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Decentralization in Uganda: Explaining Successes and Failures in Local Governance

Gina M.S. Lambright
Decentralization in Uganda: Explaining Successes and Failures in Local Governance
ISBN: 978-1-935049-32-6
ISBN: 978-1-935049-99-9
2010/318 pages/LC: 2010053387
A FirstForumPress Book
A related title: Museveni's Uganda by Aili Mari Tripp and
No-Party Democracy? Ugandan Politics in Comparative Perspective by Giovanni Carbone

"Lambright's important book constitutes a thorough reexamination of decentralized governance as it actually functions in Uganda, providing further reason for skepticism about decentralization as a panacea for improving state effectiveness and accountability.... Should be read by anyone interested in the realities of decentralization, not only in Uganda but elsewhere in Africa and beyond."—Tom Goodfellow, African Studies Review

"[Provides] a wealth of finely detailed information about Ugandan politics and bureaucracy."—Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz, Perspectives on Politics

"Fascinating.... This is one of the most carefully crafted and meticulously executed studies available on the variable benefits of decentralization in Africa. Lambright makes an important contribution to our understanding of democracy, state-society relations, the politics of decentralization, and the impact of informal patronage institutions and historical legacies on present day governance."—Aili Mari Tripp, University of Wisconsin–Madison

"A landmark contribution to the study of decentralization and institutional performance in Africa."—Pierre Englebert, Pomona College


Why do some African local governments perform well, while others fail to deliver even the most basic services to their constituents? Gina Lambright finds answers to this question in her investigation of the factors that contribute to good—and those that result in ineffective—institutional performance at the district level in Uganda. Examining the conditions under which local populations are able to shape the performance of their local governments, she adeptly combines quantitative analysis across 56 Ugandan district governments with in-depth case studies of Lira, Mpigi, and Bushenyi.


Gina M.S. Lambright is professorial lecturer in the School of International Service at American University.


  • Exploring Decentralization in Uganda.
  • Local Government in Uganda.
  • Patterns of Local Governance.
  • Explaining Successes and Failures.
  • Ministries, Mentoring, and Monitoring.
  • Political Support, Patronage, and Performance.
  • The Impact of Electoral Competition.
  • The Role of Political and Civic Participation.
  • Uganda in Comparative Perspective.