Museveni - Internal and Regional Security
Gen. Museveni has been a pivotal figure in ensuring peace and stability not only in Uganda, but also in the region. From 1986 to 2006, the NRA/UPDF defeated a total of 25 insurgencies, the last of which was the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) that operated from bases in Sudan and terrorized the population in Northern Uganda.
At the height of the LRA insurgency in 2003 – 06, Gen. Museveni established forward operation bases in Soroti (Teso), Barlege, and Gulu (Acholi) and assumed direct command of the units and formations engaged in the counter-insurgency operations. By the second half of 2005, the LRA was in utter disarray, this culminated in their eventual defeat by August of 2006.
On the regional front, Gen. Museveni has been instrumental in promoting peace efforts in Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and now in Somalia. After more than 20 years without a central government, Gen. Museveni became the first African Head of State to deploy troops to try and sort out the turmoil in Somalia in March 2007 under the African Union Peace Keeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The UPDF has since been in the vanguard of the liberation of most of Somalia from the grip of the extremist terrorist organization, Al Shabaab.
Indeed the NRM came to power promising to restore security and respect for human rights. This was part of the NRM’s ten-point program, as Museveni noted in his swearing in speech in 1986: “The second point on our program is security of person and property. Every person in Uganda must have absolute security to live wherever he wants. Any individual, any group who threatens the security of our people must be smashed without mercy. The people of Uganda should die only from natural causes which are beyond our control, but not from fellow human beings who continue to walk the length and breadth of our land.”
Museveni managed to get the Karamojong, fierce nomadic pastoralists in the semi-arid north-east of the country that had never had much interest in the central government, to align themselves with his policies by offering them a stake in the new NRM government. However, the northern region along the Sudanese border proved more troublesome. In the West Nile sub-region, inhabited by Lugbara, Alur and Kakwa (tribes that had previously supported the Amin regime), the Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF) rebel group fought for years until a combination of military offensives and diplomacy pacified the region; the leader of the UNRF, Moses Ali, and later leaders like Ali Bamuze, gave up this struggle and became important officials in the NRM government.
People from the northern parts of the country viewed the rise of a government led by a person from the south with great trepidation. Rebel groups sprang up among the Langi, Acholi and Iteso, though they were overwhelmed by the strength of the NRA except in the far north where the Sudanese border provided a safe haven. The predominantly Acholi rebel group the Uganda People’s Democratic Army (UPDA) failed to dislodge the NRA from Acholi land, this led in large measure to the desperate superstition of the so called ‘Holy Spirit Movement’ (HSM) of Alice Lakwena. The defeat of both the UPDA and HSM left the northern rebellion in the hands of a vicious faction that eventually came to be known as the Lord’s Resistance Army. The LRA soon turned on their Acholi people with a level of brutality unheard of before.
The LRA, led by Joseph Kony, were eventually defeated and expelled from the country by August 2006, taking refugee, first in the jungles of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and later in the Central African Republic (CAR). The NRA/UPDF earned a reputation for respecting the rights of civilians.
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