Summary: The Republic of Uganda strives toward greater arms control concerning SAWLS and has shown commitment toward achieving these goals. The country is signatory to multiple arms control treaties, and has developed greatly in past decades. In contrast to such progress, the Republic of Uganda has recently shown signs of regression due to its involvement in providing arms for South Sudan against an embargo by the EU.
The Republic of Uganda has experienced a long history of violence and conflict due to small arms and light weapons (SALW). With its lack of adequate security, the illicit trade of SALWs has become difficult to track. As a result, Uganda has taken measures to implement greater control over SALW proliferation. In its stated National Action Plan (NAP), the Republic of Uganda is dedicated toward managing and reducing SALW trade, stockpiling, and possession within its borders.
Concerning arms control treaties, the Republic of Uganda is a signatory to major treaties including the BWC, CWC, CTBT, PTBT, NPT, the Geneva conventions, the Geneva Protocol, etc. Pertaining to its own objectives, Uganda has signed and ratified Nairobi Protocol on the Problem of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons, The UN Firearm Protocol, and has committed itself to the United Nations Small Arms Program of Action (UNPoA). Uganda’s role in UNPoA is relative to the country’s commitment in reducing the illicit trade of SALWs and installing stricter measures to access to arms.
Uganda’s participation to these treaties is significant in the country’s initiatives to control SAWL proliferation. As a party to UNPoA, Uganda has been able to receive funding for the implementation of its objectives by other member states of the United Nations. These funds have promoted Uganda’s goals by funding projects to aid the eradication of illicit trade as well as to support Ugandan people that have been victims of conflict. With help from the UN, Uganda has been able to make advancements in its goals for controlled and reduced SAWL proliferation. As a signatory to these treaties Uganda is incentivized to disarm through aid from NGOs to promote the country’s NAP.
In Uganda, the manufacturing of small arms is prohibited, although the country does import and export arms. Uganda only exports handguns to the Czech Republic, and in 2017 handgun exports out of Uganda only accounted for .00017 percent of all exports. Imports to Uganda come from both the United States and the Czech Republic and accounted for .012 percent of the country’s imports for 2017 including military imports. From this data, it is reasonable that the Republic of Uganda is not reliant upon arms trade for regional stability, more so considering its initiatives for disarmament.
The country does not possess any advanced weapons, although it does have a relatively small conventional army. The country possesses land and air forces, although its naval base is weak due to the country’s geographical location being surrounded by land. Uganda’s major threats are internal due to the country’s history of civil wars, although the state of Uganda is currently not at war. However, because of its poor security, there is still conflict and tension majorly within the northern Karamoja region of the country. The surrounding countries of Uganda also pose a threat due to historical tensions and conflict over ethnic boundaries, resources, government disputes, etc.
While these conflicts are still prevalent, it is unsure what the future of Uganda holds in terms of arms control, as the process for reviewing legislation to achieve greater control on SALWs has already taken five years. While Uganda’s process is very slow, it has shown promise in comparison to how much the country has achieved so far. While the Republic of Uganda seemed to be on an upward path toward arms control, in the past months the country breached an embargo on arms by the EU on South Sudan. This event conflicts with Uganda’s recent developments, making the possibility of greater Ugandan arms control for waver.