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The master of institutional multiplicity? The shifting politics of regime survival, state-building and democratisation in Museveni’s Uganda

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Current understandings of regime survival in Uganda tend to over-emphasise the role of ‘semi-authoritarian’ and ‘neopatrimonial’ politics and neglect the extent to which the regime deploys alternative strategies of political rule that also involve ‘soft’ forms of power and formal elements of state-building. The regime’s extensive deployment of ‘soft’ power includes President Museveni’s responsiveness to popular concerns and fears and the careful management of political rivals. Meanwhile, certain pockets of bureaucratic effectiveness have played an important role in securing legitimacy amongst both the voters and international actors who help maintain the regime in power. Viewed in comparison to previous elections in Uganda, the 2016 presidential poll revealed the regime’s ability to achieve a balance between the extensive deployment of both hard and soft forms of power and of both formal and informal strategies of rule. However, whilst this capacity to manage ‘institutional multiplicity’ has underpinned the regime’s success in maintaining itself in power for over three decades, a closer understanding of how this balancing act is achieved helps expose the increasingly contradictory logics of regime survival, democratisation and state-building in Uganda.
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The master of institutional multiplicity? The
shifting politics of regime survival, state-building
and democratisation in Museveni’s Uganda
Frederick Golooba-Mutebi & Sam Hickey
To cite this article: Frederick Golooba-Mutebi & Sam Hickey (2016) The master of
institutional multiplicity? The shifting politics of regime survival, state-building and
democratisation in Museveni’s Uganda, Journal of Eastern African Studies, 10:4, 601-618, DOI:
10.1080/17531055.2016.1278322
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The master of institutional multiplicity? The shifting politics of
regime survival, state-building and democratisation in
Musevenis Uganda
Frederick Golooba-Mutebi and Sam Hickey
Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre, Global Development Institute, University of
Manchester, Manchester, UK
ABSTRACT
Current understandings of regime survival in Uganda tend to over-
emphasise the role of semi-authoritarianand neopatrimonial
politics and neglect the extent to which the regime deploys
alternative strategies of political rule that also involve softforms
of power and formal elements of state-building. The regimes
extensive deployment of softpower includes President
Musevenis responsiveness to popular concerns and fears and the
careful management of political rivals. Meanwhile, certain pockets
of bureaucratic effectiveness have played an important role in
securing legitimacy amongst both the voters and international
actors who help maintain the regime in power. Viewed in
comparison to previous elections in Uganda, the 2016 presidential
poll revealed the regimes ability to achieve a balance between
the extensive deployment of both hard and soft forms of power
and of both formal and informal strategies of rule. However,
whilst this capacity to manage institutional multiplicityhas
underpinned the regimes success in maintaining itself in power
for over three decades, a closer understanding of how this
balancing act is achieved helps expose the increasingly
contradictory logics of regime survival, democratisation and state-
building in Uganda.
ARTICLE HISTORY
Received 19 August 2016
Accepted 16 December 2016
KEYWORDS
Uganda; elections; regime
maintenance;
democratisation; state-
building
Re-theorising the politics of regime maintenance in Uganda
Ugandas 2016 presidential elections offered important insights into the forms of political
rule that the National Resistance Movement (NRM), and more specifically its leader, Pre-
sident Yoweri Museveni, have employed to maintain power for three decades. In this
paper we seek to contribute to a fuller appreciation of the Museveni regimes strategies
of political rule by going beyond a tendency to emphasise certain aspects of semi-author-
itarian and neopatrimonial rule in Uganda. The role played by coercion, repression and
electoral malpractice, and the complicity of international actors in this, have rightly
been widely publicised.
1
Yet while these accounts tell much of the story, they tend to over-
look two important aspects of political rule in Uganda that have been characteristic of the
NRM regime since its early years,
2
both of which played significant roles in 2016. The first
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
CONTACT Frederick Golooba-Mutebi fgmutebi@yahoo.com
JOURNAL OF EASTERN AFRICAN STUDIES, 2016
VOL. 10, NO. 4, 601618
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17531055.2016.1278322
involves recognising that the regimes deployment of hardpower, involving various
forms of coercion, repression and intimidation, has a counterpart in its extensive use of
softpower, often in the form of persuasion, co-optation and various inducements that
rest on the informal use of state power and resources.
3
Musevenis capacity for maintain-
ing power through the more subtle use of soft powerto win and maintain the support of
diverse groups includes his responsiveness to popular concerns in terms of his poverty
tours and distribution of development resources, his clever manipulation of popular
fears about instability and a return to the bad old days, and his management of political
rivals, all of which were used extensively around the 2016 elections. The second move
involves recognising that these informal strategies of rule and governance also have
their counterpoint, whereby formal, rules-based governance are also enabled in Uganda.
Although these take the form of certain bureaucratic pockets of effectiveness, rather
than a fully-fledged process of state-building, this has played a significant role in maintain-
ing the semblance of statenessand generating legitimacy at both international and local
levels. The 2016 elections saw a small but significant countervailing response to the per-
sonalisation of the state bureaucracy in Uganda, whereby the economic technocracy that
has helped maintain macroeconomic stability and enabled increased living standards was
allowed to reclaim its autonomy even while other pockets of effectiveness were being
subject to capture. We argue that viewing the 2016 elections in comparative perspective
over time helps reveal the extent to which political rule in Uganda rests on the capacity
of the ruling coalition to keep these alternative strategies of political rule in some sort
of balance with each other over time.
In making this argument we follow closely the guidance offered by Sandrine Perrot and
her fellow authors in drawing attention to both the hybrid nature of the NRM regime and
the considerable influence that past election processes had on the strategies deployed in
relation to the 2016 elections:
one cannot properly understand the 2011 Uganda electoral outcomes through the sole issue
of the consolidation of democracy. We have to take into account the complexities and subtle-
ties of the hybrid nature of the NRM regime and past election processes.
4
In theoretical terms, however, we argue that the notion of institutional hybridityis too
vague a concept to grasp the nature of political rule in Uganda, and suggest two related
theoretical moves that can assist here. The rst involves moving beyond the tendency
to assert that Uganda should be considered as a hybridregime, through labelling some
institutional forms and political strategies as formalor informalwithout examining
how the interplay and ordering of these alternative modes of governance are able to
achieve particular effects (in this case of regime maintenance). Here we follow Goodfellow
and Lindemanns argument that the situation in Uganda is better described as insti-
tutional multiplicitythan as hybridity.
5
The term institutional multiplicityhelps
dene a situation where multiple rule systems confront economic and political actors,
providing distinct and different normative frameworks and incentive structures in
which they act.
6
Unlike the notion of hybridity, which assumes a direct mixing and
melding of institutional arrangements into new and distinct forms, institutional multi-
plicity allows for the relatively discrete operation of different rule systems in a given
context and draws attention to the signicance of achieving some sort of balance
between alternative institutional forms and political strategies of rule. In their study,
602 F. GOLOOBA-MUTEBI AND S. HICKEY
which focuses on the interaction between formal state-based institutions and informal
non-state institutions, Goodfellow and Lindemann show how institutional multiplicity
can be either concordant or discordant: discordance occurs when informal institutions
overlap with and/or undermine formal institutions, and may lead to an increased risk
of state breakdown and violent conict.
We would go further here and suggest that the balance referred to within the notion of
institutional multiplicity needs further theorisation in relation to the context within which
institutional multiplicity emerges and the political imperatives to achieve some degree of
concordance or equilibrium. As Goodfellow and Lindemann themselves note,
Hybrid governancecannot be forged in the abstract: its chances of success depend on
whether there is a fundamental discordance between (formal and informal) institutions
which in turn depends on deeper historical factors and the prevailing political calculus in
a given context.
7
One way to capture this sense of history and political context is to draw on recent
theorising around politics in Africa (and beyond) that uses the notion of political settle-
mentto go beyond the study of institutions per se in order to examine how institutional
arrangements are shaped by underlying relations of power.
8
A political settlement can be
understood as a combinationofastructureofpowerandinstitutionsatthelevelofa
society that is mutually compatibleand also sustainablein terms of economic and
political viability.
9
Held together by a series of deals between political and economic
elites,formalinstitutionswillonlybebuiltandallowedtofunctioneffectivelyifthey
first distribute power to the most powerful groups. This move helps locate the political
management of institutional multiplicity in relation to the underlying balance of power
between elites and between elites and popular actors, and the wider imperatives of main-
taining stability. It helps recognise that whilst processes of democratisation are closely
related to the shifting dynamics of power both between elites (e.g. through processes
of elite exit from ruling coalitions) and between elites and lower-level groups (e.g.
through increased demand-making around election time), this dynamic process is
always taking place in relation to other ongoing projects of regime maintenance and
state formation. Importantly, building and maintaining political settlements, or what
somerefertoastheprocessofnegotiating statehoodin Africa, has always involved
transnational as well as national actors and forms of governance.
10
This requires that
the deals that ruling coalitions make with elite and popular actors at national and
local levels need to be kept in some sort of balance with the deals they make with external
actors, particularly those able to distribute the resources and legitimacy required to
retain statehood.
Using this theoretical perspective to interrogate the 2016 presidential elections helps
reveal the often contradictory logics of regime survival and legitimacy in contemporary
Uganda, and the important implications this has for the future of political order and
democratisation in the country beyond the recent poll. The paper is structured as
follows. The next section locates our argument in historical perspective, and uses the
theoretical framework introduced here to reveal the origins of these strategies of rule
and their interaction with Ugandas political settlement over time. The third section
then focuses on the balance between hard and soft forms of power employed during
the 2016 presidential elections in comparison to earlier polls, before the next section
JOURNAL OF EASTERN AFRICAN STUDIES 603
uses a comparison of the 2011 and 2016 elections to reveal the shifting balance between
formal and informal modes of governance over time. The fifth section summarises the
overall argument and reflects on the broader implications of this analysis for the future
patterns of political order and democratisation in Uganda. Evidence is drawn from inter-
views undertaken with a range of key informants in the months leading up to and follow-
ing the 2016 elections, as well as newspaper reports and wider ongoing research into
Ugandan politics.
11
The perils of maintaining Ugandas political settlement over time
Ugandas post-colonial inheritance, which included a legacy of divide and rule politics, a
weak state and uneven development, has constituted a daunting challenge for the coun-
trys political leadership.
12
At 30 years and counting, President Museveni has spent
more years in power than all of his seven predecessors combined, and maintained a
more stable political settlement than any other leader. To understand how this has been
achieved, it is worth comparing the strategies of rule employed by Milton Obote and
Idi Amin with those deployed by Museveni, whose approach to forming and sustaining
a particular kind of political settlement in Uganda over time is critical to understanding
how the 2016 elections played out.
A common attribute of all three political leaders was their ascendance to power through
violent means: Obote and Amin through coups detat, and Museveni through an armed
insurgency. This had implications for their governments going forward, especially regard-
ing their relationship with the groups that had been dominant in, or the major supporters
of, the previous government. Obotes coup put his subsequent administration in direct
antagonism with the Baganda. In deposing their king and abolishing the monarchy,
Obote set up his government against a formidable opponent. In the years that followed,
Obote did little to resolve his differences with Baganda monarchists, helping to ensure
that they would become key players in his ouster by Idi Amin.
13
At the time Idi Amin
seized power in 1971, Obote had ensured increased recruitment into the army of large
numbers of members of his ethnic group, the Langi and their cousins, the Acholi.
14
What seemed like a smart political manoeuvre to shore up his support, however,
proved costly to the two groups, with Amin slaughtering large numbers of Langi and
Acholi army officers. The slaughter forced large numbers of militarily trained dissidents
into exile, creating a reservoir of potential recruits for the Tanzania-supported insurgency
that would topple Amin in 1979.
15
When Obote returned from eight years in exile to win the 1980 general elections, the
Baganda supported his rival, Paulo Ssemogerere en masse, despite having previously
opposed the Democratic Party because of its perceived anti-monarchy orientation. Follow-
ing Obotes disputed electoral victory, Museveni opted to wage a guerrilla war against the
government. Museveni proved adept at exploiting Obotes continuing differences with the
Baganda, engineering an alliance between his rebel group and the Baganda-dominated
Uganda Freedom Movement. The alliance produced the NRM, with Museveni as the
leader of the military wing, the National Resistance Army (NRA). The NRA opted to
base its operations in Buganda where the Bagandas anti-Obote orientation guaranteed
it popular support and a large pool of potential supporters for military recruitment.
The Obote governments scorched-earth response to the insurgency
16
and its persecution
604 F. GOLOOBA-MUTEBI AND S. HICKEY
of Rwandan refugees, close cousins of Musevenis Bahima ethnic group, handed the NRA
another pool from which to recruit fighters and operatives.
17
As such, one of the main reasons why pre-Museveni leaders in Uganda managed only
short stints in power was their failure to achieve a political settlement based around a
broad-based coalition that was sufficiently inclusive of other powerful elite actors.
Instead, both presided over the alienation of significant social groups and the shrinking
of the political arena,
18
which drove large numbers of their members into exile from
where they could organise and stage insurgencies that enabled them and their allies to
recapture power.
19
The ability of exiled groups to organise and topple sitting governments
sprung from this failure or neglect of the imperative to settle political differences with
powerful enemies, or at the very least engineer divisions within their ranks.
A further important factor was their alienation of regional and international actors that,
with assistance to exiled dissident groups or internal rivals, could create conditions for
their downfall. Obotes flirting with leftist ideology, his attempt to get Uganda to turn
leftin the context of the cold war,
20
and his governments nationalisation of the assets
of Western companies, helped to encourage the British government to support the
coup against his government. And his flirtation with the anti-Israel government in
Sudan drove the Israelis squarely behind Idi Amin.
21
This contrasts sharply with Museve-
nis approach to handling external actors: as we discuss below, the deals he has forged with
these actors have been pivotal in ensuring that he has remained at the apex of politics in
Uganda for this prolonged period.
Between a rock and a soft-place: regime maintenance under Museveni
The capacity of the Museveni-led ruling coalition to establish and maintain a political
settlement over a prolonged period has rested on achieving a balance between a
number of often contradictory strategies of political rule.
22
These strategies have included
building a sufficiently inclusive ruling coalition through a mixture of compulsion and per-
suasion, and a capacity to triangulate between domestic and transnational actors, interests
and projects. On seizing power in 1986, President Museveni and the NRM sought to estab-
lish a broad-based government involving leading figures from potentially rival political
parties, whose activities they proceeded to suspend in the context of a no-partypolitical
system. This was driven both by a concern with nation-building and rebuilding state legiti-
macy, and a pragmatic understanding of the politics of ethno-regional balance in Uganda,
whereby Musevenis own minority group from western Uganda recognised the need to
build a solid alliance with Baganda as the most numerous and powerful group. A
central aim was to facilitate an elite consensus that would shun the old politics of exclusion
and factionalism which had led to successive periods of conflict and instability in post-
colonial Uganda, whereby narrow political coalitions tended to exclude significant
socio-political groups who in turn saw violence as the only route towards gaining
access to state power.
23
The extensive process of decentralisation was a key part of this
strategy of reaching out to citizens on an inclusive basis, whilst also extending the reach
of the state.
24
Within this wider process, Museveni employed a double-pronged strategy for dealing
with his past and would-be future opponents. One prong was to invite them into the gov-
ernment, which helped signal that, unlike his predecessors, he was neither a killer nor bent
JOURNAL OF EASTERN AFRICAN STUDIES 605
on exacting revenge. That bought him and the NRM time first to assert their control over
the country and impose order. Secondly, it enabled them to neutralise, at least for a while,
groups that possessed the potential to challenge their authority. By offering amnesties to
rather than pursuing and killing those who had surrendered or laid down their arms, the
communities to which they belonged were deprived of reasons for providing them with
support that is critical to enabling insurgencies to succeed. The significant exception to
this general rule is the north; the new government failed to convince northerners, particu-
larly those Acholi soldiers returning to the north after the defeat of Obotes forces, that the
National Resistance Army was not bent on revenge, or that the few invitations to north-
erners to form part of the new government signalled a genuinely inclusive approach.
25
The second prong consisted of using force against those who were either bent on
opposing the new government or for whom strategies of co-optation failed. This strategy
was deployed in relation to groups such as Force Obote Back Again in the Teso region, the
West Nile Bank Front, the Allied Democratic Forces and the more than 20 others that
sprung up later, including the Lords Resistance Army. Although there was no abandon-
ment of efforts to co-opt significant actors from rebellious groups, this approach included
the use of collective punishment, sometimes with the complicity of international actors.
26
In contrast to Obote and Idi Amins aggressive treatment of exiled dissidents, Museveni
has generally opted to negotiate for their return and resettlement in Uganda, granting
them resettlement packages that include residential houses and generous allowances or
one-off payments. This strategy has seen the return to the country of the families and rela-
tives of former presidents, including Idi Amin and Obote, some of whose children are now
employed by his government.
27
This approach both weakens opponents of the regime and
helps extend its political networks.
The formal dimension of Ugandas political settlement
An important corollary of this extensive use of personalised and informal forms of power
to maintain a political settlement in Uganda would be the subordination of formal insti-
tutions, whether political, bureaucratic or economic, to the wider imperatives of maintain-
ing political order and survival. Most observers converge around the strong sense that
patronage politics has become pervasive across the public realm in Uganda, and that
the direction of travel is generally towards a higher degree of personalised and informal
rule. Some go further and argue that this has been exacerbated under the return of
multi-party politics in 2005, which has made it more difficult to maintain the support
of elites and increased the level of popular demands from below.
28
However, it is striking that since the early days of the NRM government, and alongside
what would become the long-term undermining of formal institutions of governance,
there has been an effort to maintain a high degree of capacity and autonomy in certain
areas of the state. Accounts that focus only on informalisation risk overlooking the long-
standing tendency of the regime to operate in a fairly rules-based manner in significant
areas of Ugandas national political economy, particularly those deemed critical to per-
forming the central tasks of sovereign statehood within the current international order.
This includes the provision of order and security and economic governance, including
the capacity to generate revenue, ensure macro-economic stability and govern resources
effectively. In each area there is evidence that the NRM regime has undertaken significant
606 F. GOLOOBA-MUTEBI AND S. HICKEY
efforts to ensure both the capacity and autonomy of officials working in such areas. The
fact that Uganda has recorded high rates of economic growth for 30 years rests to an
important extent on the capacity of government to maintain a high degree of macro-econ-
omic stability through a relatively impressive economic technocracy, particularly the Bank
of Uganda (BoU) and certain departments within the Ministry of Finance, Planning and
Economic Development (MFPED).
29
Although highly contentious in a number of ways,
30
the autonomy afforded to this economic technocracy has been critical to regime mainten-
ance and legitimacy in at least two ways. First, it has helped maintain Ugandas standing
within the global economic order, both amongst international development agencies and
by extension to other sources of international finance, whereby receiving a clean bill of
health from the IMF helps to signal a governments credit-worthiness. Second, the high
levels of growth and foreign aid that have been enabled through the maintenance of
macroeconomic stability have helped secure impressive rates of poverty reduction and
high levels of social expenditure in ways that has helped the regime to secure legitimacy
and popularity amongst rural voters in particular.
