Villagization may be used as a tactic by a government or military power to facilitate control over a previously scattered rural population believed to harbour disloyal or rebel elements. Examples include Indian removal to reservations by the United States, the British New Villages programme to defeat communist rebels during the Malayan Emergency, the U.S. "Strategic Hamlet Program" in the Vietnam War and the "protected villages" strategy of Uganda intended for use against the Lord's Resistance Army insurgency. The British colonial government in Kenya used a similar approach to exert control over Kikuyu tribespeople during the Mau Mau Uprising, which in turn inspired the "Manyatta" strategy of independent Kenya against ethnic Somalis during the Shifta War. However, forced resettlement may sometimes be counter-productive where it increases resentment among an already restive population against the ruling regime.
Villagization may also be used as part of a programme of collectivization of farming and other economic activity, as in Tanzania under the Ujamaa policy set out in the Arusha Declaration, and in Ethiopia under Mengistu.