Armed conflict in light of colonialism's legacy: reweaving the social fabric of Uganda


Rebekah Ernst


Uganda, a former British colony, has been in a state of conflict since achieving independence in 1962. The current government has been at arms with the Lordâ s Resistance Army (LRA) for over 20 years, making it Africaâ s longest running war. Exploring the root causes of the conflict and establishing a common historical narrative is crucial to identifying prospects for peace. Ugandaâ s unique colonial legacy provides a framework for understanding the patterns of government policies and attitudes that have fostered an atmosphere of unrest and rebellion. The imperial mission established the territory through policies of violence, subjugation, exploitation, intimidation, and division, sowing seeds of disunity into Ugandaâ s fertile soil. Successive regimes after independence followed similar patterns of behavior toward their citizens, capitalizing on imperial stereotypes and regional divisions of labor to elevate themselves and gain power. The Acholi people in the northern region have born the heaviest burden under the weight of exclusionary policies and demeaning rhetoric, and are blamed for much of the conflict. For Uganda to move toward peace, the attitudes and policies that are tearing society apart and perpetuating the war need to be reversed, the truth needs to be told in an atmosphere conducive to forgiveness and responsibility, and the nation needs leadership that seeks national unity and reconciliation over personal wealth and power.


Law Department

Degree Name

MA in International Human Rights Law

Date of Award


Online Submission Date

September 2012

First Advisor

Escorihuela, Alejandro

Second Advisor

Monforte, Tanya

Document Type



83 p.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Africa -- History, Military.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Ethnic conflict -- Africa -- History.


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