• Local Authority and Accountability in Uganda. The Role of Mobile Money in the Revival of Customary Institutions Among the Acholi
  • Petti, Raffaello <1990>


  • SPS/13 Storia e istituzioni dell'Africa


  • In the mid-1990s, the government led by Yoweri Museveni inaugurated a state-led process of ‘resurgence’ of traditional authorities in Uganda, posing an end to the 30 years long ban enacted by Milton Obote in 1967. Among the Acholi of Northern Uganda, the revival of chieftaincy has unfolded in a context characterised by profound disruptions of the social and material fabric of society caused by two decades of war and displacement, as well as by the massive intervention of humanitarian and development agencies. Although the latter bolstered the reinstalment of chiefs and framed them as crucial agents of the post-war pacification and reconstruction agenda, nowadays many traditional leaders are still struggling to regain their legitimacy and prestige. This thesis investigates how, in the process of ‘bringing the clans back together’, the institutions of traditional authority are being restored, reshaped, and reinvented in contemporary Acholiland, and how such institutional changes reflect shifts in power arrangements. Further, it scrutinises the narratives that are deployed to legitimise such transformations, and how the uptake of new mobile money services reconfigures the financial aspects of such processes – especially in the case of migrants-chiefs relations. In particular, this dissertation tackles four issues. First, it analyses the processes of formalisation and codification of customary law and hierarchies of traditional authority. Second, it analyses how the adoption of mobile money has reshaped the mechanisms of resource pooling and remittances delivery in Acholi clans towards an enhanced accountability of traditional leaders. Third, it investigates the rise of new institutions for the coercive enforcement of customary law, which are backed by the state. Fourth, it shows how traditional leaders are reinventing the mechanisms of resource extraction from their subjects by establishing covert forms of taxation.


  • 2021-11-05


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Petti, Raffaello (2021) Local Authority and Accountability in Uganda. The Role of Mobile Money in the Revival of Customary Institutions Among the Acholi, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze politiche e sociali , 33 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/9929.