Karamoja in Uganda: baseline study from 2004
For CEWARN (Conflict Early Warning and Early Response Mechanism) of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Centre for Basic Research carried out a Baseline study for the Ugandan side of the Karamoja Cluster. The report analyses the nature and trends of pastoral conflicts in this area. Although interventions already since colonial times were aimed at attaining peace and development, they failed to appreciate pastoralism as a mode of livelihood and production. They led rather to more competition and conflict over the natural resources. Data from 2003–04 indicate that relationships among user groups and between these and the State were characterised by shifts in alliances and axes of conflict and laid the ground for a “survival mentality” among the pastoralists, who felt that the world was against them. It was found that there were far more internal conflicts within the Karamoja area of Uganda than cross-border conflicts. It was forecast that, if government uses force to maintain law and order, this will lead to hostilities between the warriors and the military, with devastating repercussions. The deterioration in the security situation will be fertile ground for alienation of the pastoralist community – making a bad situation even worse. Development efforts should focus on developing pastoralism as a viable mode of production and livelihood and providing viable alternatives so that fewer people in the area need to depend on pastoralism for their livelihood.