Uganda a landlocked country with a population of 37.5 million people according to 2013 census has shown zealous commitment to maintain peace and factor into crises management of countries both in the east and central Africa.
Uganda has been seen as the most active state in crises and wars in the East and Central Africa region. Some of the conflict Uganda is a major contributor of forces to in South Sudan, Somalia under African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Central Africa Republic against the Lord’s Resistance Army as well as Democratic Republic of Congo.
Uganda’s heavy involvement regardless of the fact that she doesn’t have the strongest or largest army in the region can be partly attribute to the geographic placement and historical regional threats that either directly or indirectly impact on her stability.
Uganda has carved her position as a regional leader in matters regarding regional security in the East and Central Africa region mainly through military interventions and multi-lateral economic integration. Uganda, unlike her counterparts in the region has been able to concurrently contribute forces to a number of crises in the region.
Uganda has been seen as the most active state in crises and wars in the East and Central Africa region. Uganda by all respect is a small country, in terms of her GDP, size as well military strength and capability in comparison to most countries in the East and Central African region.
Some of the regional crises that Uganda has contributed forces in the region include, South Sudan in support of the Kiir government against rebels, Somalia under the African Union Mission in Somalia, Central Africa Republic to fight the Lord’s Resistance Army and in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Uganda’s behavior in the region is deeply rooted in its geographical position as a landlocked country and to some extent the power embedded in its current leader Yoweri Museveni’s unlimited terms in office. His power allows for a centralized government that strengthens the security set up in Uganda.
Geography and power of the leader are not the only factors that push Uganda’s security agenda but also the numerous threats that surround her.
In the late 80s Museveni’s new government had to handle the Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army internal rebellion. The military under Museveni’s rule were able to push the rebel out of Uganda and further provide forces to help fight them in DRC, CAR and South Sudan to prevent its sprout and regrouping.
Uganda and Museveni played a very pivotal point in ending the 1994 Rwanda genocide where Paul Kagame marched from Uganda and took over power from the Hutu Government ending the war. Uganda has also fazed away jihadist like Allied Democratic Forces and most recently her involvement in the war against Harakat Al Shabaab al Mujahideen based in Somalia.
In Somalia, Uganda is the largest contributor of peacekeepers and police that fight the al Shabaab and at the same time contributing its aircrafts to give aerial supports and medical evacuations and surveillance to ground troops.
Uganda’s security policy is heavily dependent on the economic, internal and regional political trends and objectives seeing as she is quite reliant on her neighbors like Kenya to access the ports.
Additionally Uganda’s stability is directly related to the regional stability and geographic positioning especially proximity to the conflict-prone central African area dictates her security agenda and military involvement beyond her borders.
Uganda’s regional security policy is unlikely to change or shift if anything it is projected that her involvement is likely to increase to keep the jihadists and rebels security threat in check.