An LRA for everyone : how different actors frame the Lord's Resistance Army
Institute of Development Policy and Management
, p. 92-114
University of Antwerp
During the last decade, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) became a regional problem in the border area of the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic, involving multiple national and international actors. This article explains why these actors often present diametrically opposed images of the LRA instead of developing a unified vision. More specifically, the article discusses how the Ugandan and Congolese governments and armies, and the US government and advocacy groups, each frame the LRA differently. These various frames are influenced by the actors' interests and by the specific historical development of political relations between them. Politically influential constituencies played a significant role in this endeavour. In the US, lobby groups such as Invisible Children, Enough, and Resolve had an important impact on the way in which the American government framed the LRA. Conversely, the lack of such a powerful constituency in the LRA-affected countries gave these governments ample space to frame the LRA in a variety of ways. The lack of reliable information about the current capacities of the LRA, combined with the LRA's lack of a strong and coherent image, further contributed to this situation. In short, the ways in which the LRA is framed enabled these key actors to pursue goals that may remain distant from the reality of the LRA.