Comparative Rebel Governance in Uganda: The influence of rebel objectives on rebel government structure — comparing take‐over to secession

Rebel groups often create governments when they control territory during civil war. These governments often resemble those of conventional states. Rebel governance is a new field of study exploring how insurgents manage civilians and why they organize them so differently from each other. Some rebel groups form elaborate political and administrative structures, while others create only minimal forms. In my book project, I compare two Ugandan rebel groups, the National Resistance Army (NRA) and the Rwenzururu Kingdom Government (RKG). The NRA had more resources and more educated leaders than the RKG. Surprisingly however, the NRA ruled civilians through a “thin” governmental structure, while the RKG insisted on a “thick” one. I am testing an answer to this unexpected behavior by examining the different challenges confronting both groups. The RKG wanted to secede from Uganda, while the NRA intended to take it over. To make its claim to establish a new country credible, the RKG had to establish a full range of new government structures and seek international recognition. The NRA could insist it would run Uganda better than the government it rebelled against without constructing many administrative structures. I extend this discussion by examining other secessionist and take‐over insurgencies.

Project leader(s):
  • Nelson Kasfir (Department of Government, Dartmouth College)

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