Ugandan Conflicts (1970 - )

Uganda has long experienced tensions along ethnic, religious and national lines. On independence in 1962, Ugandan politics were defined by smaller monarchies, among which the Southern Kingdom of Buganda dominated the national sphere. Resistance to this system was the campaign platform of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) led by Milton Obote, who won the 1962 elections. Tension between the Buganda’s ruler King Mutesa II and Obote with his then-ally Idi Amin, led to Obote changing the constitution, abolishing the monarchic system and thus, centralizing power. However, a split between Obote and Amin eventually led to a military coup d’état in 1970, which brought Amin the presidency where he instituted his genocidal regime.

Despite economic collapse, President Amin was only removed from power following a failed attempt at invading Tanzania in 1979, whereby the Tanzanian counter-attack alongside forces loyal to former-President Obote toppled Amin. Authoritarianism continued under the new regime, after Obote won the 1980 elections under dubious circumstances, and in 1985, Obote was once again deposed in a coup. Out of the fray, Yoweri Museveni and the National Resistance Army (NRA) captured the presidency in 1986 and began instituting economic and democratic reforms.

Resistance to Museveni, however, continued with various insurgencies across the country including by former-supporters of President Obote or President Amin. Other insurgencies based on chiliastic beliefs based on the return of Jesus Christ, most notably the Holy Spirit Movement, fought in the late 1980s before splintering into several smaller factions. One such faction later became the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony. Many of the 22 or more insurgency groups estimated to contain more than 40,000 insurgents, operate from across the Ugandan border and are based in either South Sudan or the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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