Not all liberation movements lead to democracy

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Not all liberation movements lead to democracy a comparative case study of Uganda and Eritrea
Abalu, Omunu ( author )
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University of Colorado Denver
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National liberation movements -- Eritrea ( lcsh )
National liberation movements -- Uganda ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Across Africa, there are many examples of liberation movements that rose up and fought against colonialism and post-colonial authoritarian regimes. Such long struggles have generated hopes for better democratic future where the past failures had created doubts about the prospects for democracy on this continent. Ideally, these liberation movement should provide alternative viable democratic governments. However, few comparative case studies have looked at failed democratization in African post-liberation states. This paper examines the state of African post-liberation regimes as they have transformed from armed liberation movements into governments after they have successfully seized power. Using two carefully selected case studies of Uganda and Eritrea, this paper identifies elite entrenchment as the primary factor that has undermined democracy and democratization, and how the increasing authoritarianism that has overtaken many of these countries in Sub-Saharan Africa can be overcome.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Colorado Denver. Political science
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by Omunu Abalu.

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N OT ALL LIBERATION MOVEMENTS LEAD TO DEMOCRACY: A COMPARATIVE CASE STUDY OF UGANDA AND ERITREA By OMUNU ABALU B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2007 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Political Science 2015




iii This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Omunu Ab a lu has been approved for the Political Science Program by Lucy W. McGuffey, Chair Glenn T. Morris Thorsten H. Spehn April 22, 2015


iv Aba lu, Omunu (M.A., Political Science) Not All Liberation Movements Lead to Democracy: A Comparative Case Study of Uganda and Eritrea Thesis directed by Associate Professor Lucy W. McGuffey. A BSTRACT Across Africa, there are many examples of liberation movements that rose up and fought against colonialism and post colonial authoritarian regimes. Such long struggles have generated hopes for a better democratic future where the past failures had created doubts about the prospects for democracy on this continent. Ideally, these liberation movements should provide alternative viable democratic governments. However, few comparative case studies have looked at failed democratization in African post liberation states. This paper examines the state of African post liberation regimes as they have transformed from armed liberation movements into governments after they have successfully seized power. Using two carefully selected case studies of Uganda and Eritrea, this paper identifies elite entrenchment as the primary factor that has undermined democracy and democratizati on, and how the increasing authoritarianism that has overtaken many of these countries in Sub Sahar an Africa can be overcome The form and content of this abstract are approved I recommend its publication. Approved: Lucy Ware McGuffey


v D EDICATION To my late father, Dorteo Ifude Abalu, and all those who have died for the freedom of my South Sudanese people during the liberation struggle.


vi A CKNOWLEDGEMENT I would like to acknowledge the help of Dr. Lucy C. McGuffey, my thesis chair, for all the support, guidance and encouragement that made this thesis possible. Dr. McGuffey did not limit her support to my research but was also concerned about my general wel lbeing; she has been a great supervisor. Without her advice, the development of this thesis would have not been possible. I wish to thank Professors, Thorsten H. Spe h n and Glenn T. Morris for accepting to be members of my committee and taking time to read my thesis. I am very grateful to my parents, Earl Hauge and Joyce Hauge for all the support and encouragement. I also wish to thank Michele and Michael Ritter for all their generous assistance. Last but not least, I would like to extend special gratitude to my dearest wife Micklina Kenyi, my children Loyo Abalu and Bakhita Abalu, my mother Keji, Mama Rosa, and my sister Susan Ihure Abalu, I am very indebted to all of you.


vii T ABLE OF C ONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY ................................ ....... 1 Historical Overview Contemporary Context Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ ........................... 9 Significance of the Study Research Questions ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 11 Structure of the Thesis ................................ ................................ .............................. 12 II. LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ ............................ 14 Standa rd Approach ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 15 The Problematic Democratization in Uganda and Eritrea ................................ ........ 19 Colonialism and Democratization in Uganda and Eritrea ................................ ........ 24 III. THEORETICAL APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY ................................ ........ 31 Liberation Movements and Democracy ................................ ................................ ... 33 IV. CASE STUDIES: UGANDA AND ERITREA ................................ ......................... 36 ................................ .. 36 Political Co optation and the NRM Regime ................................ ............................ 40 The National Resistan ce Movement and Repression without Violence Legitimation of the NRM Rule through Reform Process Reluctant Democratization: The Case Of Eritrea ................................ ..................... 51 Eritrea, Repression and Bumpy Transition ................................ .............................. 55 The Movement and Eritrean Aborted Democracy ................................ ................... 61


viii V. DEMOCRATIZATION OR AUTHORITARIANISM: ELITES JUSTIFICATION ... 67 Uganda and Eritrea Justification for Authorita rianism ................................ ............ 69 VI. CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 73 BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 77


1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY African armed liberation movements occupy the center stage of ci vil wars in Sub Saharan Africa as various groups resort to armed struggle in pursuit of power (Metelits, 2004; Boas and Dunn, 2007). W ith the Cold War over, and the evolution of a new geopolitical setting that developed by late 1980s, a number of liberation struggles have emerged and succeeded in seizing power After more than five decades of independence, these post liberation s tates were expected to set an example for African economic recovery and development including democracy. H owever, the continent continues to battle the scourges of political instability economic decline and the persisten ce of authoritarian rule For instance many of these movements fought against c olonialists ( as in Angola Zimbabwe and Eritrea) or authoritarian regimes (as in Uganda Rwanda and South Sudan) in order to achieved freedom of their people (Clapham, 19 98 ) The central objective of this study is to explain the problem s that has faced post democratization in Eritrea and Uganda is due to elite resistance that impedes the Uganda these regimes are often indicative of elite s that are unwilling to share or give up their power (Bratton and van de Walle, 1997). In discussing possible obstacles to democratization, Samuel Huntington (1991) maintains that in Africa the obstacles are mainly economic. While I largely agree with the economic development influence of democracy as suggested by Huntington and modernization theory (Lipset, 1951), this