31
The origins of this commitment to maintaining some degree of bureaucratic autonomy
with certain areas of the state needs to be located within a transnational as well as national
context. After an initial period of high-spending and flirting with alternative economic
models, President Museveni was persuaded in the early 1990s by the then-Permanent Sec-
retary at MFPED and later Governor of the BoU, Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, to
effectively hand over the reins of economic governance to the economic technocracy,
thus enabling the Governor to take a lead role in handling donors and building up a
cadre of highly competent public servants in the key economic institutions.
32
In many
ways, the Governor personified the embedded autonomy
33
required for states to
perform developmental functions, in that he maintained close relations with the executive
while keeping key economic institutions largely free from political pressure. Given their
strategic importance, the regime remained happy to allow (if not actively promote)
pockets of effectiveness, particularly within the MFPED and BoU, in ways that were
not apparent in other areas of public service.
The interplay of formal and informal strategies of rule has played an increasingly pro-
minent role in recent elections in Uganda. Drawing attention to this helps link commen-
tary on Ugandas elections with wider debates on how processes of democratisation are
closely entwined with longer-term processes of state-formation and the imperative of
maintaining political order, and of how the balance between these is critical to the
quality of governance that emerges,
34
a debate we return to in the conclusion. Before
that, we use the following two sections to examine the interplay between hard/soft and
formal/informal strategies of rule around the 2016 elections respectively.
Between soft- and hard-power: winning elections in Uganda
The relative deployment of soft and hard forms of power at the 2016 presidential elections
was strongly informed by the balance that had been achieved between these strategies
during previous elections. In 2006, and apparently taken by surprise by Kizza Besigyes
announcement to stand against him again as presidential candidate for a second time,
Museveni reacted strongly in deploying the hard power of the security forces to repress
the opposition. This followed the highly repressive treatment of opposition politicians
JOURNAL OF EASTERN AFRICAN STUDIES 607
and voters during the 2001 election campaign, when the vigilante Kalangala Action Plan
was at its most vicious, and where army generals such as Lieutenant General Henry Tumu-
kunde were deployed across the country to issue threats of a return to armed violence
should they fail to support the NRM. This sustained use of hard power catalysed a
strong response from the key groups that the regime requires to stay in power. Voters,
including but not only Northerners, awarded the opposition a higher proportion of the
vote than in 2001, in part reflecting popular disgust at these strong-arm tactics. Senior
NRM officials also expressed disquiet at such tactics, wondering aloud in Cabinet meetings
what distinguished them from earlier regimes. Finally, key donors removed some of the
general budget support that then constituted a significant proportion of government
expenditure.
35
The lesson was swiftly learned and the deployment of soft-power would
dominate the run-up to the 2011 elections. This included the extensive poverty tours
that the president started to undertake from 2007 onwards, particularly in the North
where state operatives undertook a major charm offensive to try and overcome the histori-
cally high levels of opposition to the NRM in this region. Museveni also sought to
strengthen his ruling coalition at the base more broadly, appointing deputy resident dis-
trict commissioners and making payments to local councillors whilst protecting them
from electoral competition. At the elite level, a sustained and successful effort to co-opt
opposition politicians into the NRM was made, with a succession of erstwhile opponents
agreeing to support the NRM in the months leading up to the poll. Above all, the extensive
use of soft rather than hard power in 2011 was captured in the huge amounts of money
that were poured into the campaign.
36
By the time of the election, which Museveni
won with a significantly increased majority, there was relatively little need for repression
or extensive rigging.
The hard and soft uses of military power
One of the most publicised aspects of the 2016 elections was the important role played by
elements of the security forces, and particularly the intimidation role of crime preven-
tors.
37
Here we draw attention to the broader and more varied roles played by the army
and security organs in the run-up to the 2016 elections, which in turn reflects the critical
role of these institutional actors in maintaining Ugandas political settlement.
38
Some of
this was clearly repressive, as with the prevention of parties from holding public events
under the Public Order Management Act and acts of intimidation such as arbitrary
arrests and detention of their supporters. This has always been common during election
campaign periods, particularly in areas where opposition parties have a strong pres-
ence.
39
Moreover, the fact that the security forces have played this repressive role for
a long time, including during Ugandas prolonged period of no-party rule, severely
stunted the development of political parties in ways that has reduced the need for repres-
sive tactics during contemporary campaigns. By the time the suspension of multi-party
politics had ended in 2005, opposition parties had been weakened by their inability to
recruit, their cannibalisation by the NRM and lack of financial resources.
40
The 2016
elections were thus indelibly marked by the earlier repression of political parties.
There is also credible evidence of vote tampering including ballot stuffing and multiple
voting by specially deployed army officers, usually where favoured NRM candidates risk
defeat.
608 F. GOLOOBA-MUTEBI AND S. HICKEY
Interestingly, the security forces also assist the president in his deployment of soft
power. Before each presidential election campaign begins, President Museveni establishes
multiple campaign task forces. Besides the main formal party task force, there are several
others comprising different distinct groups, among them army officers, police officers, and
security operatives. They play multiple roles that go beyond intimidation to include the
distribution of cash and party paraphernalia in the countryside. During the 2016 cam-
paigns the key player here was Lieutenant General (rtd.) Henry Tumukunde, rehabilitated
after a prolonged period in internal political exile and now brought back to deploy a strat-
egy based largely on deploying soft rather than the hard power he had used in 2001.
41
Operating outside the formal NRM campaign task force, he went everywhere before Muse-
veni arrived to campaign, canvassing local opinion on a wide range of issues and handing
out money to soften the ground for the president and, when necessary, sabotaging opposi-
tion candidatesrallies.
42
After the election he was appointed to the cabinet as Minister for
Security.
Placating and co-opting opponents
While Milton Obote and Idi Amin created enemies that played key roles in toppling
their governments, Museveni is notable for reaching out to his opponents and regaining
their support. Significant examples of this around the 2016 elections include Tumu-
kunde and even more notably the Vice President Gilbert Bukenya. Sacked after the
2011 elections, Bukenya fell out badly with Museveni and even formally declared his
intention to run against him.
43
He was eventually enticed back to Musevenis camp
by President Musevenis son and commander of the armys Special Forces Command,
Major General Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
44
Another member of the ruling family and mili-
tary man, retired General Salim Saleh (born Caleb Akandwanaho), brother to President
Museveni, played a similar role of reaching out to rivals and opponents after the election,
as part of trying to calm the tensions that erupted after Museveni was declared winner
amidst popular claims that he had won through fraud. Operating from a small hotel in a
secluded area of one of Kampalas suburbs, General Saleh invited several opposition
figures and critics of his brothers government in pursuit of cobbling together a
broad-based government. Although some turned down offers of ministerial positions,
others joined the government and helped create the impression of a president who is
keen to reach accommodation with his opponents. Given both popular support
45
and
international pressure
46
for the ruling party and opposition parties to seek ways of
working together, this move has helped further secure the regimes standing within
core constituencies.
