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

Deteriorated Situation

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.

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