2 theore tical expectation of the connection between economic development and democracy has not occurred in Africa. Simply put, the dynamic of democratization in Uganda and Eritrea is influenced by elites with the desire to gain and concentrate power under authorit arian regimes, leading to resistance to change, limited openness and inclusiveness. As Gerschewski (2013) argues, the three pillars of autocratic regimes (legitimation, repression, and co liberation gover nments. I will demonstrate how this applies to the case studies of Eritrea and Uganda. The study will therefore place the elite role in obstructing pathway transition to democracy and institutions of such struggles at the center of this analysis. In doing so, the study aims to address existing gaps in the literature by highlighting complex structural factors that are affecting a genuine transition to democracy for these African states. Historical Overview It must be stressed that m ost of the post independ ence leaders who seized power through the barrel of the gun ha d generated some hope in their early years The ruling elites believed that they could develop a democratic system based on good governance; after all, the armed liberation movements fought for democracy or self determination T as well as promote good economic development to provide employment to their people For these reasons, there was hope that the clamor for good governance was enough evidence that Africans were ready for democratic system s (Southall, 2013; Melber, 2012). Indeed, m any scholars and foreign policy pundits including in the Clinton administration believed that Isaias


3 Af e werki of Eritrea, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, P aul Kagame of Rwanda, and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, baptized as the of this African renaissance and legitimized by the armed liberation struggle against corrupt, dictatorial regimes were the new savior s of the continent The se four individuals were each considered hard working, younger, generally more educated and pragmatic leaders who w ould end the African legacy of turmoil and corruption that became the cancer of post colonial African States (Oloka Onyango 2004). H o wever, different case studies have showcased the greatest challenges of those liberation champions, who assumed state power in Uganda and Eritrea have caused untold human suffering which modern day African states had to endure (Clapham, 1998). R epressive p olitical system s centered around a governing ruling dominant one party / movement have but typified these post colonial l iberation states and such restrictions on political rights are becoming increasingly common in Africa In Uganda and Eritrea, the elites strengthened their control over the state, and justification s for liberation have become an excuse for self perpet uating power (for example Yoweri Museveni and Isaias Af e werki have been in power for over two decades ) T he pace with which Uganda n a nd Eritrea n societies moved towards single party rule and military dictatorship came as a surprise for the masses who anticipated their post independence elites to champion democracy (Salih, 2007). Cronyism, tribalism corruption and repression became the rule not the exception While many of the se seemed poised to lead their devastated societies out of authoritarianism, one must examine closely at what is actually happening on the ground. Internally, they behave like the kind of s trong men they purported to oppose, except that they are more concerned with


4 economic growth and reform. They are each attracting foreign investment and increasing their trade relations with the global community (Connell and Smyth, 1998). It is an underst atement to say that this region faces complex challenge s : civil strife, political instability, misrule and authoritarianism. T h e integration of diverse ethnic groups within a single political system in African post colonial states ha s prove n difficult Ug anda under National Resistance Movement (NRM) and Eritrea under Eritrea Uganda and Eritrea have all experienced diff iculties in making the transition from liberation struggle to government T hese modern states left by colonial powers have so far provided instrument s of authoritarianism in Africa (Carew, 1993). This is true where the state is the sole provider of individual and group benefits within the country, especially in an extractive economy In such a soc iety, the struggle to hold power increasingly resembles a zero sum game. In Uganda, state failure was at independence exacerbated by institutional decay and political mismanagement by P resident Milton Obote regime and culminated in the Idi Amin dictatorship (McDonough, 2008). independence rulers tried to overcome its deep ethnic, regional and religious divisions by consolidating power through the use of military force but this approach made matters much worse. Like his predecessors, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda seized power in the wake of the civil war in 1986 claiming that the immediate goal of the National Resistance Army/Movement (NRA/NRM) was to rejuvenate a democratic system of government in Uganda (Osaghae, 1992). Though the country was confronted with economic hardship and political instability Museveni seemed at first to follow a more inclusive democratic path by supporting a that many enthusiastically embraced


5 Mahm ood Mamdani, a distinguished Ugandan scholar, proclaimed that the NRM regime achieved a high degree of democratization President Museveni advocated for an open economy ( liberal economic policies ) respect for human rights, a free press and contested local elections By early the 1990s, h owever, he w as becoming less interested in multiparty politics and preferred centralized governance structures. He chose a system calle d the Movement, which he described as no party system It is a sys tem with t he goal of uniting all Ugandans, and it is based on individual merits rather than party affiliation (Ottaway, 1999). Thus the demands for wide political openings received lip service from the NRM elite who decided to shelve the earlier pledge to hold free and fair elections. The se elite s claimed that t he state institutions and political organizations were faced with serious threats, thus a need to on a non sectarian basis Museveni inste ad imposed restrictions on political parties in Uganda and banned political rallies and meetings limiting the ability of political parties to operate effectively (Kasfir, 1998; Oloka Onyango, 2004). He argues that Uganda is still backward and not yet read y to open up for a multiparty system, th at p olitical parties divide Ugandans along ethnic and religious lines and encourages the kind s of ethnic conflict /civil war that tore Uganda apart during the 1970s and 1980s, when ten s of thousands Ugandans were killed in p olitical violence under the reign of Idi Amin and Milton Obote (Mamdani, 1996; Ocitti, 2006). Interestingly u nder a no party system, no one is denied the right to compete in a n election for political office, but the same government has harassed and arrested political opponents. This allows the movement to some extent to co opt a nd neutralize a fragmented opposition.


6 Critics of Museveni have argued you cannot have democracy without political pluralism. Real democracy requires more than one polit ical party. As Tangeri (2005) pointed out, the once promising democratic transition under NRM faltered following the removal of constitutional term limits and the restriction of political activity. In absence of any serious organized opposition that may po se a serious threat to the hegemonic count on privileged elites through access to patronage. The se elites sought to use the state as the means to achieve political and economic stability while at the same time i ncreasing their own control over it. In this sense, the elite tended to undermine multiparty politics in Uganda in orde r to keep themselves in power. Coming out of years of a long complicated struggle Eritrea like Uganda, was not immune to the structural challenges of a nation. While Uganda struggle s with virulent one, built upon secrecy and the arbitrary exercise of absolute power (Connell 2001) The stru ggle against Ethiopia had strengthened national unity, thus ethnicity was not an issue. Like many African countries, Eritrea was crafted into a colonial state by Italian colonialism in 1890. Following the defeat of fascist Italy during the Second World Wa r, which cost Italy its African possessions, the territory became a British Pro tectora t e In 1952, British administration c ame to an end, and resulted in United Nations (UN) resolutions, in which Eritrea became part of the Ethiopian Federal State in (Gebre Medhim, 1983). It seemed obvious that Eritreans were denied their right to benefit from the principle of self determination in the face of international legal norm s T his has led to the Eritreans armed struggle for independence from Ethiopia that destroye d the social and


