Source: Council on Foreign Relations
Al-Shabab, or “the Youth,” is an al-Qaeda-linked militant group and U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization fighting for the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic state in Somalia. The group, also known as Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen, and its Islamist affiliates once held sway over Mogadishu and major portions of the Somali countryside, but a sustained African Union military campaign in recent years has weakened the group considerably. Still, security analysts warn that the group remains the principal threat in a politically volatile, war-torn state.
Al-Shabab’s terrorist activities have mainly focused on targets within Somalia, but it has also carried out deadly strikes in the region, including coordinated suicide bombings in Uganda’s capital in 2010 and a raid on a Nairobi mall in 2013 (PDF). Washington fears the group, which has successfully recruited members of the Somali diaspora in the United States, may strike on U.S. soil. However, many terrorism experts say al-Shabab’s reach is limited to East Africa.
Sentencing Guidelines — Australia • England and Wales • India South Africa • Uganda (PDF)
Source: Law Library of Congress
Sentencing guidelines in the common law countries of Australia, England and Wales, India, South Africa, and Uganda vary significantly. England and Wales have a Sentencing Council that develops offense-specific guidelines that the courts must follow, while Uganda’s Supreme Court has developed guidelines that are advisory only. In India and Australia, no formal guidelines exist and judges retain wide discretion in sentencing, but both countries have mechanisms in place to provide general guidance—in Australia through state legislation and in India through a series of court decisions that identify relevant sentencing factors.
Pathways to Productivity: The Role of GMOs for Food Security in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda
Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies
This report provides an overview of the debate in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda over genetically modified (GM) crops and their potential role in improving food security among smallholder farmers. Specifically, in each country, it examines regulatory structures, science and research capacity, communication and public opinion, the views of smallholder farmers, and the forecast for adoption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Additionally, it examines regional regulatory efforts and potential trade impacts. Finally, the report provides a set of policy recommendations targeted toward the U.S. government, focus country governments, the donor community, and nongovernmental organizations.
Emerging East Africa Energy
Source: Energy Information Administration
Although oil and natural gas exploration has been going on for decades in various East African countries, there has been limited success until recently. In the past there were doubts about the amount of recoverable resources in the region, along with regional and civil conflicts that presented challenges and risks to foreign companies. Consequently, exploration activities in East Africa have evolved at a much slower pace relative to other African regions. However, the pace of exploration activity has recently picked up after foreign oil and gas companies made a series of sizable discoveries in several East African countries.
This new regional analysis covers emerging developments in the oil and gas sectors in five East African countries: Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Madagascar. The larger area that EIA considers as East Africa (see Africa by region map) includes 21 countries. In this region, by far the largest oil and gas producers are Sudan and South Sudan, which are not covered in this report because they are mature oil producers.
Among the countries with emerging oil and gas developments, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and Madagascar have shown the most progress toward commercial development of newly discovered resources in recent years. Uganda and Madagascar will most likely be the next new oil producers on the continent. Mozambique will probably be the first country in East Africa to develop the capability to export liquefied natural gas (LNG), possibly followed by Tanzania.
Although progress toward commercial development of hydrocarbon resources in Kenya has been modest, the country plays a vital role in the region as an oil transit hub, particularly for oil products coming into the region. Kenya is planning to expand its role by embarking on a multi-million dollar investment to increase its midstream and downstream capacity.
The Lord’s Resistance Army: The U.S. Response (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via University of North Texas Digital Library)
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, is a small, dispersed armed group in central Africa that originated 24 years ago in Uganda. Its infliction of widespread human suffering and its potential threat to regional stability have drawn significant congressional attention. Campaigns by U.S.-based advocacy groups, using social media and other methods, have also spurred policymakers’ interest. Despite its Ugandan origins, the LRA currently operates in remote regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan. When the LRA was based in northern Uganda, the United States provided humanitarian relief and other aid for the war-torn region. As the LRA has moved across central Africa, the United States has taken on a more expansive role in countering its impact. Since 2008, the United States has supported regional operations led by the Ugandan military to capture or kill LRA commanders. The United States has also extended humanitarian aid, pursued regional diplomacy, and pushed for “early-warning” systems and multilateral programs to demobilize and reintegrate ex-LRA combatants. Growing U.S. involvement may also be viewed in the context of Uganda’s role as a key regional security partner. The LRA is on the State Department’s “Terrorist Exclusion List,” and Kony is a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist.”
