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.
Fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is intensifying, with Ugandan and Burundian soldiers in pursuit of rebels and Congolese insurgents on the rebound. With help from its allies, Kinshasa should step up diplomacy lest the country become a regional battleground once more.
Human rights violations and repression of dissent continued, while govt kept up operations against Islamic State-affiliated rebels.
Civil society activists and opposition politicians remained under threat. Unidentified assailants 3 Jan stabbed prominent gay rights activist Steven Kabuye on outskirts of capital Kampala, leaving him in serious condition; fellow LGBTQ+ activists said homophobia and harassment have soared since draconian anti-LGBTQ law was enacted in May 2023. Police 18 Jan placed three opposition leaders under house arrest, including former presidential candidates Robert Kyagulanyi, alias ‘Bobi Wine’, and Kizza Besigye, ahead of planned protest demanding govt action to address deteriorating road conditions. In interview with French TV channel France 24 published 30 Jan, Wine called for “civil disobedience, a moral uprising, a revolution” against President Museveni.Govt’s campaign against Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) continued. Museveni 9 Jan called on Islamic State-affiliated ADF rebels based in DR Congo (DRC) to surrender, and military 20 Jan reported killing three ADF combatants and rescuing eight hostages in Irumu territory, Ituri province in eastern DRC. In another important development. Museveni 5 Jan appointed three former govt-aligned legislators to leadership roles at electoral commission. Amid outcry from opposition, Museveni 17 Jan backtracked on two of these appointments prior to parliamentary confirmation hearings.
This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood talks to Great Lakes expert Nelleke van de Walle about the escalation of violence in the eastern DR Congo, as Uganda and Burundi deploy troops to fight rebels in the area and Rwanda threatens to do the same.
The Islamic State has claimed two suicide bombings in the Ugandan capital Kampala. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Dino Mahtani unpacks what happened and assesses the threat of further such attacks in East Africa.
This week on The Horn, Africa editor at Nation Media Group Daniel Kalinaki joins Alan Boswell for a deep dive into what Uganda’s latest elections revealed about President Museveni’s hold on power and the likelihood of future instability.
Official results indicate that President Yoweri Museveni will extend his 35-year rule in Uganda. But the contested election, marred by fraud claims, illustrated many citizens’ frustration with his administration. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Murithi Mutiga explains why the path ahead will be rocky.
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.
Three Great Lakes states – Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda – are trading charges of subversion, each accusing another of sponsoring rebels based in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Outside powers should help the Congolese president resolve these tensions, lest a lethal multi-sided melee ensue.
Economically and politically, Uganda's government’s actions are leading to growing frustrations and lawlessness.
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.
Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.