Seeing and living like a cross-border pastoralist : local struggles over state resources and services on the Uganda-DRC border

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The questions of access to state resources by cross-border people including mobile pastoralists remain difficult, especially when it comes to public goods and services like water, land, routes used for migration, grazing pasture for livestock, education for their children, livestock markets, and human and animal health services. This relates to the fact that East and Central African governments tend to focus on the welfare of communities that are settled in specific spaces. Yet lifestyles of some pastoralist groups are predicated on movements over large areas and across national borders. For them, state borders are often porous. At the same time, as Goodhead, (2008) argues, whenever there are violent conflicts borders are taken seriously; simultaneously acting as sources of security and antagonism, inclusion and exclusion. This means that border areas are not isolated peripheries, but places where populations travel, form networks and political alliances, exchange knowledge and conflict in respect to the historic trajectories and specificities of that borderland. This study draws on ethnographic and border theory epistemologies to show how the cross-border pastoralists (the Batuku) at the Uganda-DRC border have developed a “border cultural context” that is embedded in the networks, institutions, and practices that these cross-border pastoralists have developed over time through cattle-people relations and exchange systems. It is this “border cultural context” that the cross-border pastoralists have used to engage with spatial conditions including drought and other ecological uncertainties as well as their peripherality in terms of accessing state resources and services. Through this “border cultural context”, the cross-border pastoralists create migration routes that are not known to state border officials, and thus succeed in outwitting the state border surveillance systems. This “border cultural context” has been a form of resilience to extreme arid conditions of the region. The study observes that due to the changing dynamics caused by militia activities of abductions, strict border surveillance by the Ugandan state, and enforcement of the capitalistic private ownership of land, the Uganda-DRC porous border has changed to a “hard” one. This has brought about changes that threaten the Batuku’s livelihood as a cross-border pastoralist and exposed their cattle complex economy and social system to great stress than never before.
Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.
Border security -- Uganda-DRC Border, Migrants -- Services for -- Uganda, Migrants -- Services for -- Congo (Democratic Republic), Pastoral systems -- Africa, Batuku (Africa people) -- Civilization, UCTD