7 economi c infrastructure of the society (Iyob 1995) this comes as no surprise. Ironically, established a stable government that d id away with corruption and foreign aid (Ottaway, 1999 ). Post independence Eritrea under EPLF emphasi zed self reliance and hard work making policy choices and presenting what they called or movement system It was a highly centralized military form of control with the intent to accommodat e the different desires of its communities first while also ensuring that social justice wa s exercised to unify and transform soc iety (Connell, 2000). Ironically Af e we rki had no sooner won independence from the Ethiopian authoritarian regime than he proceeded to establish a repressive system Af e democratic rhetoric was far from be ing a champion of democracy; as o pposition to the government is not tolerated. As a consequence thousands of Eritreans have the fled the country according to Inter national Crisis Group (2014) Report. Contemporary Context According to leading human rights agencies, Eritrea is the worst ranked country in the world in terms of press freedom. M any critics, journalists top government employees and party officials have been arrested, tortured and locked away in undisclosed locations without legal proceedings (Human Rights Watch, 2009 ). Contrary political thoughts are rarely voiced in public because there is widespread f ear of security forces that operate with relative impunity. In essence, the state of exception in Eritrea is more entrenched now u nder the leadership of Af e werki. t a state of


8 exception occurs when the government has increased its power under the guise of perceived or imaginary threats against sovereignty, an individual leader can then suspend the constitution, and treat the population under his or her control as su bjects by stripping them of their political and individual rights. This explain s why there are many pessimists in the region as it has bec o me clear that these victorious armed liberation movements will have to overcome their unconducive environment for dem ocracy. As Hyden (2006) notes, the legacy of the armed liberation movement s across Africa has not always been appreciated Indeed, t he se liberation movements that set up the new governments are influenced by th eir past military command structures Vi olent culture inherited from protracted war has thus made transition to democracy more complicated In Eritrea, f or example, the military structure has been several decades in the making and the political structures created within the EPLF were devised to strictly deal with internal opposition. The EPLF considers unity and loyalty to be everything. Where as Uganda presents the most discouraging example of democratic setback in which decades of economic successes are being threatened by the movement leadership tighter grip on power and flawed elections that have only led to more corrupt government, Eritrea exemplifies repression and political stagnation Despite the fact that none of these leaders are democrats, democratization has proceeded in va rying paces in both countries. Elections have been regularly held in Uganda since 2006 to return Museveni to power. Eritrea has been under one ruler since independence, and the country is basically a one party state that has not held a single free and fair election. These experiences of African liberation movements who seized power by force of arms illustrate clearly the numerous challenges that continue to exert significant negative


9 effect s on democratization processes in Africa The NRM and ELPF regimes a re no longer part of the solution but central to the problem. Statement of the Problem democratization (Huntington, 1991) that swept away many authoritarian regimes and in a number of cases, replaced them with governments determined to endorse democratic elections in the continent, it is commonplace to argue however, that this promising period equally revealed new challenges particular of which was the failure to conso lidate democratization T h us, th e complicated nature of political actors/ leadership are part of (Diamond, 1996) Furthermore, the initial enthusiasm surrounding the wave of democratic transitions in post Cold War Africa quickl y dissipated, as democratization scholars discovered that regime transitions were not often synonymous with democratic consolidation. This paper does not seek to make sweeping generalization on the failur es of democratization in Africa. For the most part, analyses in Africa tend to deal with the continent as a whole (Bratton and van de Walle, 1997). A t least some of differences in the failure of democratization in the Uganda and Eritrea case studies can be better explain ed by the three pi llars of authoritarian regimes that have been overlooked in much of the literature: cooptation, legitimacy and repression (Gerschewski, 2013) In these countries, elections may be held regularly as in Uganda but elites consist ently manipulate these elections to make sure that the incumbent maintain power (Schedler 2006). At times, the liberation struggles are used to justify the rare no


10 system and this has had significant implications for democratization in Eritrea. Indeed, t ransition from an armed liberation movement Resistance Movement (NRM) (EPLF) that fought its way to power was not an easy one Hence, many s cholars demonstrate a lack of colonial liberation transition, a puzzle that this study seeks to address Significance of the Study The reason behind my selection of Uganda and Eritrea as case studies rested on a number of considerations. First, the Uganda and Eritrea cases serve as unique examples for analyzing the politics of liberation movement and democracy in African context. The fact Uganda and Eritrea endured decades of political instability, share similar experiences : societies fragmented along ethnic and religion lines; a ridden history of colonialism, decolonization, and difficult challenges of state building is another important d less concerned about the move to a democratic system. Third, the countries are o ften considered successful cases of African liberation movements and both generated great hope in their early years of armed struggle, but these two countries are far from setting positive examples. S eemingly, the path to democratic consolidation is never easy or clear cut, nor is an answer to any of the foregoing inquires. The y have now become embodiments for authoritarianism. Fourth, Uganda and Eritrea had victorious liberation


11 movements that removed corrupt and tyrannical regimes from power, but followed an and Afewerki had strong military background, each was initially a revolutionary left wing ideologue ot her than the ballot box. At the outset, both leaders were firmly against multiparty elections. Over time, however, their views on the issue of political system after liberation struggle differed: by early 2005, Museveni had become an advoc ate of limited de mocracy regime, but not the political system/one party state, in which democratic space became increasingly closed in the new millennium. Finally, the two old liberation movements still co ntrol the state apparatus, and each country has its unique political struggle that needs to be documented to enable scholars to compare similarities or differences in order to understand democratization challenges faced by many post liberation states in Af rica. Research Questions This study examines failure of democratization in Uganda and Eritrea, and sets out to inquire about th e impact of post liberation and the thorny issue of a transitional path toward democracy. In this thesis, the central question of the study is why, after more than two and a half decades of being in power have the authoritarian regimes in Ugandan and Eritrea able to maintain power, and failed to make a genui ne transition to democracy ? S pecifically, this comparative case study approach allows the paper to investigate why the NRM and EPLF regimes have become authoritarian


