Identifying the Drivers of Violent Religious Extremism in Uganda Case Study: Kampala, Mayuge and Kasese
Author: Ndugwa Hassan
Supervisor: Denis Musinguzi
Violent extremism is a highly complex and evolving phenomenon that takes various forms and is fuelled by context specific drivers. With no exact science to understanding drivers of extremist violence, Guilain and Carter (2009) articulated one of the more widely referenced frameworks to explain violent extremism via a typology of complex interactions of “push” and “pull” factors that indirectly combine with more proximate political drivers, individual motivations, interpersonal relationships and group dynamics.
Within the Guilain and Carter framework, this study investigated the key drivers of violent religious extremism in Uganda. To achieve this goal, the study had three objectives. The first objective focused on analysis of the trends and manifestations of religious violent extremism in Uganda over time. The second objective identified and analysed the factors that push or pull individuals and groups into violent religious extremism in Uganda; while the last objective examined existing efforts in place to prevent or counter violent religious extremism, with a view to suggesting practical recommendations for preventing or countering violent religious extremism in Uganda.
The study has a mixed method approach and thus employed focus group discussions and in-depth interview methods for data collection. The study discovered that there is a defined pattern/trend of violent religious extremism and while the threat remains minimal at present, there are credible structural and individual conditions (drivers) in existence which violent extremist organizations to exploit to lure people or groups of people into violent activities. The study team noticed that these grievances are sometimes felt on behalf of communities with whom individuals share a cultural, ideological, religious, or ethnic bond, even if they are at a physical distance. The study found out that interventions and efforts to prevent or counter this threat exist but are insufficient or incoherent at the very least.
The research draws conclusions and proposes other areas of inquiry to deepen understanding on violent religious extremism in Uganda. The researcher recommends that if Uganda is to continue on a path of stability and development, the researcher recommends that the Government of Uganda must focus on building inclusive, representative, and equitable systems of governance that will help strengthen community resilience to violent extremism.