UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Preventing the accidental guerrilla syndrome : reintegration and reconciliation as tools of war and control Morgan, David


Conventional evaluations of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs suggest that the disappointing policy outcomes of DDR are largely the result of shortcomings in their design, and overcome through technical, apolitical, and ostensibly ‘developmental’ solutions. This perspective, however, overlooks the profoundly politicized nature of the post-conflict environment, in which political actors attempt to secure patronage networks and rents and reinforce or alter the balance of power in their favour. This paper will argue that, within this context, reintegration and reconciliation programs can be strategically introduced by the dominant faction in a conflict in order to further pacify its rivals and reinforce its control over the post-war environment. With specific reference to the war in northern Uganda, it will reveal how the amnesty and reintegration programs implemented became tools of the broader counterinsurgency effort, as they were designed to gain leverage over ex-combatants and prevent their return to the war as “accidental guerrillas.” In the process, the government of Uganda secured its monopoly over the means of violence in this region, thereby expanding its control over a historically “unruly” population. Reintegration and reconciliation were largely secondary to these underlying legacies of exploitation and structural violence, presenting numerous implications for post-conflict reconstruction and the international donors that continue to fund these initiatives. By locating the outcomes of peace-building initiatives within the broader historical processes of social conflict, this paper offers an alternative theoretical framework for considering the limitations of reintegration and reconciliation initiatives.

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