Northern Uganda: Protracted Conflict and Structures of Violence
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CitationMatthew Kustenbauder. 2010. Northern Uganda: protracted conflict and structures of violence. In War and Peace in Africa, ed. Toyin Falola and Raphael Chijioke Njoku, 451-482. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2010.
AbstractThis chapter identifies reasons for protracted, low-intensity civil war in Uganda during the last two decades. The first is located in Uganda’s history, in which social, political, and religious processes established the basic structures of violence that continue to operate in contemporary Uganda, reinforcing cleavages along regional, ethnic, and religious lines. The second is located in the complex balancing act involved in running a modern African state. After providing some historical background that frames the conflict, the chapter examines how both the NRM government of Yoweri Museveni and rebel insurgent movements have benefited from insecurity in the country. It argues that the government accrued political dividends while the Lord’s Resistance Army gained personal benefits so long as the conflict continued. A shift in the geopolitical landscape, coupled with the diminishing returns of a long-duration, low-level conflict, may explain why both sides recently renewed and intensified their efforts to negotiate a lasting peace. The chapter concludes by identifying two elements—personal security for the rebels, and northern development and integration—that will be critical in order for a negotiated peace to last.
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