The formal dimension of maintaining Ugandas globalised political
settlement
Approaching the 2016 elections in comparative perspective with earlier polls also helps to
explore our second dimension of how the Museveni regime manages institutional multi-
plicity in Uganda. Here we use a comparative case study of the different roles played by the
economic technocracy with regards the 2011 and 2016 elections to explore how the
JOURNAL OF EASTERN AFRICAN STUDIES 609
balancing of formal and informal strategies of rule over time has helped maintain regime
survival within Ugandas increasingly contested political settlement.
Buying the 2011 elections: the politics of inflationary patronage in Uganda
The NRM strategy for winning the 2011 elections was predicated on the extensive use of
softrather than hardpower, most notably through the deployment of large amounts of
cash.
47
According to some reports, the ruling party spent an estimated $350mn overall on
the 2011 election.
48
This strategy involved undermining previously protected pockets of
bureaucratic effectiveness within the economic technocracy in pursuit of political ends.
Most striking was the use of supplementary budgets to facilitate unscheduled expenditure
on campaign costs and military hardware, the latter justified with reference to regional
security concerns. The first supplementary budget was in early 2011 immediately prior
to the campaigns. Most of the money went to State House for election-related costs
after it reported running out of money.
49
The size of the request involving an additional
USh80.6bn, some of which would come from the Consolidated Fund which donor general
budgetary support went into took donors and government officials by surprise. In the
aftermath of the election, the Governor admitted in an interview with The Financial
Times that the BoU was complicit in these efforts, including authorising government to
withdraw 720 million US dollars to finance the purchase of fighter jets.
50
In 2014, the Gov-
ernor denied the further charge that BoU printed moneyto assist the Governments re-
election, but admitted that the BoU allowed the recirculation of old 50,000 Ugandan Schil-
ling bills and said he was misled by the government into indirectly financing electioneer-
ing activities in 2011, an action which plunged the countrys economy into chaos.
51
The economic effects were indeed highly damaging. Inflation in the months after the
elections reached 30.5% and led to punishing interest rates in a bid to reduce the levels
to single figures. As one report noted,
after pouring lots of cash into the economy, the Central Bank introduced new policy instru-
ments which could help mop up excess liquidity in the economy. The new policy instruments
had negative implications as private sector borrowing plunged with economic growth retro-
gressing to its lowest in over a decade.
52
Foreign reserves were depleted, to the extent that they only covered four months of foreign
exchange earnings and Uganda experienced subdued rates of growth at 3.2% rates over
20112012, as compared to the average of over 8% between 2000 and 20072008 and
of 7% during the 1990s.
53
This move shook three pillars of Ugandas political settlement, the ramifications of
which would strongly inform the strategies used at the 2016 elections. The first was
that the economic downturn was felt particularly strongly by those urban dwellers more
susceptible to higher prices and lower levels of economic activity. These formed the van-
guard of the walk-to-work riots and other related forms of civil unrest over the post-elec-
tion period. Second was the deal between politicians and senior bureaucrats to maintain
macroeconomic stability by enabling economic technocrats to work with autonomy, a
deal that as discussed above had largely held since the early 1990s. As we see below,
this also prompted a serious backlash in the run-up to the 2016 polls and helped shape
the political strategy employed there. Finally, the move risked undermining the
610 F. GOLOOBA-MUTEBI AND S. HICKEY
international legitimacy that Uganda had gained within global governance circles for
maintaining macroeconomic stability, as predicated on the bureaucratic autonomy of
the economic technocracy. Here the response was mixed. On the one hand, the IMF
refused to award Uganda its stamp of approval concerning the review of the Policy
Support Instrument in 2011, with the World Bank Ugandas Senior Economist stating
publicly that the continued use of supplementary budgets is affecting budget credibility
and started to raise questions about the degree of fiscal control by authorities.
However, the wider international community was relatively silent on this issue: it seems
Museveni calculated correctly that he could risk a backlash from the IMF, given the
extent to which other elements of the international community were far more concerned
at the time with Ugandas regional security role rather than domestic bad governance on
either the economic or political sphere.
54
The 2016 elections: the technocrats fightback
However, the IMFs rebuke was taken very seriously within the economic technocracy.
In his aforementioned interview with the Financial Times, the central bank Governor
bemoaned the level of political interference in the economy and told the newspaper:
failing an IMF programme review earlier this year was very, very humiliating”’.
55
Stung both by the international opprobrium and Museveni reneging on the deal to
allow the BoU enough autonomy to function effectively, the Governor said He [Muse-
veni] gave me some promises which he has not kept Im still fighting with him.
56
The same interview hinted at his determination to avoid this financial indiscipline in
the run up to the 2016 elections. Other elements of the economic technocracy followed
suit: shortly after the election, MFPED sought to limit political raids on the budget
through new rules on financial management within the new Public Financial Manage-
ment Act.
57
The new Act placed limits on the proportion of the budget that could be
used to fund supplementary budgets in any given financial year. As the 2016 election
drew closer, the Governor launched further pre-emptive strikes to protect the auton-
omy of the BoU, the highlight of which was a speech on the independence of central
banks over monetary policy on 11 November 2014.
58
He admitted that the Bank had
been complicit, albeit unknowinglywith indirect expenditures by the government
into areas that were not transparent, and went on to say I was financing government
indirectly. But since we understood that, we have never done it again and I will not do it
this time.
59
Insider accounts report that this public struggle continued behind closed doors, with
BoU and also MFPED officials warning State House that the economy was not in a
strong enough state to withstand the kinds of pressures that they were placed under in
2011. Officials warned State House that any moves to use official state finance to bankroll
the election could be expected to have worse effects than in 2011, not just in economic but
also in political terms with regards unrest.
60
As one source notes: The Governor and
Finance warned that they could not do things as last time it would be worse than
2011 Museveni seems to have listened.
61
When IMF officials from Washington, DC,
visited in January 2016 to conduct the latest Policy Support Instrument review, Ministry
of Finance officials were able to report to the mission that the pressures were not as bad as
last timeand that they were managing to curtail politically-influenced expenditure.
62
The
JOURNAL OF EASTERN AFRICAN STUDIES 611
rear-guard action was, it seems, effective in reducing the level of official government
finance used to bankroll the NRMs campaign and regaining the trust of the global econ-
omic technocracy: The mission commends the authorities for the steadfast implemen-
tation of fiscal policy in a complex electoral environment.