12 Drawing from t he experiences of liberation movements in Uganda and Eritrea the countries that came t o be s an otherwise volatile region many scholars believe that the two countries have embarked on transition to democracy : the much discussed third wave of democratization that swept the continent and witnes sed the collapse of many one party military dictatorships across the African region Howe ver, a ccording to the Freedom House Index 2011 2012 report, Uganda and Eritrea are not electoral democracies. 2012 repo whilst Eritrea is classified as being and scored the lowest score possible, which is 7, in both political rights and civil liberties (Freedom House, 2012). I n its Democracy Index 2012 the Economist Intelligence Unit categorized Uganda as a s democratic and non democratic elements, and Eritrea as an authoritarian regime While Uganda has improved its democratic ranking s slightly moving toward multiparty politics and given its extremely personalized political nature, I would argue that Uganda essentially remains a semi authoritarian state compared to the shrinking political space, which is considered one of the worst political regimes currently in the world. This seemingly contra dictory analysis suggests that democratization in Uganda and Eritrea remains incomplete, replete with different outcomes In other words the democratization literature has struggled to explain the democratic deficit in Afr liberation states. Structure of the Thesis This study is divided into six chapters, the first being the introduction. After discussing the gen eral overview and analyzing the historical backgrounds to this study,


13 the second chapter of this paper reviews the main theoretical approaches in the study of democratization in Africa. The third chapter lays out methodology and theoretical explanations for democratization failure in Uganda and Eritrea by focusing on fundamental factors particularly relevant to the case studies The fo u rth chapter consider s the two case studies to explain what best explain s democratization setback s in each country. Chapter five presents findings obtained from the analysis and a discussion of the results will be presented. Chapter six summarizes the argu ments of the study. T he lesson s learned may improve our understanding of post vis democratization on the continent.


14 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW This section will review the democratization literature in Africa and draw from insights that would help us understand the problematic democratic transition in Uganda and Eritrea. Indeed, there is a wide array of competing explanations for success and failure of democratization in Africa include Democracy in De veloping Countries: Africa (1988) edited by Larry Diamond, Juan Linz, and Seymour Martin Lipset, they integrate Transitions in Comparative Perspective (1997) Democratizat ion in Africa: The Theory and Dynamics of Political Transitions (1997) Earl Conteh Morgan and Democratic Theory and Practice in Africa (1997) by Chege and Gitonga. These theories intend to describe, explain and predict democratization include the modernizat ion approach and cultural processes in Africa. It is in this broad theoretical complexity and interplay of the structural, socio economic, cultural, international and domestic factors believe d by some scholars to be important explanatory variables in Afr democratization that can excite or depress both optimists and pessimists. Optimism has been generated by the multiparty elections of 1989 which swept the continent and witnessed the crumbling of several single party sta tes and milit ary dictatorships Pessimism however, has been generated by the negative trends of late 1990s which saw the democratization process in Africa reversed or stalled.


15 Standard Approach Several e xplanations have been offered for the struggles of democratization or authoritarianism in Africa inf ormed by the impact of poverty, illiteracy, economic under development culture and the nature of political institutions, vibrancy of civil society, low level s of indust rialization urbaniz ation, and national unity (see Lipset et al., 1993; Huntington 1991; Przeworski et al., 1996; Diamond & Plattner, 1993). In general, democratization literature tends to be dominated by broad explanatory approach : Modernization, Transit ion and Structural approach es Most of these studies are grounded in what became known as modernization theory which has become the underlying hypothesis of the development approach in comparative politics (Almond and Powell, 1965). The main author of modernization theory is Seymour Martin Lipset In his seminal article some Social Requisites of D emocracy, Lipset (1959) argues that there is a positive correlation between levels of eco nomic development and democracy, and that when the people of a co untry enjoy a higher level of economic development or modernization they will be more inclined to believ e in democratic values and support a democratic system. Arguably, an increase in income leads to an increase in t he l evel of education; larger middle class who will demand regime transparency and participation in the government Expanding on this observation and using economic indicators to do a nation is, the greater the chance that it will sustain democracy (Lipset, 1960, p. 31). In other words, the poorer a society, the less responsive its ruling elite will be to give up power. In fact, other scholars have attempted to enrich the Lipset line of reasoning by not


16 only taking into acco unt the examined factors, but also developing more complex models. (1991) Third Wave attempted to establish a casual linkage between socio economic indicators and the existence or lack of democracy. Huntington maintained that richer co untries are democratic and poorer ones are not. H e further points out that those who are excited about promoting democracy beyond its traditional Western border line s, economic development for v ery late developing countries particular Africa may well be more problematic than it was in an advanced and modern West ern world This is because Africa is considered a traditional which social relations are regulated within the family, clan and tribe, results in very limited political participation that lacks the institutional ingredients to make democracy work. The contention is that Africans lacked civic culture and were not fully infiltrated by Western Christianity. Huntington suggested that countries resistan t to democracy after prior expe (p. 44) Hence, the role of cultural factors such as religion can have an impact on whether a country obtain s or sustain s de mocratization. On the contrary, t he masses who recently engaged in the democratic uprising in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were not the poorest in the society. These are most ly educated and disaffected young professionals with high employment rates fighting for economic well being, freedom and human rights issues. In relations to the African condition, h owever, some scholars point to a major contradiction that other countries, which are well endowed with natural resources, have constantly succumbed to authoritarian rule such in Nigeria and Angola (Kiloh in Potter et


17 al. 1997, p. 387). It is quite possible that there are some developing countries with significantly less than the threshold of the $6000 income per capita that have achieved democracy ; for example Botswana and Mauritius which be came democratic few decades ago and only since then have enjoyed rapid economic growth (van de Walle, 2002). Similarly, Benin for example, h as achieved multiparty democracy at the end of the Cold War without any significant level of economic development (Diamond, 2002). Therefore, in addition to economic growth, international dynamics, social, and institutional changes must complement develop ment process to enable a democratic transition. In the case of C hina, higher levels of economic of income do not necessarily lead to democratization as that dictatorship is increasingly maintaining their grip on power in the country (Ramaswamy and Cason, 2003). economic factors are not the only cond itions linked to the question of democratization. There are other African states that have experienced economic and debt crisis; however, few went on to consolidate democracies and settled o n vary ing degree s of democracy. In the 1990s, Ghana Mauritius and Botswana established fairly stable democracies with relati ve experience s of multiparty rule and without enjoying the precondition of economic development thought necessary (Miles, 1999; Diamond, 2002). In brief, modernization theory provides considerable contributions to our understanding of democratization; however, it fails to provide sufficient explanation for authoritarian persistence in post liberatio n states such as Uganda and Eritrea their lack of detail to political actors. Likewise, the collapse of authoritarian regimes in Latin America and Africa challenged structuralist


