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

ADF militants launched new attacks in Uganda as military continued operations against armed group in DR Congo; tensions ran high with South Sudan over border dispute.

ADF launched new attacks against civilians in Uganda. Islamic State-affiliated Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 13 Oct ambushed civilian vehicle at Katojo junction near DR Congo border, killing two, and 17 Oct killed two foreign tourists and their local guide in Queen Elizabeth National Park. President Museveni 15 Oct reported army had foiled ADF bomb plot targeting churches in Butambala district, and warned against ADF rebels engaging in retaliatory attacks on Ugandan territory amid Ugandan army operations in DR Congo. Kampala 25 Oct also announced amnesty for ADF members willing to surrender.

Authorities arrested opposition leader, thwarted “one million march”. Police 5 Oct arrested opposition party National Unity Platform (NUP) leader Robert Kyagulanyi, known as Bobi Wine, at Entebbe airport on return from trip abroad; Wine said he was subsequently placed under house arrest. Police same day detained at least 40 NUP supporters in capital Kampala and elsewhere in effort to thwart what party had described as “one million march” to welcome leader home. Opposition 26 Oct walked out of parliament for third time in two weeks, demanding debate on human rights and end to repression of opposition parties.

Border dispute with South Sudan flared up. After South Sudanese authorities claimed ownership of over 20 villages in Kerwa and Kochi areas in Uganda’s Yumbe district, Ugandan troops late Sept reportedly set up bases in South Sudan’s Kajo-Keji county. South Sudan parliamentary spokesperson 1 Oct vowed not to “allow even one metre of our land to be taken by Uganda”, and Museveni 2 Oct sent ministerial delegation to Yumbe and Moyo districts. Governor of South Sudan’s Central Equatoria State and Ugandan local authorities 27 Oct met in Yumbe to resolve disputes.

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