Governing Northern Uganda:
: A Postcolonial Critique of Development

  • Clare Rachel Paine

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Economic and Social Studies


The Acholi population, who constitute the area often referred to as Acholi-land in northern Uganda, have been the most affected by the war waged over the past two decades by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). ‘Victims have had lips, hands and fingers cut off [and] some have been forced to slaughter their own parents, or drink the blood of those they have murdered. Several massacres of civilians have occured, and hundreds of thousands of people are living in displacement camps, where conditions are often appaling. The scale of suffereing is immense’ (Allen, 2006: 1). A heavy presence of international development and aid organisations have taken root predominantly in Gulu town, where the enourmous food tents of the World Food Program stand out against the blue sky and the surrounding red dirt, and where the highly secured compounds of UNICEF, WHO and ILO evokes curiosity and interest over what lies beyond the towering walls and bolted entrance gates. During my visits to northern Uganda in 2006, the intensity of development organisations and their projects were not the only aspect of the landscape that caught my attention, the existance of a cultural institute, the Ker Kwaro Acholi (KKA), home to the ‘Paramount Chief’ of Acholi also provoked curiosity. Its ‘re-establishment’ in 2000 with the support of international aid, and its stated objectives to ‘preserve Acholi culture’ in conjunction with achieving ‘gender mainstreaming’ (Ker Kwaro Acholi, 2005) indicated that its position as a ‘representative’ of the Acholi people (Justice and Reconiliation Project, 2007: 4) was inherently problematic
Date of Award2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorRita Abrahamsen (Supervisor)

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