63
The move to enable at least one key government agency to maintain its autonomy
seems to have helped achieve a more settled outcome as compared to the 2011 polls,
both locally and internationally. In terms of the tripartite deal between president, top
bureaucrats and IMF to secure macro-economic stability through the autonomy of the
economic technocracy, this was further strengthened by the announcement in December
2015 that the Governor had been awarded a new contract for a fourth five-year term, in
part because of his defence of the BoUs autonomy leading up to the election. According to
one report, the original compact of the early 1990s was essentially renewed through a
series of meetings involving the three parties in late 2015, with the IMF first lobbying
the president to ensure that Mutebile was given a further term, followed by a lengthy
meeting between the President and Governor at State House prior to the announcement.
64
In June 2016, the IMF review approved Ugandas performance by renewing the PSI and
commenting that: Despite external shocks, and amid election-related uncertainty,
Ugandas economy demonstrated resilience, with robust growth, low inflation, and
strong international reserves.
65
In economic terms, the outcomes have been almost the
opposite of 2011, with BoU having to loosen monetary policy by reducing interest rates.
66
This is not to say that any less public money was spent on winning the 2016 than the
2011 presidential poll or that the 2016 elections marked a more general resurgence in the
fortunes of formal institutionalisation in Uganda. Rather, there is evidence to suggest that
a great deal of money was expended in 2016 and that the BoU was exceptional within
Ugandas public service in being able to secure a degree of autonomy for itself. The Alli-
ance for Election Campaign Finance Monitoring (ACFIM) argues that the 2016 general
elections have so far been the most expensive in Ugandas history and that much of
this financing came from public resources. The price of allowing the monetary side of
economic governance to function effectively seems to have been the undermining of the
fiscal side of governance, and that this started to occur well before the election. An impor-
tant strategy here was the inflation of certain budget lines either directly associated with
elections or in less transparent areas of expenditure such as Defence, which received
hugely increased allocation from 20142015 onwards. The budget for Defence and expen-
diture of its resources is classified, largely under the control of the President and is not
accompanied by work plans against which allocations could be justified or tracked. The
increased budget allocated to Defence correlates directly with the increased role of the
Internal and External Security Organisations in the campaign noted above.
In the run-up to the election in October 2015, Ugandas parliament amended the afore-
mentioned Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) in order to enable the passing of
supplementary budgets.
67
Whereas the PFMA had explicitly sought to put in place safe-
guards against such measures and the associated financial indiscipline, this created a loop-
hole that enabled the manipulation of inflows and outflows of budget funds and
expenditure.
68
The supplementary budgets that were passed in 20152016, which came
on top of an already unprecedented increase of the budget for 20152016 to 23.9 trillion
from 14 trillion Ugandan shillings in the previous year, closely mirrored the earlier tilting
of budgetary allocations to election-related areas of government, with the Ministry of
612 F. GOLOOBA-MUTEBI AND S. HICKEY
Defence receiving 73% of the supplementary budget. Also unprecedented was the size of
the allocation to another hidden and discretionary area of the budget, namely debt repay-
ment, which constituted a full 20% of the 20152016 budget.
69
This was not just about
allocations: the money was actually being spent, and fast. By December 2015, votes
such as State House, Office of the President and Ministry of Defence had used up over
80 per cent of their budgets and supplementary financing.
70
This runs counter to the
more general disbursement failures that characterise government performance in
Uganda, and strongly suggests that the money was going straight into election-related
expenditures. Key informants also alluded to the non-payment of companies providing
goods and services to government and use of inflated and phantom projects to channel
public resources for election purposes, allegations that ACFIM research provides some
further evidence for.
Sources draw particular attention to the padding out of contracts issued in the run-up
to the 2016 elections, including the Karuma Dam and the inflated sum of 180 million US
dollars for feasibility studies on the oil refinery, which all seemed to be another way of
getting kickbacks, another way of getting bribes.
71
This reveals the extent to which
even areas of the state bureaucracy that at other times have been offered a high degree
of political protection and autonomy, including those agencies charged with governing
the countrys new oil finds,
72
were subject to political interference around the 2016 elec-
tions. The quid pro quo of BoU autonomy, it seems, was increased pressure on other erst-
while pockets of effectiveness. A further example here was Kampala City Council
Authority, which was ordered to loosen its approach to disciplining traders and others
on the streets of Kampala for fear of further alienating the oppositional and unruly citi-
zenry of the capital.
Examining the uneven use of formal and informal modes of governance around the
2016 elections reinforces the importance of thinking about elections in Uganda not
simply in terms of hybridity but rather in terms of institutional multiplicity and, in par-
ticular, the balancing act that is required to prevent different institutional strategies and
practices becoming discordant with each other over time. The decision to protect the
autonomy of certain aspects of formal economic governance helped to maintain important
parts of the settlement that had been threatened in 2011. However, this imposed con-
straints that, in a context of inflationary patronage and heightened electoral competition,
had to be compensated for through a deepening of informal strategies of state capture else-
where within the bureaucracy.
Conclusion
The 2016 elections witnessed the Museveni regime deploying an extensive range of strat-
egies to retain itself in power, drawing on the use of both soft and hard forms of power
and formal and informal modes of governance. The notion of institutional multiplicity
helps reveal the extent to which Musevenis rule involves a continual process of recalibra-
tion and of balancing out across these strategic modes, whereby excessive shifts in one
direction need to become re-embedded within the logics of the other over time if some
sort of settlement is to be maintained. This underlines the sense that maintaining state-
hood in Africa requires constant engagement in processes of negotiation that occur at
the interface between the public and the private, the informal and the formal, the
JOURNAL OF EASTERN AFRICAN STUDIES 613
illegal and the legal.
73
The role played by the military and formal bureaucratic institutions
in this process in Uganda serves as a reminder that contemporary processes of democra-
tisation in Africa are occurring alongside historical process of state formation and efforts
to maintain political order.
74
Reasonable people will continue to argue over what consti-
tutes the most progressive interplay and sequencing of these different aspects of political
development over time, with some preferring a focus on state capacity and political order,
whilst others prioritise the democratic imperative above all.
75
However, arguably the
more pressing concern is that maintaining a political settlement in Uganda now involves
such an extensive effort to manage institutional multiplicity that even incipient processes
of state-building are increasingly undermined alongside the more blatant foreclosing of
democracy. What emerges from this seems to be a form of political order that rests
less on a particular mix of state capacity, rule of law and democratic accountability,
76
than on a deeply personalised and multi-levelled set of bargains negotiated and held in
place by the current regime. Any clarity regarding whether such a settlement can be sus-
tained beyond the reign of the current leader seems unlikely to emerge until after the 2021
elections.
