [Darfur's powerful militia chief] Musa Hilal, [Khartoum] has pitched two Darfuri Arab clans against each other.
[Kenya's] crisis has highlighted the gulf between the elite and the ordinary people. It is a sentiment I recognise every day. The government and opposition are disconnected from the people’s reality.
[Kenya's] opposition has given greater currency [to political concessions] because of the elections dispute. I don’t think the opposition’s endgame is the Balkanisation of Kenya.
[Kenya's election] is about the idea of moving toward greater political competition and freedom, against those that say, ‘Let’s privilege economic development and forget political liberalism for now.’
Unfortunately Kenyan elections don’t tend to end with a clear winner or clear loser, they tend to end in draws. The one that captures or retains power has access to a vast resource of patronage.
The longer [the Kenyan political crisis] drags on the more bellicose the rhetoric gets among politicians and the more animosity there is among rising ethnic identities.
Economically and politically, Uganda's government’s actions are leading to growing frustrations and lawlessness.
Originally published in African Arguments
Delayed elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the stalled transition risks provoking a major crisis, are one of three critical African polls: the DRC crisis, the recent vote in Kenya and Zimbabwe’s election next year all have important implications for democracy and stability on the continent.
China’s growing involvement in South Sudan’s civil war differs from its past approach to non-interference, though there is debate on the long-term implications as its role in African, and global, security affairs expands.
Originally published in South China Morning Post