Uganda’s 2016 elections, which returned thirty-year incumbent President Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Movement (NRM) in yet another landslide, took place in an atmosphere of patronage, coercion and fraud. But is this diagnosis sufficient to understand the processes of voting and regime maintenance in Uganda today? Based on a series of detailed case studies from across Uganda, this book provides a more nuanced and complex picture of what the Museveni regime is, and how it keeps winning elections. Whilst not denying that various electoral malpractices are systemic to the regime’s survival, the authors find that these cannot be extricated from Uganda’s history, its wider social realities, and its local political cultures in which the NRM has become so embedded. In so doing, the authors – who include anthropologists, development specialists, historians, geographers, and political-scientists – develop new ways of thinking about the meaning of voting and elections in non-democratic Uganda, and elsewhere. This edition was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Eastern African Studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction Rethinking the NRM after thirty years in power Richard Vokes & Sam Wilkins Part I: The politics of regime survival in Museveni’s Uganda 1. The master of institutional multiplicity? The shifting politics of regime survival, state-building and democratisation in Museveni’s Uganda Frederick Golooba-Mutebi & Sam Hickey 2. From the electoral battleground to the parliamentary arena: understanding intra-elite bargaining in Uganda’s National Resistance Movement Michaela Collord 3. Managing elite defection in Museveni’s Uganda: the 2016 elections in perspective Moses Khisa 4. Challenging dominance: the opposition, the coalition and the 2016 elections in Uganda Nicole Beardsworth Part II: Ethnographies of the 2016 elections 5. Who pays for pakalast? The NRM’s peripheral patronage in rural Uganda Sam Wilkins 6. Rethinking power, patronage and corruption in Museveni’s Uganda Richard Vokes 7. Where the wild things are not: crime preventers and the 2016 Ugandan elections Rebecca Tapscott 8. Partisan defections in contemporary Uganda: the micro-dynamics of hegemonic party-building Sandrine Perrot Part III: Power and its disguises in contemporary Uganda 9. A history of the heritage economy in Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda Derek R. Peterson 10. Religious (de)politicisation in Uganda’s 2016 elections Henni Alava & Jimmy Spire Ssentongo 11. "Land belongs to the people of Uganda": politicians’ use of land issues in the 2016 election campaigns Lotte Meinert & Anne Mette Kjaer Afterword Explaining the 2016 Elections: Social Structure or Personal Agency? Nelson Kasfir
Sam Wilkins is a DPhil candidate at the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, UK.
Richard Vokes is a senior lecturer in Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Adelaide, Australia.