Notes
1. Abrahamsen and Bareebe, Ugandas 2016 Elections.
2. Rubongoya, Regime Hegemony; Tripp, Musevenis Uganda.
3. This conceptualisation of hardand softpower draws on the work of Joseph Nye, Soft
Power.
4. Perrot et al., Elections in a Hybrid Regime, 34.
5. Goodfellow and Lindemann, The Clash of Institutions,7.
6. Hesselbein et al., Economic and Political Foundations of State Making,1.
7. Goodfellow and Lindemann, The Clash of Institutions,22. Parentheses added.
8. For recent studies that adopt a political settlement perspective to analyse politics in Africa,
see Whitfield et al., The Politics of Industrial Transformation; Booth and Golooba-
Mutebi, Developmental Patrimonialism; and Hickey and Izama, The Politics of Govern-
ing Oil.
9. Khan, Political Settlements,20.
10. Hagmann and Peclard, Negotiating Statehood.
11. Some of this research and much of the thinking has emerged through the authorsresearch
within the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre, which is a UK-
funded project.
12. For a detailed exploration of the importance of this legacy, see, for example, Thompson, Gov-
erning Uganda.
13. Kasozi, The Life of Prince Badru.
14. Acholi and Langi had already been the main focus of recruitment into the army under colo-
nial rule and so under normal circumstances recruitment of large numbers by the Obote gov-
ernment should have gone unremarked. The context, however, was such that it raised
suspicion. See, for example, Gingyera-Pinycwa, Apolo Milton Obote.
15. Rwehururu, Cross to the Gun; Woodward, Uganda and Southern Sudan; Avirgan and
Honey, War in Uganda.
16. Kabera and Muyanja, Homecoming in the Luwero Triangle.
17. See, Golooba-Mutebi, Wonder Not Whether Musevenis Cabinet Will Perform It Is the
Context, Surely!(The East African, June 5, 2011).
18. Kasfir, The Shrinking Political Arena.
19. See, for example, Nyeko, Exile Politics.
20. On this particular issue, see Gingyera-Pinycwa, Apolo Milton Obote.
614 F. GOLOOBA-MUTEBI AND S. HICKEY
21. Woodward, Uganda and Southern Sudan; Avirgan and Honey, War in Uganda.
22. See Golooba-Mutebi and Hickey, Political Settlements and Inclusive Development in
Uganda,for a more detailed account of this.
23. See Kasfir, The Shrinking Political Arena; Avirgan and Honey, War in Uganda.
24. Oloka-Onyango, Constitutional transition in Musevenis Uganda.
25. See Lindemann, Just Another Change of Guard?
26. See, Branch, Neither Peace Nor Justice.Also Finnstrom, Living with Bad Surroundings;
Also, interviews and conversations with veterans of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces
since 2006.
27. Why Museveni Is Now Dining with Swine Off-spring(The East African, June 4, 2016).
28. See respectively, Kjaer, Political Settlementsand Hickey, Beyond the Poverty Agenda?
29. Mosley, The Politics of Poverty Reduction.
30. Hickey, Beyond the Poverty Agenda.
31. On pro-poor growth and poverty reduction in Uganda see Mosley, The Politics of Poverty
Reduction, and Conroy-Krutz and Logan, Museveni and the 2011 Ugandan Electionon
the electoral benefits of this developmental approach.
32. Mosley, The Politics of Poverty Reduction; also Tumusiime-Mutebile, Institutional and Pol-
itical Dimensions.
33. Evans, Embedded Autonomy.
34. Fukuyama, Political Order.
35. Fisher, The Limits.
36. Izama and Wilkerson, Uganda: Musevenis Triumph.
37. See Tapscott, this volume.
38. Golooba-Mutebi and Hickey, Political Settlements and Inclusive Development in Uganda.
39. Interviews with journalists and other first-hand witnesses to such acts (February to June
2016).
40. Interviews with NRM cadres (March and June 2016).
41. See Brigadier Tumukunde Promoted, then Retired(The Daily Monitor, September 1, 2015).
Also, When NRM Took Anti-visibility War to Amama Camp(The Daily Monitor, Novem-
ber 23, 2015).
42. Interview, June 2016. Also see ACFIM, Final Report.
43. Bukenya to Take on Museveni in 2016(The Daily Monitor, May 4, 2013).
44. Prof. Bukenya Makes U-turn(The Daily Monitor, October 9, 2015). According to sources,
several emissaries failed to convince Bukenya to abandon his presidential bid until Museveni
sent Kainerugaba to him (interviews, June 2016).
45. See, for example, Ugandans Criticize Museveni but Keep Supporting Him(The Sunday
Monitor, August 30, 2015).
46. Abrahamsen and Bareebe, Ugandas 2016 Elections.
47. Izama and M. Wilkerson, Uganda: Musevenis Triumph.
48. Fisher, The Limits.
49. Helle and Rakner, Grabbing an Election,164.
50. Mark Keith Muhumuza, Will Mutebiles Fifth Term Better the Economy?Accessed
November 28, 2016. http://www.monitor.co.ug/Business/Will-Mutebile-fifth-term-better-
economy/-/688322/3011378/-/11yao4a/-/index.html (The Monitor, December 28, 2015).
51. Issac Imaka and Stephen Otage, I Was Misled into Funding 2011 Polls, Says Mutebile.
http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Mutebile--I-was-misled-into-funding-2011-
polls/-/688334/2520350/-/xtgnra/-/index.html (The Monitor, November 13, 2014).
52. Mark Keith Muhumuza, Will Mutebiles Fifth Term Better the Economy?Accessed
November 28, 2016. http://www.monitor.co.ug/Business/Will-Mutebile-fifth-term-better-
economy/-/688322/3011378/-/11yao4a/-/index.html (The Monitor, December 28, 2015).
53. Kasekende, Ego, and Sebudde, The African Growth Experience.This short-term decline
also reflects a mixture of exogenousshocks apparent at the time, including drought and
food shortages, high levels of demand for food and other consumable goods from southern
JOURNAL OF EASTERN AFRICAN STUDIES 615
Sudan, the global economic downturn and high inflation in some of Ugandas key trading
export partners.
54. Fisher, Managing Perceptions,also Tamale, Broad and Complicated.
55. Katrina Manson, 2011Ugandas Economy: An Update.FT Blogs, http://blogs.ft.com/
beyond-brics/2011/06/16/ugandas-economy-an-update/. June 16, 2015.
