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8 - ‘LRA Has Already Become a System’

Representation and Distrust in the Lord’s Resistance Army

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 April 2021

Mareike Schomerus
Affiliation:
Overseas Development Institute
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Summary

This chapter uses the dynamics in the Juba Peace Talks between the Lord’s Resistance Army/Movement (LRA/M) and the Government of Uganda to unpack distrust as a characteristic of the conflict system in Uganda. Internally, distrust acted as a control mechanism for the LRA/M. Externally, it contributed significantly to the LRA/M’s failure to establish itself as a reliable negotiation partner. The struggle for recognition translated into having to pull together an unwieldy fabric of internal interests with often contradictory motivations. The Juba Peace Talks confirmed the workings of the ‘system’ LRA/M that continues to function on its internal trust and distrust between actors of the LRA and the LRM, as well as in collaboration with the government as all groups continuously infiltrate each other. This permanent playing-off of loyalties and betrayals in a system is a crucial reason why the conflict has continued for so long. Unable to get a peace deal signed, the conflict system of LRA/M and Government of Uganda emerged from the Juba Talks internally strengthened. This meant that the Juba Talks had served to confirm beliefs and the conviction that it was correct to act on them, rather than transform a conflict.

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The Lord's Resistance Army
Violence and Peacemaking in Africa
, pp. 228 - 260
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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