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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

Former army chief survived assassination attempt and President Museveni reshuffled military and cabinet. Unidentified assailants 1 June opened fire on vehicle of transport minister and former chief of defence forces, Gen Katumba Wamala, in capital Kampala, wounding him and killing his daughter and driver; assassination attempt believed to be related to behind-the-scenes battles among different political factions to succeed Museveni. Following re-election earlier this year, Museveni 8 June appointed 82-member cabinet including 12 former and serving military officers in alleged attempt to pave way for his son, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to take up senior govt position; Museveni also swapped long-time allies for junior ministers and appointed women as VP and PM. Museveni 24 June reshuffled military, appointing loyalists to top leadership positions and naming his son commander of land forces. Govt 8 June blacklisted or suspended six NGOs for alleged fraud. Relations with Rwanda remained tense: Rwandan army 12 June arrested Ugandan soldier for allegedly straying into Rwandan territory, before releasing him next day; Ugandan authorities 14 June sent protest note, claimed incident occurred on Ugandan soil. Amid record COVID-19 cases, Museveni 18 June imposed 42-day lockdown; in following days, police reportedly arrested in Kampala over 200 people who were carrying on their business activities despite lockdown measures.
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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

Report / Africa

Uganda’s Slow Slide into Crisis

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.

Report / Africa

Double-edged Sword: Vigilantes in African Counter-insurgencies

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.

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Our Journeys / Africa

On the Trail of Uganda’s Arrow Boys

As part of Crisis Group’s research on civilian defence forces, Horn of Africa Analyst Magnus Taylor spoke to former fighters in Uganda known as the Arrow Boys. The group played an instrumental role in routing the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army when rebels attacked Teso in eastern Uganda in 2003.