Uganda. As the year began, the government’s attempt to make peace with the Christian fundamentalist militia had just failed the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). In February, however, the government announced a new time-limited ceasefire to attract guerrillas to new negotiations. Some commanders gave up the fight during the year, and it was suggested that contacts existed, but mostly the fighting continued in the north. About 40,000 children were reported to leave their hometowns every night and seek nightly shelter in the nearest town to avoid being robbed by the guerrillas.
According to countryaah, Kampala is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Uganda. The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague announced in October that it has brought a prosecution and issued a warrant for the five highest LRA leaders. The US government had previously appealed to the ICC not to prosecute the rebel leaders for not jeopardizing the attempts to lure them to lay down weapons with the help of amnesty promises.
Not only was the LRA criticized for violence. In September, Human Rights Watch accused the army of gross abuses against the civilians who sought protection in the army-supervised camps in the north. In December, the International Court of Justice in The Hague sentenced Uganda to pay extensive damages to the Congo (Kinshasa) for the occupation of the Congolese Ituri region in 1998–2003. The court accused Uganda of extensive looting and abuse of the population.
Economically, things are going well for Uganda, whose government received praise from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for achieving stability and growth and for making the country less dependent on aid through improved tax collection. Uganda was judged to have such a good economy in October, with among other things. a foreign exchange reserve of about SEK 10 billion, that no more IMF support need be paid.
The EU has allocated € 92 million in budget support on condition that the government carries out political reforms. Sweden and several other Western countries withdrew or frozen part of their aid in protest against the corruption and the regime’s increasingly authoritarian tendencies. In May, criticism of Uganda for the unwillingness to make real reforms prompted the government to use the public relations firm Hill and Knowlton to improve its international reputation.
Parliament amended the constitution in July so that the president can stand for re-election unlimited times. The decision received harsh criticism in the outside world, even though a referendum in the same vein said yes to allowing political parties again. In practice, the constitutional amendment was considered to have cemented President Yoweri Museveni’s power monopoly. Her toughest competitor for the presidential post, Kizza Besigye, returned in October after several years in exile, but was arrested almost immediately and charged with treason. He was accused of conspiring with hostile guerrillas.
Former President Milton Obote passed away in October in Tanzania, where he has lived since being deposed for the second time in 1985. He turned 80.