The DRC-Uganda Clashes: an Excuse for Kabila to Stay in Power?

By Scott Morgan

While the rest of the world has been focused on other crises such as the offensive against the Anglophone Community in Cameroon by Government Forces, or the impending Trade War between the United States and China, there is yet again rising tensions in one of the usual crisis spots.

On July 5th, there was a clash between Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda on Lake Edward. At least 7 people, 4 of them members of the Ugandan Military, were killed in this incident.The incident escalated from an unknown group firing upon a Ugandan patrol boat. There are substantial concerns that this part of the Great Lakes region along with Lake Albert are fret with Smugglers. The area is also home to some Oil and Natural Gas fields that are in the early stages of development as well. That could also be harbinger of future conflict.

Why would this clash take place during this time frame? It is expected that President Kabila’s Ruling Party will announce its candidate for the upcoming polls by July 20th. The upcoming election has been a source of tension since the pattern of delay began back in November 2016. President Kabila has shown reluctance to leave office as mandated under the Constitution. Reportedly, he has a fear of facing trial for War Crimes or other actions. Could a War with Uganda be a reason for him to remain in office with the Congo facing a potential War? Oh the possibilities….

The Museveni Government could use a distraction as well. On July 1st, a controversial Social Media Law came into effect. In an effort to curtail speech that the Government does not approve of it imposed a tax on those who use Social Media which amounts to a nickel in US currency. There has been some blow-back regarding this so this means that the Government is in dire need of a distraction...This incident has perfect timing for it.

This part of Central Africa, which is already plagued by underlying tensions and militia groups that have operated across borders with impunity for decades, cannot afford another conflict. But yet again another incident occurs. The question of whether this blows up into a war or remains an isolated event in a long protracted diplomatic tussle has yet to be seen.

The more one digs into attempting to determine the root cause of this incident the more the focus shifts towards the current internal political climate within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The longer the elections continue to be delayed the bigger the dissatisfaction towards the Incumbent leader. Can you imagine what will occur if Joseph Kabila becomes the Candidate for President for his party and wins reelection?

It is clear that the next five months will be very interesting in Central Africa. Events listed above can be seen as proving the statement “Politics is just like comedy, timing is everything” so very true.

(Image: DRC-Uganda Clashes[Ed] via Google Images)

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society. © 2007-2018 Author(s) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED]


  1. Hi Morgan,

    Usually, in Africa, something like this happens because external forces want it to happen. Just sit and see whom these clashes benefit the most.


  2. I point the finger at Russia.

  3. Timing is everything, yes. But who will act in five months? And how can Africa change her course? That's what we need to know!


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