Joseph Kony, the LRA's leader, claims to be guided by the Holy Spirit, and the spiritual order (the different spirits and spiritual rules) plays an important role in structuring the LRA and the individual fighters' behaviour. Based on long-standing research with former LRA combatants in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, this paper discusses the forms of agency, which these combatants had within the movement, and this cosmological space.
This space serves a range of strategic functions for the LRA as an organisation, but also is a profound lived experience for the LRA fighters themselves. Based on research on these experiences, the presentation engages with questions of agency and domination within the LRA: to what extent were LRA fighters controlled by the LRA, and in particular the messianic Kony - who not only was using these 'spiritual' powers, but also brutal military control?
Kristof Titeca is a lecturer based at the Institute of Development Policy (University of Antwerp). His research interests are governance and conflict in spaces where the state is only weakly present, particularly in Central and Eastern Africa. His main research foci are: