With Uganda playing an increasingly prominent role in international relations through peacekeeping and military intervention, enacting draconian laws with foreign policy implications like the Anti-Homosexuality Act, there is growing interest on what shapes its foreign policy.
A collaboration between Centre for Multilateral Affairs (CfMA) and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) Uganda sought to tap into this debate with a report titled ‘Examining Uganda’s Foreign Policy’ that was launched on Sept. 18 at KAS Uganda offices in Kololo, Kampala.
The report addressed hydro-politics and regional security, the impact of Covid19 on Uganda’s multilateral relations, the influence of cyberspace in shaping Uganda’s relations and an assessment of Uganda’s peace support operations. The authors of the report are Moses Owiny, Patricia Namakula, Bosco Asiimwe and Israel Sheila who are all staff at CfMA, an organisation that does research on multilateral affairs.
Asiimwe, author of ‘Hydro politics and Regional Security: assessment of Uganda’s contribution to peace stabilization of the Nile River Basin’ in the report stated that the fight over Nile’s water remains a strategic security threat given that Uganda is the source of the Nile, a river that crosses eleven countries. He stated that the threat is exacerbated when Uganda has to seek permission from Egypt in some aspects of water use of the Nile.
To counter this threat, he wrote that Uganda has actively participated in the formation of all institutions that intended to bring Nile riparian states together in search of a cooperative framework. He added that Uganda has offered herself as a base by providing headquarters of all such institutions since 1986.
Prof. Phillip Kasaija, an international relations lecturer at Makerere University, remarked at the event that the resource of the Nile isn’t increasing while the population that uses the Nile is going up. “We need a new agreement otherwise the next war will be about water.” Egypt and Ethiopia have threatened to go to war over the Nile since Ethiopia constructed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam over the Nile a few years ago.
Kasaija has written on some of the agreements governing the Nile and had other dire warnings. “Only 1% of the Nile has fresh water, the rest is unusable.”
The paper on Covid19 noted that vaccine diplomacy played a critical role in fostering diplomatic relations noting that nations like China were able to project soft power to countries like Uganda which were in critical need of jabs.
It noted that Uganda’s relations with neighbours deteriorated as presidential directives aimed at curbing the pandemic restricted cross border movements.