What is going on in Uganda?
With the exception of the North, it has been relatively calm in most parts of Uganda over the past twenty years. For twenty years, North Uganda was the scene of one of the most tragic wars that took place on the African continent. The “Lord’s Resistance Army” (LRA) rebel group kidnapped some 20,000 children and forced them to become child soldiers. Many of these children never returned. Peace negotiations were held in 2006 between the government and the rebel group. However, towards the end of 2009, a peace agreement had still not been signed. The LRA has since retreated into neighbouring countries. A large number of displaced persons have since returned home. The government has drawn up a plan for keeping the peace and for repair works and community development. Because of a lack of security, the North still continues to be a source of concern.
After independence from Great Britain in 1962 different cultures and political systems came together in Uganda. These differences made the creation of one political community difficult. Since the leadership of Yoweri Museveni in 1986 Uganda has known relative stability.
Uganda is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, agriculture being the most important sector. However, only a small part of the population benefits from this growth. 31% of the population live in extreme poverty. In the North, this is even as high as 61%. In 2009, the North was affected by a food crisis resulting from crop failure. As a result, over a million people were without food.
In North Uganda, in Acholi, most of the displaced persons returned to their original place of residence after the war, or they live in camps. Because of the prolonged war, old village structures have been lost, and the people have become uprooted. It will take a long time to restore mutual trust.