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.
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.
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.
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