18 conten tion that there is no direct connection between democracy and development. The point of departure from economic development links to democracy came as a viable state the rule of law and civil society among others. While this scholarship provide s useful insights regarding structural factors that can influence the democratization processes, one must consider the economic development explanation as critical in shaping t he debate on success and/or failure of democracy. The most important factor is the effect of modernization that oscillates and balances power between the elites and the masses. Haerpfer et al. (2009) maintain ed that democratic transition s could not be achieved unless some key actors incumbent, opposition or military willed free and fair elections into effect and accepted results (p. 349). T his does not mean that democratic politics is solely an elite affair. Some political analysts have exaggerated the extent to which common people are not interested in democratic politics. Accordingly other scholars of democratization began to investigate the decisions taken by elites and politica l actors. In a persuasive analysis, Schmitter and (1986) sugg ested that there is no democratic transition without human agency, which is in this case an interaction between the elites and masses However recent democratization literature has altered these views; emphasizing the role of ordinary people against reluc tant elites through positive non violent means ( Karatnycky, and Ackerman, 2005). Interestingly, Dankwart A. Rustow (1970 ) asserts that democracy is likely to stem from a large variety of mixed reasons. That national unity was the sole precondition necessary for democratization. He maintains that the transition to democracy begins with agreement on national unity, extent of political struggle for power


19 among contending forces /political actors followed by a thoughtful decision by the political actors to adopt democratic rules by habitation. In his view, the implementation of democratic governance hinges on conscious decisions of a small circle of leaders (p, 356) In other words, it is crucial that elite develop institutions that represent interests o f the people and exe rcise moderate power in society. However, it can be argued that political actors alone are not enough; other mentioned factors (education, large middle class, and urbanization etc.) enable political actors to drive political change. Ug anda and Eritrea cases revealed the significance of the violent legacy of the liberation struggles and fragile institutions in determining the nature of post liberation n movements in Uganda and Eritrea to counteract both domestic and external strong push towards democratization. On her description of the breakdown of democratic regime, in which she highlighted the failures of leadership, Juan Linz and Stepan Alfred expla ins that the collapse of democratic regime might have been avoided if key political actors had pursue d other available options (Linz and Stepan 1978). The Problematic Democratization in Uganda and Eritrea M any scholars of democratization expected authoritarianism to continue to dominate Africa because they lacked the structural prerequisites associated with democracy (Huntington, 1991; Joseph, 1989; Lipset, 1959) Uganda and Eritrea have faced difficulties similar to those of many newly in dependent African states (e.g., tribal conflict, economic underdevelopment, and low literacy and educational levels). As noted earlier, a lthough the structural approach is useful to explain democratization in Latin


20 America and Africa in more general terms, it is important, h owever, to understand what hinder s democratization in Uganda and E Citizen and Subject : Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism a prominent Ugandan academic, Mamdani (1996) contends that the pr esent failures of democratization in Uganda stem from the inability of most post independence African governments to reform the colonial approach of indirect rule via customary tribal authorities that prevails in rural Africa He states that the modern Afr ican state i n its colonial experience, most notably i ndirect rule's reliance on an ethnic basis. D ivisions were not only inter ethnic but also intra ethnic as there was a split between the urban and the rural. Thus, efforts to reform the states have all si nce failed to achieve democracy, thus, tapping authoritarian possibilities in culture No doubt p ost independence Uganda and Er itrea as suggested by Mamdani, lacked capacity to replace d more democratic institutions. Although Uganda is home to many ethnic groups, post independence governments failed to accommodate existing ethnic divisions. For example, Uganda was founded to thwart Bu ganda dominance after independe nce, and specifically, to rectify the unequal development during colonial period by privileged groups from the southern part of Uganda. It was not surprising; therefore, that sectarian politics became the norm, in which political power was achieved through violent means. Although the NRM regime under President Museveni promised an inclusive government through the no party system, many members of political parties from the other ethnic groups were dismissed and detained ( Tripp, 2010). NRM regime has given w ay to an increasingly bias towards western Ugandan, which has been seen as benefiting


21 Indeed, democratic prospects are undermined by the strong tendency toward politicization of ethnic claims, in turn leads to zero sum, w inner take all politics in which some groups are included and others excluded. Against the above backdrop, it is clear that that a no party system is intrinsically incapable of delivering democracy and is not an alternative to multiparty system In the cas e of Eritrea, the Italian colonial power developed a policy of social and political manipulation revolving around ethnicity, religion, and social stratification. The amalgamation of Eritrea n diverse ethnic groups into a single colonial entity under a central imperial oppressive administration, led to the development of a single Eritrean national identity (Giorgis, 2014). According to Andebrhan Welde Giorgis, ethnicity was a crucial political issue, (p. 38) During t he armed struggle liberation movement in Eritrea produced a certain distinct authoritarian political culture characterized by centralization, hierarchy, strong loyalty and discipline. Several scholars have argued that individuals exposed t o political violence are more likely to engage in similar political behavior after the conflict has ended. Dorman (2006) and Melber (2003) agree that the militaristic and violent nature of the struggles has had a profound effect on the post liberation poli tical culture or structure Central to this militarism mindset has been the use of violence against any perceived adversary. As Don Connell (2007) note s and exercise of absolute power by violent means. This adherence to hierarchical in


22 porary political culture has bee n an authoritarian one predicated upon arbitrary exercise of absolute power. Much has been written about the achievement of the EPLF in relations t o the administration of rebel controlled areas during the war of liberation. More importantly, the capacity o f the EPLF to mobilize different groups within and outside Eritrea with the pretense of working toward a future state was a key Indeed, a variety of factors have made it possible for the EPLF to create an Eritrean identity based on values of unity and sac rifice that produced sustained nationalism. Additionally, EPLF insistence on successful promotion of the nationalism myth proved highly effective in relation to wide spread loyalty towards the movement (Iyob, 1997a). As mentioned previously, the EPLF was p rimarily establishe d to liberate Eritrea through military means. Correspondingly the EPLF created nationalism which was not merely an ideological phenomenon but a concrete struggle for state power. The movement was organized according to the principles of democratic centralism characterized by strict discipline and a centralized hierarchy of command (Pool, 2001; Connell, 2009) While the EPLF has experienced success in the transition from guerrilla to government, the leadership moved towards one party dom inance. In a one party state such as Eritrea, this dominance has been exercised through variety of methods: tolerance for only one dominant ideology, exclusion of opponents by force, and a constitution which centralized power in the hands of the leader. To this end, EP LF has resorted to authoritarian polices in order to promote and protect the interests of party elites While the perceived threats to post liberation states were real, in the case of Eritrea, they served a political purpose in perpetuating a militarized discourse that permits no opposition, shaping the post liberation political culture (Dorman, 2006). Today, however, the ruling


