Guns, Bread and Butter HURIPEC Report

The role of security actors in societies’ development and growth has for long been an under-explored phenomenon especially in developing countries. The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) is one of the critical security sector institutions playing a role in Uganda’s national development aspirations and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet, there is hardly any scholarly analysis of its role in this aspect, or how its participation in key sectors of Uganda’s economy impact on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 16 on peace, justice, inclusive growth and strong institutions.

Through a collaborative project, the Human Rights and Peace Center (HURIPEC) of the School of Law, Makerere University in Uganda and the Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts (CRIC) at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark sought to fill this lacuna. This project report, a product of a four-year study explores how the military in Uganda is presented as one the accelerators of development. With a focus on key areas such as agriculture, fisheries, natural resources among others, it questions the viability and pitfalls of the strategy of militarization for sustainable development. It also assesses the role of key oversight institutions such as the police, judiciary and parliament which continue to be politically instrumental in this process of militarization.

The findings not only indicate a steady deployment of UPDF soldiers in key sectors but also a growing manifestation of militarization in the public sector. It exposes the impact of militarization on the economy including increased exclusion, inequality and poverty in affected communities, widening ethno military patrimonial networks, diminished accountability and civilian institutional ineffectiveness among others. Questions of institutional oversight, capacities and independence, the country’s political and human rights dynamics as well as livelihoods and sustainable inclusive development come to the fore.

We hope that the emerging trends and practices highlighted herein will help to capacitate both Ugandan actors and international partners to examine the viability in Uganda of deploying the military for accelerated growth and development, and the impact this has on long term peace and stability and citizens’ livelihoods.

Zahara Nampewo and Sylvie Namwase

Principal Investigators
Human Rights and Peace Centre, School of Law, Makerere University