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Petty and grand corruption and the conflict dynamics in northern Uganda

Journal article
Authors Malin Nystrand
Published in Third World Quarterly
Volume 35
Issue 5
Pages 821-835
ISSN 0143-6597
Publication year 2014
Published at School of Global Studies, Peace and Development Research
Pages 821-835
Language en
Keywords corruption; local business owners; Uganda; conflict
Subject categories Peace and conflict research, Empirical conflict research, Peace and development research


This study explores the relationship between corruption and conflict in northern Uganda, using the perspectives of local business owners as an inroad. The purpose is to highlight how various types of corruption can be related to conflict dynamics in different ways, depending on the context. The article argues that in post-war northern Uganda grand corruption can be seen as related to the conflict dynamics, while petty corruption is generally not seen that way. At the centre of the conflict in northern Uganda lies a deep mutual mistrust between the population in the north and the central government. Therefore corruption in the public sector that occurs at the central level, in particular with regard to funds aimed at the north, tends to be associated with the conflict, whereas the various types of petty corruption encountered by local businesspersons in Gulu, the largest town in northern Uganda, are seen by these actors as normal or as ‘the way things are’.

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