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Museveni’s Uganda: Paradoxes of Power in a Hybrid Regime

Aili Mari Tripp
Museveni’s Uganda: Paradoxes of Power in a Hybrid Regime
ISBN: 978-1-58826-731-3
ISBN: 978-1-58826-707-8
ISBN: 978-1-62637-628-1
2010/223 pages/LC: 2010026514
Challenge and Change in African Politics
Related titles: Decentralization in Uganda by Gina M.S. Lambright and
No-Party Democracy? Ugandan Politics in Comparative Perspective by Giovanni Carbone
"An excellent analysis of the governance of Uganda since the 1980s."—Scott Wisor, Global Governance

"Well-written, well-structured and highly comprehensible."—Sarah Biecker, African Affairs

"A welcome contribution to the still-growing literature on what Thomas Carothers called 'grey-zone' regimes."—Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz, Political Science Quarterly

"Can true democracy evolve in the admittedly unpropitious circumstances of a developing nation in sub-Saharan Africa?... Tripp holds Uganda's case up to close scrutiny, and provides a considered, even-handed and suitably complicated answer."—Jonathan Stevenson, Survival

"Tripp expertly unpacks [the] paradoxes, explaining the many contradictions of Uganda and other African semiauthoritarian regimes. Highly recommended."—Choice


Aili Mari Tripp takes a close, clear-sighted look at Ugandan politics since 1986, when Yoweri Museveni became the country's president.

Museveni's exercise of power has been replete with contradictions: steps toward political liberalization have been controlled in ways that further centralize authority; and despite claims of relative peace and stability, Uganda has been plagued by two decades of brutal civil conflict. Exploring these paradoxes, Tripp focuses on the complex connections among Museveni's economic and political reforms, his wars in the north and in Congo, the key roles of international donors and the military, and the institutional changes that have defined his presidency. She highlights, as well, efforts by the judiciary, the legislature, the media, and civil society to check executive power.

This is also a book about the semiauthoritarian regimes, like Uganda's, that characterize so many political systems in Africa. Tripp reflects analytically on the distinctiveness of this type of system—and on its implications for civil society, institutional growth, and real economic development.


Aili Mari Tripp is professor of political science and gender and women's studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her numerous publications include Women and Politics in Uganda, recipient of several awards, and Changing the Rules: The Politics of Liberalization and the Urban Informal Sector in Tanzania.


  • Museveni's Uganda in Comparative Context.
  • The Rise and Demise of a Broad-Based Government.
  • A Troubled Household: Dissension Within the National Resistance Movement
  • The Quid Pro Quo of Political Liberalization.
  • Participation, Patronage, and Power in Local Politics.
  • The Carrot and the Stick.
  • Peace and Insecurity.
  • Legitimating Repression and Corruption.
  • Epilogue.