In May 2010, Congress enacted the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act (P.L. 111-172), which required the Obama Administration to submit to Congress a “strategy” to “guide future United States support … for viable multilateral efforts to mitigate and eliminate the threat to civilians and regional stability” posed by the LRA. The Administration’s policy response, submitted in November 2010, emphasizes the protection of civilians, the “removal” of top LRA commanders, the promotion of LRA desertions, and the provision of humanitarian relief. On October 14, 2011, the President reported to Congress, “consistent with the War Powers Resolution,” that he had authorized the deployment of approximately 100 U.S. military personnel to serve as advisors to “regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield.” The Administration has portrayed this decision as consistent with congressional intent as expressed in P.L. 111-172 and subsequent consultations.
The U.S. approach to the LRA raises a number of policy issues, some of which could have implications far beyond central Africa. A key question, for some, is whether the response is commensurate with the level of threat the LRA poses to U.S. interests, and whether the deployment of U.S. military personnel could lead to unintended consequences. More broadly, decisions on this issue could potentially be viewed as a precedent for U.S. responses to similar situations in the future. Other issues for Congress include the timing and rationale for U.S. action; the role and likely duration of U.S. deployments in the region; the benchmarks for success and/or withdrawal of U.S. forces; funding levels for counter-LRA activities and for potential future humanitarian aid and related commitments; and the relative priority of counter-LRA activities compared to other foreign policy and budgetary goals. Other possible policy challenges include regional militaries’ capacity and will to conduct U.S.-supported operations, and these militaries’ relative level of respect for human rights. Congressional oversight may also focus on the appropriateness of the Administration’s LRA policy approach, as outlined in November 2010; the status of its implementation; interagency coordination; and the role of other donors. Related draft legislation includes H.R. 4077, H.R. 895, H.Res. 465, H.Res. 583, S.Res. 402, and S.Res. 412. Provisions relevant to U.S. counter-LRA efforts are also included in P.L. 112-74 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012) and P.L. 112-81 (National Defense Authorization Act of 2012).
Uganda: Current Conditions and the Crisis in North Uganda (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via OpenCRS)
In February 2006, Ugandans voted in the first multi-party elections in almost 26 years. President Yoweri Museveni and his ruling National Revolutionary Movement (NRM) parliamentary candidates won a decisive victory over opposition candidate Kizza Besigye and the Forum for Democracy Coalition. Nevertheless, poll results showed a notable decline in support for President Museveni from previous elections. International election observers did not condemn the election results, nor did they fully endorse the electoral process. Critics charged the government with intimidating the opposition during the pre-election period, and Besigye spent much of the campaign period in jail. The election followed a controversial move by the Ugandan parliament in July 2005 to remove the constitutional two-term limit on the presidency. In February 2011, Ugandans voted in presidential and parliamentary elections. President Museveni won 68% of the vote, while his nearest opponent, Kizza Besigye, won 26% of the vote.
In the north, the government of Uganda has long fought the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an armed rebel group backed by the government of Sudan. Through over 20 years of civil war, the brutal insurgency has created a humanitarian crisis that has displaced over 1.5 million people and resulted in the abduction of over 20,000 children. In 2006-2008, the government of Uganda and the LRA were engaged in an effort to resolve the conflict peacefully. The government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) mediated the talks. In August 2006, the government of Uganda and the LRA signed a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. In February 2008, the parties agreed on a Permanent Ceasefire and amended the Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation and Agreement on Comprehensive Solutions. However, the leader of the LRA, Joseph Kony, failed to show up for the final signing of the agreement on a number of occasions. The cessation of hostilities has allowed an estimated 1.4 million people to return to their homes. In November 2007, an LRA delegation went to Kampala for the first time and held talks with senior Ugandan officials. In late 2007, Vincent Otti, the deputy commander of the LRA, reportedly was killed in Uganda by Joseph Kony, the head of the LRA. In December 2009, the deputy commander of the LRA, Bok Abudema, was killed by Ugandan forces in Central African Republic. In 2009 and 2010, a number of senior commanders have been killed or captured or have defected. In late November 2010, the Obama Administration announced a “Strategy to Support the Disarmament of the LRA”, as called for in P.L. 111-172.
In late October 2007, President Museveni visited Washington, DC, and met with President Bush and other senior Administration officials. President Museveni also met with several Members of Congress. During his visit, President Museveni discussed a wide range of issues, including U.S.- Uganda relations, the crises in Somalia and Darfur, trade, and HIV/AIDS. Uganda deployed an estimated 2,700 peacekeeping troops to Somalia, shortly after Ethiopian forces invaded Mogadishu and installed the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). As of July 2010, more than 20 members of the Ugandan peacekeeping forces have been killed. In late November 2010, President Museveni visited Mogadishu, Somalia.
On July 11, 2010, the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab carried out multiple suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda. An estimated 76 people, including one American, were killed and more than 80 injured. The United Nations, the African Union, and the United States condemned the terrorist attacks. More than 20 suspects are currently in prison.