23 elite in Eritrea are caught up in their reluctance to ho ld multiparty party elections. Similarly, most African liber ation leaders lacked a clear consensus on how to elections, but have also undermined the democratization process by rigging the elections and limiting the political playing field. In this respect, elite actions have important consequences for the prospect s for democracy Movement (NRM) was meant to entrench, the depth of democratic control was inevitably limited in this one party system t hat restricted opposition political activities and democratic rule after they won the war of liberation Th eir elites, too, have experienced flaws in their post liberation governance structures. To Georges Nzongola in post colonial Africa is a function of its nature as an authoritarian control structure preoccupied with the political survival and material Ntalaja 1987, p. 89). Like the EPLF, the NRM regime began actively to restrict political space and centralize power (Tripp, 2004). Many political liberties have been related to the party politics. Museveni ensures Movement dominance through the legal instrument of institutionalizing the Movement system in the 199 5 constitution (Oloka Onyago, 19 97). After more than two decades in power, the democratization process has been controlled and has reflected the aspirations and interests of the NRM leadership. The NRM carr ied out democratic reforms to consolidate its hold on power and broaden its support base. These examples clearly suggest that liberation and elections are not synonymous.


24 Colonialism and Democratization in Uganda and Eritrea Besides the broader democrati zation theories discussed above, scholars have also looked at other specific issue s which in their analyses affect democratization in Africa. This includes the impact of colonialism and the problem of democratization in the newly formed artificial states. Similarly the colonial legacy has shaped the character of post colonial states and the nature of its politics. Thus, the experience of colonial and post colonial rule has influenced the trajectory o f democratic prospects in Africa such as Uganda and Eritrea. Whereas modernization theory emphasizes the domestic obstacles to democratization, the colonialism line of thought focuses on external/ structural limitations. Therefore, a ny attempt to explain the democratic gap in U ganda and Eritrea must locate the problem in its colonial and post colonial h istorical context. African has gone through different liberation movements and political transitions that have had deep implications for the democratization process in the contine nt. The decolonization process waged by various African nationalist movements against the colonial powers (1950s/1960s ), main objective was indepe ndence; t he armed liberation struggles directed against indigenous regimes that were deemed illegitimate as they were the creation of ethnic or regional discontent from within (1970s 1980s); and the post colonial li beration movements directed against a repressive regime in power with the aim to alter state institutions by the use of violence, includ ing establish ment of legitimate and democratic stable regime s particularly the post 1990s experience with multiparty politics (Cheru, 2012 ). Since the era of colonialism (1885 1960s) African societies have experienced


25 drastic political changes, which have significan tly affected every aspect of Af rican life in general. The co lonial powers established artificially formed nation states and/or arbitrary territorial units imposed on Africa without any regard to for ethnic diversity Pre existing African traditional systems were abolished, withdrawn and replaced with exploitative systems that alienated African people ( Mbaku, 2004) therefore faced by the challenge of forging unity out of diversity and uneven development. This meant th at African colonized countries like Uganda and Eritrea did not enjoy the underlying consensus on shared nationhood. A t independence the incoming Ugandan elite s inherited imperial state structures and its institutions developed through coercive mechanism s, centralized authority and economic controls, and Basil Davidson (1992) described it as a subjugation of ethnic groups withi n superficial political spaces. In doing so colonialism gave special privileges to certain group ( elites ) over othe rs within the same society ( some tribes ) The el ites were incorporated into a world capitalist system but were made subservient to the colonial administrators Not surprisingly, t h is discriminatory policy exacerbated ethnic tensions and political divisions within these arbitrary creations through what is became known as the colonial policy of divide and rule. In Uganda, British colonial rulers applied divide and rule through indirect rule policy t hat pitted the favored Bu ganda in the south of the country against the other ethnic groups in N orth. Unequal regional development between the poor south and the favored richer S outh further heightened ethnic an imosity after independence (Jorgensen, 1981, p. 176). Similarly Italy as a small nation in Europe colonized Eritrea. Eritreans were in the peripheral South, a source of cheap labor and raw mate rials for the benefit of Europe


26 as well as mostly industrial global N orth. Acc ording to Richard Sherman under Italian rule, Eritrean s were treated as subjects, with no opportunity to participate in socioeconomic and political matters in the colony (Sherman 1980) The Italians established a centralized colonial state with extreme repressive machinery that exploited ources, used the local natives in the production process as cheap laborers, and for handling raw materials for Italian industries. The exclusion of indigenous people from economic and political organizations significantly affected the post colonial legacy of Eritrea. It was this politics of exclusion (divide and rule) that s inter and intra state wars. It was not surprisingly that the Eritrean violent struggle for nationhood began with the dream of a people with a country of their o wn D ependency therefore, underscore s t he nature of the historical legacy of colonialism such that it tended to construct the political economies of colonies so they remained deeply reliant on their former colonial powers It is based on the exploitative and oppressive nature of the relationship betwe en Africa and their former colonial powers in the Wes t ( Southall, 2013). developed and the extraction of resources from the former, maintenance of these unequal relations between the center and the periphery, and facilitated by elites who presided over the impoverishment of local masses which has resulted in 1989). Hence, t his school of thought stresses rising class co nflicts as impediments to smooth democratic development. Similarly, resistance to colonialism as a system of economic exploitation, political repression and cultural oppression in Uganda and Eritrea, did not start with polished


