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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

Authorities continued to harass opposition through legal means ahead of early 2021 general elections. Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) 7 Oct criticised electoral commission for lack of prompt reaction to Sept election-related violence, said violence could escalate in run-up to elections. Main opposition party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) 8 Oct endorsed party president Patrick Amuriat Oboi as presidential flag bearer; other opposition party also chose respective presidential candidates throughout month. Police and military 14 Oct raided headquarters of opposition National Unity Party (NUP) in capital Kampala, seized campaign material and arrested party leader and presidential hopeful Bobi Wine along with more than 130 of his supporters for using red berets, which are akin to military uniforms, as campaign symbol; Wine released later that day. Information Minister Judith Nabakooba 18 Oct urged nominated candidates to abide by electoral commission’s ban on in-person campaigning amid COVID-19 pandemic. Opposition throughout month continued to denounce double standard in implementation of directive, saying security forces do not disperse ruling party National Resistance Movement’s rallies. Police 12 Oct resumed enforcing COVID-19 nightly curfew in Kampala. South Sudanese and Ugandan soldiers 27 Oct clashed along common border, reportedly leaving two dead on each side.

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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