Reintegration of ex-combatants and peace building in UGANDA: a case study of the Uganda National Rescue Front I 1981 – 2008
MetadataShow full item record
This study set out to examine the relationship between reintegration of ex-combatants and peace building in the West Nile region, taking Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF 1) as a case study. The study was prompted by observation and media reports that the continued armed conflict and low political support for the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government in the West Nile region was partly attributed to failure of the government to fully reintegrate the Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF 1) ex-combatants led by Moses Ali as negotiated in 1986. On this basis, therefore, the study sought to establish the understanding that existed between UNRF I and NRM the war against the governments between 1981 and 1986; the causes and consequences of failure to deliver on commitments in the peace agreement by both parties; factors that led to the emergence of new rebel movements in West Nile and; the extent to which reintegration of UNRF 1 ex-combatants have contributed to peace building and was based on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) processes. The reintegration process was based and emphasized shame and reintegration theory by Braithwaite (1989) which represents alternative dispute resolution. A cross sectional survey research design was adopted. A total sample of 144 respondents which included UNRF1 ex-combatants, NRM leaders at the time of reintegration, officials from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Northern Uganda Social Action Plan (NUSAF) staff, Coordinator of Skills for Peace and Income (SKIPI) Project in Yumbe District, Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), Executive Secretary of Uganda Veterans Assistance Board (UVAB), Amnesty Commission staff and opinion leaders in Arua, Yumbe and Koboko districts were also consulted. The primary data was collected using interview guides; focus group discussion and observation checklists. Consequently, both qualitative and quantitative data were collected. Research findings revealed that the understanding between UNRF1 and NRM government involved commitments by both parties. Although a significant number of the commitments were met by the NRM government, full reintegration of UNRF1 ex-combatants according to the DDR procedure of the United Nations was not done. Consequently, this had negative consequences for the NRM government, local community as well as UNRF 1 ex-combatants hence low contribution to peace building in the West Nile region. In order to improve reintegration of UNRF1 ex-combatants and contribute to peace building in the West Nile region, the study recommended instilling mutual trust through quick fulfillment of the agreed commitments by both parties, securing adequate funds for the DDR process, implementation of projects that directly target ex-combatants rather than indirect community projects, appointment of a special government representative for the West Nile region affairs, involvement of the local communities to instill social cohesion and formulation of National Policy on Conflict Resolution and Peace building among others.