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

Tax proposals and implementation of electronic tax system prompted nationwide strike amid opposition support; military operations against Islamic State-affiliated group continued. 

Suggested tax increases and regulations led to industrial action. Traders 16-25 April held nationwide strike in protest at potential new taxation measures and increases on items including fuel and building materials, which business associations also criticised. Opposition leaders Robert Kyagulanyi, alias ‘Bobi Wine’, and Kizza Besigye 15 April came out in support of strike which shuttered many businesses, while taxation may become key campaign issue ahead of 2026 general elections. In response, President Museveni 19 April met traders to hear complaints, and temporarily suspended penalties for non-compliance with electronic tax system.

Army continued anti-Allied Democratic Force (ADF) campaign. Military said army 4 and 8 April killed two top commanders from Islamic State-affiliated ADF in eastern DR Congo (DRC) during joint operation with Congolese forces; army 14 April released statement detailing continued pursuit of scattered ADF fighters, urging vigilance against potential attacks by those returning to Uganda. Meanwhile, newly appointed head of army and Museveni’s son Lt-Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba 17 April met delegation of Rwandan military chiefs, raising concerns over whether Muhoozi’s close ties to Rwanda would impact joint DRC-Uganda operations against ADF amid Congolese-Rwandan tensions. 

In other important developments. Parliamentary spending controversies continued as Parliamentary Speaker Anita Among 11 April blocked debate on March revelations of extravagant expenditures, while parliament 15 April proposed increase in budget to cover travel costs and salaries; UK 30 April announced sanctions on three politicians including Among over allegations of corruption related to housing aid project in Karamoja region. Constitutional Court 3 April upheld 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Act, straining govt’s relations with international donors and raising concerns over potential reduction in foreign aid.

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