Sustainable disarmament and developmentThe challenge of small arms in Karamoja, Uganda

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Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
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Award date30 Apr 2007
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Abstract

Weapons collection programs have become a critical activity of post-conflict reconstruction, a product of the merging of development and security policy in the post Cold War era. However, while the discourse of the impact of small arms in developing countries centres on human security, disarmament activities favour the creation of strong states by returning the monopoly of the use of force to the state irrespective of the local norms on gun possession and use. The logic of weapons collection programs thus suffers an incongruity between the referent object to be secured (i. e. individuals) and the actual means of achieving a subjective state of security. Previous literature has favoured the international and national levels of analysis to develop a standard model of micro disarmament to the detriment of the particular local and gender sensitive context of the programs.
This dissertation will use the case study of the 2001-2002 weapons collection program in Karamoja, Uganda to explore the difficulties of reconciling the creation of a strong central state with the needs of a pastoralist community in East Africa. Based on the current understanding of conflict in Africa and the strategy of peacebuilding amongst external stakeholders, this research will examine to what extent the disarmament program adequately addressed the demand side issues of small arms and light weapons in Karamoja. It questions whether the security needs and perceptions of all stakeholders were met, in particular, the more vulnerable members of the community such as women and children. The objective of the dissertation is to contribute an original and critical analysis of the policy of disarmament programs by examining the utility and limitations of micro disarmament activities in the peacebuilding and development process in Uganda.