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.
Ethiopia’s federal and Tigray regional governments are finally gearing up for direct negotiations. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert William Davison discusses why the feuding parties are edging toward peace and what the main obstacles are to achieving it.
Uganda suffered deadliest attack in years as Islamist militia launched raid on school near Congolese border, killing dozens.
Deadly attack on school undermined faith in security forces. Armed assailants overnight 16-17 June raided secondary school in Mpondwe town near border with DR Congo, killing at least 44 people, mostly children, and abducting several others. Authorities immediately blamed attack on Islamic State-linked Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia based in eastern DR Congo and deployed reinforcements to border area; security forces 18-20 June rescued three kidnapped students and arrested at least 20 people, including school director and head teacher, for alleged collaboration with ADF. As lack of timely intervention despite presence of police and army posts in school’s direct vicinity raised concern, opposition figures including Abdallah Kiwanuka 21 June called for repatriation of Ugandan troops deployed abroad to improve security at home. Meanwhile, after deadly raid on Ugandan contingent of African Union transition mission in Somalia in late May, reports emerged of low troop morale and frustration over ageing equipment and pay gaps.
Random shootings by security personnel continued. Following last month’s spat of gun violence, security guards 4-6 June shot at least three people, leaving one dead and two injured.
In other important developments. After President Museveni late May enacted law punishing homosexuality with death penalty in some cases, rights groups early June urged World Bank to suspend loans to Uganda, and U.S. 16 June announced visa restrictions on individuals “undermining the democratic process” in Uganda.
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.
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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