Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Civil War in Uganda

Northern Uganda has been in a civil war for the past twenty years. The country has been under the power of the Museveni government since 1986. President Yoweri Museveni protects the country through a group known as the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) against one of the most threatening rebel groups, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). This rebel group has been resisting the Ugandan government from its inception, making the country a war zone. The leader of the LRA is Joseph Kony, who believes he is the re-embodiment of Jesus Christ. His goal is to set up a government in Uganda based on the Bible and the Ten Commandments. Kony’s greatest crime has been abducting innocent children to fight in his army. The LRA has abducted over 30,000 helpless children. The most affected part of Uganda is Gulu and Kitgum. Ever since the LRA movement has been resisting, the government of Uganda has been persuading people who live in these highly affected areas to move into camps that will protect them. Currently, however, after peace agreements have been made between the Government of Uganda and the LRA, families were told that they are able to move into camps closer to their homes. The most affected victims of the LRA are the Acholi people. Notwithstanding the supposed peace agreement, village people continue to be terrorized by the LRA. Not only do the people of Northern Uganda suffer from the attacks, especially the children, but the environment and economy are disadvantaged as well. The government expends millions of dollars on the military which could be used to provide basic human services and when families leave their homes and move to the protected camps, they are forced to leave behind their work and crops. This dislocation results in widespread famine. Uganda is not as economically prosperous as the United States, however, both countries are involved in a war. Why is it that in certain societies in times of war, the institutions of government are more stable and in other places they completely fall apart resulting in economic instability, famine, dislocation of a population and using children as resources in a time when they are not yet adults?

1 comment:

Tumwijuke Mutambuka said...

Ms. Starr,

I just stumbled across your blog, so first things first, welcome to Uganda (when you get here ...)

Secondly, I don't know who the source of your information on Uganda is, but most of it is outrageouly incorrect.

The National Resistance Army is NOT a rebel group. It was when Yoweri Museveni fought for power in the early 1980s. However the army was nationalized and professionalized and transformed into the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF), which is not unlike the U.S. Armed Forces. It was created by an Act of Parliament and is a legitimate national force.

The Allied Democratic Forces no longer pose a direct threat to Uganda's security. The rebel group has been largely disbanded and only a handful of unarmed rebels are based in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Your information must be quite old as well. The camps for the internally displaced which you allude to are currently being dismantled and the local population is moving into satellite camps closer to their homes in Lira, Apac, Gulu, Kitgum, Pader and Amuru districts. The population is not being forced into camps any more. If anything, they are being encouraged out of the camps thanks to the relative peace brought about by a cessation of hostilities agreement between the Government of Uganda and the LRA.

There is a tremendous amount of information on the situation in Uganda on the web.;; are just one of several professional newspapers in the country that are able to provide a balanced view of the country. Feel free to visit the UN webpage - - or even your own government information pace - - for accurate, up to date info on Uganda.

I do hope you will come to Uganda with a more appropriate view of the country you intend to vist.