56. Ibid.
57. Interviews with key public officials in Kampala 2012, 2015, 2016.
58. This speech was given to the 10th annual meeting of the African Science Academies at the
Lake Victoria Serena Hotel.
59. Issac Imaka and Stephen Otage, I Was Misled into Funding 2011 Polls, Says Mutebile.
http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Mutebile--I-was-misled-into-funding-2011-
polls/-/688334/2520350/-/xtgnra/-/index.html (The Monitor, November 13, 2014).
60. Interviews, late January 2016.
61. Interview with author, late January 2016.
62. Interview with senior official, January 2016.
63. IMF, IMF Staff Completes Review Mission.
64. The Untold Story of Mutebiles Return.Accessed November 28, 2016. http://newz.ug/the-
untold-story-of-mutebiles-return-as-governor-bank-of-uganda/ (Newzpost, January 25,
2016). Also The Monitor (December 28, 2015).
65. IMF, Executive Board Completes.
66. The Independent, April 4, 2016.
67. Uganda Amends Law to Sanction Return of Supplementary Budgets.Dicta Asiimwe (The
East African, Saturday November 14, 2015).
68. ACFIM, Final Report, xii.
69. ACFIM, 7.
70. Ibid.
71. Interview with senior BoU official, January 28, 2016.
72. See Hickey et al., The Politics of Governing Oil,for an account of PEPD as a pocket of
effectiveness.
73. Hagmann and Peclard, Negotiating Statehood,552.
74. Fukuyama, Political Order.
75. For example, see Carothers, The sequencing fallacyand Kelsall, Authoritarianism,
Democracy and Development.
76. Fukuyama, Political Order, argues that these are the three core elements of sustainable pol-
itical orders.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
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618 F. GOLOOBA-MUTEBI AND S. HICKEY
... Considering the multiple actors and their mandates, this "institutional multiplicity" can be regarded as parallel governance (Van der Haar & Heijke, 2013) in the context of the multiple interfaces in the Rohingya response. This helps to define a situation where systems made up of multiple rules confront economic and political actors that provide distinct and different normative frameworks and incentive structures (Golooba-Mutebi & Hickey, 2016); individuals and organizations often appear to operate simultaneously in multiple institutional systems (Hesselbein et al., 2006) which are governed by different sets of incentives (DiJohn, 2008). According to DiJohn (2008: 33), "institutional multiplicity is a situation in which different sets of game rules of the game, often contradictory, coexist in the same territory, that place citizens and the economic agents in complex, unsolvable situations, but at the same time offering them the possibility of switching strategically from one institutional universe to other". ...
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In Bangladesh, hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas have been seeking viable solutions to the plight of their displacement from Myanmar since August 2017. Today, they rely entirely on humanitarian aid and material services. Considering the notion of humanitarian space as an arena of social negotiations between multiple humanitarian actors over their access to the affected communities, this chapter captures the views of twenty Bangladeshi NGOs and identifies three main characteristics in the constrained humanitarian space of the Rohingya response: (a) discrepancies in localization discourses; (b) institutional multiplicity; and (c) disparities in accountability mechanisms. The study concludes that, despite the constant calls of Bangladeshi NGOs for locally led aid initiatives, they are largely side-lined in terms of the Rohingya humanitarian response. Moreover, institutional multiplicity as a form of parallel governance by the Government of Bangladesh and international humanitarian stakeholders often leads to collective action dilemmas and disparities in accountability mechanisms.
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This collection explores the critical role of the state and processes of state-building in delivering development through a focus on high-performing state agencies in Africa. It offers the most systematic investigation into the phenomenon of ‘pockets of effectiveness’ (PoEs) to date, with a particular focus on examining the political, organizational, and international factors that shape state capacity and state performance. A new ‘power domains’ framework, which combines political settlements and policy domains analysis, is applied to fifteen organizational case studies drawn from the realm of economic governance in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia. A mixture of within-case process tracing and between-case comparisons helps identify two main pathways through which PoEs emerge and retain their effectiveness over time, depending on the type of political settlement. This has important implications for the future of both political and economic development in Africa, as shaped by the often-tense relationships between state-building, democratization, and the politics of survival. The book also explores the powerful influence of international development in shaping the pattern of state capacity and performance in Africa and argues for a shift away from investments in the ‘agents of restraint’ associated with neoliberal governance towards building the capabilities required to achieve structural transformation. The volume closes with two critical commentaries from leading experts in the field, each of which appraises the book’s contribution before suggesting ways forward for the wider field of studies into PoEs and state-building in the Global South.
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Why have most African countries not achieved greater political liberalization? What explains the lack of progress toward the ideals of liberal democracy across the region? This book advances ongoing debates on democratic backsliding with specific reference to Africa. In examining how incumbent leaders in African countries attempt to contain societal pressures for greater democracy, the chapters explain how governments go beyond the standard tools of manipulation, such as electoral fraud and political violence, to keep democracy from unfolding in their countries. The book emphasizes two distinct strategies that governments frequently use to reinforce their hold on power, but which remain overlooked in conventional analyses; —the legal system and the international system. It—documents how governments employ the law to limit the scope of action among citizens and civil society activists struggling to expand democratic liberties, including the use of constitutional provisions and the courts. The work further demonstrates how governments use their role in international relations to neutralize pressure from external actors, including sovereigntist claims against foreign intervention and selective implementation of donor-promoted policies. While pro-democracy actors can also employ these legal and international strategies to challenge incumbents, in some cases to prevent democratic backsliding, the book shows why and how incumbents have enjoyed institutional advantages when implementing these strategies through the six country case studies of Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
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Until 1994 Rwanda's post-colonial history was marked by episodes of political violence, attempted wars, and wars of different durations. Feeding the violence was the absence of an elite consensus about how best to take Rwanda forward after colonial rule ended, the rules for doing so, and the roles to be played by the holders and losers of power. This paper explores key aspects of Rwanda's political evolution from independence to-date. The critical stages are the events popularly known as the 1959 social revolution that preceded independence in 1962; the period from 1962 to the overthrow of Kayibanda's First Republic in 1973; from the Habyarimana-led military coup to 1994; and the Rwanda Patriotic Front -led post-genocide period. The paper examines the different political coalitions that have ruled the country since independence, their impact on political stability and their role in catalysing or influencing the cycles of turmoil with which it is associated. In the case of the current coalition, this paper also provides a glimpse into the efforts they have made to promote the wellbeing of ordinary Rwandans. It first charts the historical origins and the current state of drivers of instability and elite fragmentation. It then identifies the nature of interactions between drivers of instability and political settlements over time, and their impact on governance and the pursuit of development.
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