27 elites. The armed struggle s as Nzongola Ntalaja ( 2012 ) pointed out, were led by revolts against colonial conquest, unfair and discriminatory practices of white supremacy and racist oppression. It was Mu s result of the economic exploitation and colonization by European colonialist s (Museveni: 1997, 34 35). Consequently the political cr isis in the nature of the African state was a byproduct of col onialism itself. By implication, colonialism undermined the democratization processes in Africa so as to promote colonial interests. Kenneth Bauzon (1992) captures this when he argued : Colonialism per se was undemocratic, whatever form it took. Its politi cal and administrative apparatus was meant for ruling, not as a vehicle of representation. And it was established for purpose of pursuing colonial policies, not for advancin g the interest of the colonized.. (p. 7). Indeed, an argument that can be made is that negative colonial experiences have to some extent contributed to the non democratic authoritarian rule in post colonial Uganda where African people were denied basic freedoms and democratic rights (Dicklitch, 2002) The political structures were in effect undemocratic. Consequently, liberation movements in post colonial African have struggled for equal rights and to some extent for democratization of the continent such as in Uganda and Eritrea. In Uganda, for example s, African elites who replaced the colonial rulers deployed the same colonial laws and resources to sustain their political power ; they were generally interested in enri ch ing This explains why revolution theorists such as Cabral assert that a pervasive legacy of colonial rule was the creation of


28 new classes in Africa (Cabral, 19 72, p. 50 1). Although colonialism inspired African nationalism, nationalists and post colonial ther and conduct free and fair elections. In fact, the modern sta te left behind by colonialists provided a dominant instrument for authoritarianism in Uganda and Eritrea The new elites in these countries became ruthless dictators, relying on ethnic mobili zation, and restricted political space, corrupt and distant from the masses. In Uganda, the elites did not foster ethnic cohesion or lessen political tension, but exac erbated them. This resulted in military coups and civil war s in which elites sought to secure their dominance and reinforced their grip on power (Jorgensen, 1981). In effect the East West rivalry during the Cold War period in 1970s and 1980s has made Africa a battleground between the two superpowers with each side backing and imposing its own dictator s in the region, and often sustained by foreign aid (McGowan 2003). Alas the unaccountable elites who were considered the new power holders and beacon s of African renaissance became repressive, corrupt and far remov ed from the reality of everyday life on the ground. I only are the post colonial states completely rooted in the authoritarian nature of colonial rule conferred o n Africa n nation s prior to independence but, more importantly, the acceptance of the post colonial nation states meant acceptance of the legacy of colonial political rule and its institutional dimensions (Davidson 1992 p. 162). This partly expla ins why George Muda Carew (1993 ) assert s that most African elites swiftly replaced the colonialists as rulers after the departure of the colonial administrators (Carew, 1993, p. 39) Otherwise, how can president Mus


29 president Af e we rki more than two decades in power be rationalized despite the loud protest that they relinquish power ? Similarly, African elites defended the institutionalization of the politics of patronage as a means to maintain national unity. Those elites who were able to retain power gre w very rich, signal ing the rise of the so m rule in which powerful individuals retained power, used their control of state resources to build vast network of clients across political spectrum and ethnic boundaries. In Uganda, President Museven i was successful to stay in power for 28 years, while Af e wer ki ha s been ruling for almost 23 years. Whereas the war s of national liberation played an important role to unify African people against colonialism and post colonial repressive regimes (Claph am, 2012), Uganda and new elites have so far shown little commitment to the democratization process, and as a result democracy in these two countries has suffered severe setback. Paradoxically the idea of maintaining unity was also thought to b e more important than democracy in post colonial Uganda and Eritrea. As points out the historical failure of post independence leaders to affect necessary political change can be linked to the disjuncture between the political elites who cling to power and the masses provoking the alienation and disempowerment of the masses 1997) Not surprisingly, t herefore the post colonial legacy complicated democratization process es in Africa and paved the way to one part y dictatorship unde r the pretext of national unity as trend s of erosion of democratic rule s a re visible across the continent. In the light of above assessment, the consequences of this disappointment which emanates from unfulfilled expectations (e.g. economic deprivation exclusion from the


30 structures of state power) have led to the emergence o f all kinds of social movements including the armed movements referred to by Hank Johnson ohnson, 201 0 p. 138) i n defiance of post colonial repressive regimes across the African continent. I n effect, many would argue that the post colonial liberation movements in were born out of the unfulfilled expectations of African people concerning decolo nization. Indeed, before the end of the Cold War, most of Africa was a stronghold of authoritarian regimes. However, t he crisis of legitimacy, the peaking of protests during late 1980s and early 1990s and demands for dismantling a one party system, mil it ary dictatorship and repression at the end of the Cold W ar for ced several countries in Africa to transition to democracy. However, Uganda and Eritrea remained authoritarian regimes. Despite the de legitimation of the African post colonial state in 1990s by the pro democracy movements, democracy remained fragile and the elites continued to resist any democratic transformati on that may empower the masses. In essence, the euphoria over democracy has not move d beyo nd the cycle of holding of elections Similarly the return to authoritarian past has been justified by elites with the argument that political stability, economic development and nation building are more pressing issues than consolidating democratic ins titutions. By implication, this tendency allowed these liberation leaders to criminalize Not surprisingly, therefore, the stress to preserve unity of the new independent states had degenerated into a justification of current authoritarian political system in Uganda and Eritrea. Therefore, the issues of liberation and democratization in Africa are intertwined.


31 CHAPTER III THEORETICAL APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY I will in this chapter provide the method I have used to ca rry out the study, and present the overall research design describing the method o f analysis. T his study employs a comparative discourse case analysis that encompasses the available literature on this research topic, and explores some variations on the problematic nature of democratization processes in post liberation movement regimes in Africa The case studies not only play a post libera tion politics in Africa but also serve as a rigorous research approach (Yin, 2003). Furthermore, c omparative studies provide deta il ed analysis on particular case s, and specificity when comparing different political systems, patterns and processes. The study, as stated previously, attempts to address the following question: Why National Resistance Movement (NRM) and Eritrea Front (EPLF) regimes have become authoritarian and did not stay the democratic course ? Taking the above main research question into consideration, I found it is also necessary to employ a qualitative descriptive research design (Bryman, 2008) incorporating historical analysis in order to able to explore other structural explanations missing in the reviewed literature concerning valuable insights and the factors that would have either sustain or th wart democratization in general. Thus, this study primarily looks at the two cases of Uganda and Eritrea in order to interpret the theoretical discussion. The analysis of liberation movements in Uganda and Eritrea allows this study to examine the role played by elites in the shaping of post liberation regimes in Africa and especially during


