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6 - ‘Reach Out a Hand and Pull It Back’

The Lord’s Resistance Army’s ‘Connect/Disconnect’ Meets International Galvanic Surges

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 April 2021

Mareike Schomerus
Affiliation:
Overseas Development Institute
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Summary

This chapter introduces two concepts to understand the dynamics at the Juba Peace Talks between the Lord’s Resistance Army/Movement (LRA/M) and the Government of Uganda. For the LRA/M, the main way of approaching the talks was through a mechanism of ‘connect/disconnect’. The LRA/M progressed by alternating its levels of engagement and kept control by maintaining a fluid, often a vague process. Progress and change came through reaching out in certain moments; control was maintained by pulling back in others. In contrast, international actors supporting the Juba Peace Talks function on a mechanism of ‘galvanic surges’: To continue support to the talks needed continuously developing momentum and consensus to remain committed to the peace talks. Running in parallel, the two approaches created a syncopated rhythm. Profound misinterpretation occurred in moments when external momentum hit a period of lesser LRA/M engagement; at other times, strong LRA/M engagement did not coincide with external momentum. The two operational modes mismatched and thus outside support and reassurances for the process were withdrawn just when the LRA/M had entered a time of adjustment.

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The Lord's Resistance Army
Violence and Peacemaking in Africa
, pp. 157 - 193
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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