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Abstract

The study examines the extent to which American military assistance and foreign aid has perpetuated rather than fully addressed the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict and created an environment conducive to violence in Northern Uganda. To determine the extent to which foreign aid has prolonged the conflict, this study examines Ugandan newspapers and evaluates data collected from eleven semi-structured interviews with Gulu community members and leaders, national-level government officials, and a USAID representative working in Gulu. The interview questions assessed participants’ perceptions regarding regional and ethnic marginalization, space for political opposition, corruption, the benefits and problems related to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and aid agencies, government accountability, and the role that United States foreign aid had played in their lives and communities.

Ultimately the study found that United States’ aid implementation strategies in Northern Uganda have prioritized the United States’ economic and geopolitical and, thus, legitimized President Yoweri Museveni’s undemocratic regime as well as undermined government accountability. The data also indicated a gulf between local and national opinions that may have heightened feelings of marginalization and may further contribute to the North’s unstable atmosphere.

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