Inter-Ethnic Conflicts, Counter Raids and Widowhood in North-Eastern Uganda

Charles Amone, Kyambogo University, Uganda
Joseph Okware, Kyambogo University, Uganda
Zebrone Wangoa, Kyambogo University, Uganda
Published: January 31, 2023

Citation: Amone, C., Okware. J., & Wangoa, Z. (2023). Inter-Ethnic Conflicts, Counter Raids and Widowhood in North-Eastern Uganda. IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(2).


North-Eastern Uganda is a semi-arid region where inter-ethnic conflicts, cattle raids and violence are common. The nomadic Karamojong are the inhabitants of this region. A typical Karamojong man is socially defined by the number of his wives and cattle. As cattle, sheep, goats and camels are required for the payment of the bridal price, a Karamojong man spends most of his time raiding them in order to acquire more wives. Often, many warriors die in those raids, leaving behind young widows who, by age-old tradition, have to be inherited by the husband’s brother or clan mate. This article discusses the centrality of women, widows and widowhood in the inter-ethnic conflicts, raids and counter- raids that have characterized north-eastern Uganda for centuries. Using a qualitative approach involving key informant’s interviews, we analyzed the series of socio-cultural practices and customary laws that many Karamojong women and widows are subjected to during their struggles for basic needs, human rights, and dignity. The interviews were conducted from March to August 2021 in Karenga, Nakapiripirit and Amudat Districts of Karamoja, and in the suburbs of Mbale and Kampala Cities where a number of Karamojong women now live.


cattle rustling, ethnic conflicts, Karamojong widows, widow inheritance