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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

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, authorities restricted campaigning activities ahead of general elections scheduled for early 2021. Musician-turned-opposition leader Bobi Wine and former president of opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party Kizza Besigye 15 June announced alliance to unseat incumbent President Museveni in 2021 general elections. Electoral commission next day said elections would be held between 10 Jan and 8 Feb and banned campaign rallies amid COVID-19 pandemic, directing candidates to campaign online and through media; opposition denounced measure, which it claimed will favour ruling party. Wine 24 June said he would hold public rallies despite ban; former intelligence chief and Security Minister Henry Tumukunde, who said he would run for president in 2021, 25 June called for elections to be postponed, and opposition Conservative Party led by John Lukyamuz same day threatened to boycott them. Police 1 June detained FDC MPs Gilbert Olanya and Odonga Otto in Gulu town for allegedly mobilising protesters to demand closure of Elegu border post with South Sudan over rise in COVID-19 cases in border region; Olanya and Otto released on police bond next day. Museveni 22 June extended COVID-19 lockdown into July.

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Commentary / Africa

De-escalating Tensions in the Great Lakes

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.

Op-Ed / Africa

Bit by Bit, Uganda Is Laying the Groundwork for Future Unrest

Economically and politically, Uganda's government’s actions are leading to growing frustrations and lawlessness.

Originally published in African Arguments

Op-Ed / Africa

It’s in Uganda’s Interest to Keep Supporting South Sudan Peace Efforts

President Museveni will naturally defend Uganda’s short-term interests, but he should also work towards longer-term stability by supporting President Salva Kiir’s pledge to bring peace through ARCSS implementation, negotiations and national dialogue.

Originally published in Daily Monitor

Commentary / Africa

Museveni's Post-election Politics: Keeping a Lid on Uganda's Opposition

Six months after its February general election the political atmosphere in Uganda is unsettled, securitised and paranoid. Opposition leaders and some supporters – seeking to rally a popular movement against the regime – are regularly harassed, accused of treason and temporarily detained. The ruling elite is clearly concerned about the opposition’s growing support. Its hard-fisted approach to the problem, alongside a stuttering economy and no foreseeable transition of power, is likely to see political pressure continue to grow