32 the unprecedented winds of democratic change in 1990s, an event th at has been referred Third Wave in which many Africa n countries transition ed to electoral democracy while others like Uganda and Eritrea remained basically authoritarian. Th r ough the comparative discourse case analysis of democratization o f the two countries, and building on a theoretical framework provided by widely cited scholars of democratization in Africa, I intend to account for the varied democratic transition path s in terms of elite resistance to democratization in lib eration movement regimes. Thus i n this respect, inherited post war political institutions offer many African liberation moveme nts elites opportunity to shape and structure political rule in their own fav o r, such that incumbent leaders ( elites ) struggling with issue s of legitimacy can arbitrarily alter a state constitution and electoral rule to determine election outcome s which help them retain power and especially in Uganda and Eritrea wh ere victorious armed liberation movement s control state power In analyzing the cases of Uganda and Eritrea, this study will use materials from both secondary data including books and sc holarly peer reviewed /journal articles about post liberation politics and democracy in Africa published government and human rights newspapers and online information that exists in the public domain for example materials from Amnesty International Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Groups The diffi culty with the printed data and secondary sources is that it can be distorted and incomplete. I should mention that I use newspapers and NGOs research with discretion and believe it to suffer from certain knowledge biases My reason for choosing a comparat ive case studies approaches is because despite the limited research on NRM and


33 EPLF, much of the literature that does exist has not been fully exhausted. By bringing in untapped sources, the study informs its readers about current problems in post liberati on regimes Liberation Movements and Democracy This paper will now t urn now to the notion of liberation in an attempt to understand the importance of liberation movements in modern African politics. In this study, a liberation movement is defined as a ma jor political organization that mobilizes oppressed peoples for purposes o f overthrowing authoritarian regime, or imperialist domination and exploitation in the case of colonialism For his part, Christopher Clapham rule ( Clapham, 1998), and this definition clearly suggests that liberation is freedom from repressive rule. Moreover, this explains why the national liberation mo vements in Africa were perceived to be wide fronts without specific agendas beyond independence. While comparing between liberation movement in Africa, Ali Mazuri observes wh ich involved the seizing of the state by indigenous African forces and that the takeover would make the state instrument of progress ; and the second liberation struggle in Africa was about the qu est for democracy (Mazuri, 1992, p. 9), More sp e cifically, E ke h (1997), notes within post colonial Africa states (pp. 96 70). For him, liberation as freedom is at the core of democracy and democratization. Above all, colonialism g ave rise to the nationalist movements that were born out


34 of popular discontent to combat repressive conditions. In this respect, liberation involved armed struggle aimed at the total emancipation of the people from the domination of colonialism and neo col onialism as was the case in Algeria, Angola Zimbabwe South Africa and Mozambique (Nzongola Ntalaja, 1987). On the other hand Amilclar Cabral defines national liberation as: The phenomenon in which a given socio economic whole rejects the negation of its historical processes. In other words, the national liberation of a people is the regaining of the historical personality of that people, in return of history through the destruction of the imperialist domination to w hich it was subjected (p.102). As s uch, liberation is imbedded in the human psych e and manifested in the drive for freedom from oppression. Therefore, l iberation is a revolutionary process that opposes the colonialism with all its structures For the Eritrean, for example, the process of re volution continued to be that of national liberation. As noted earlier, the struggle for Eritrea nationhood/self determination was waged through military campaign against ward an independent state where there is no exploitation of humanity by humanity. To point, national liberation meant not only the right of the people to rule itself but also the right of the people to regain its history. Accordingly, a revolution is national because of Eritrean nationalities are in the process of creating an Eritrean national identity (Sherman, 1980). Indeed, most African liberation leaders viewed revolution as a process of radical social, economic, political and institutional c hange. Likewise in the 1950s and 1960s, liberation and independence were synonymous with freedom from foreign rule. It was on this basis that post liberation elite s in Uganda


35 and Eritrea tend to use ideology in order to hearten national unity. As Nzongola Ntalaja, 1987) pointed out, A frican elites were the only class capable of political mobilization of the African mass es against colonial domination (Nzongola Ntalaha, 1987) Indeed, they viewed themselv es as capable liberators who kne w what is good for the people. However, o nce independence was achieved, the popular coalition began to disintegrate becaus e many African elites failed to provide basic needs to ordinary people It was this post rding to Nzongola Ntalaja, that made a second liberation desirable (p. 92). Moreover, t his explains why Cabral contended that colonialism created new classes in Africa whose members began to enjoy socio economic status in terms of wealth and occupation In cases, such as Uganda and other the countries in Horn of Africa like in Eritrea the response against bad governance resulted in armed resistance (Dorman, 2006). Today, however, liberation means more than political independence from colonial rule. While t hese scholars define liberation in terms of decolonization, this paper examines the liberation in terms of a struggle against post colonial authoritarian state s that essentially became more concerned with serving the interests of those elites who hold powe r. These liberation movements including NRM and EPLF of Uganda and Eritrea, have use d violence against particular repressive regimes that have marginalized the bulk of their populations. As Fantu Cheru (2012) observes, democratic struggles has its roots in armed resistance to oppressive regimes It is also true that t hroughout liberation struggle s, most leaders in Uganda and Eritrea proclaimed among other things democracy, and that the ordinar y people be given the opportunity to exercise their political rights in an orderly manner.


36 CHAPTER IV CASE STUDIES: UGANDA AND ERITREA Uganda is a unique case study in the post colonial A frica n context because it is neither a liberal democracy nor is it strictly a one party state When he came to power in 1986 through guerilla warfare President Museveni and his National Resistance Movement (NRM) demonstrated a clear ideological departure from past leaders. He 51). He immediately restricted the activities of political parties in the country and argued that the country needed to settle first. A quick look at past political history helps explains why African strongmen like Museveni have long made simplistic argument s that democracy is too dangerous to try because it bre eds politica l violence and ethnic conflict. Uganda political and economic problems have always been associated wit h the chaos, sectarianism and violence of the past Colonial administration amalgamated a highly diverse nation /region into a single entity Through the policies of divide and rule, the British favored Protestant chiefs in access to land and authority at the expense of Catholic and Muslims. Moreover, Buganda's location to the south of the country made it strategic as it was closer t o Lake Victoria and the port. (1980) point, t hese policies created further ethnic, political, and religious divisions in Uganda.


37 Uganda gained its independence from Britain in 1962, and inherited political structures that had been created by the departed British colonial power T he first post independence government headed by Milton Obote Ugand a Congress Party (UPC) was characterized by politics of exclusion (Kasfir, 1998) He made an alliance with the third biggest party, the Kabaka Yekka (KY), which represented the interest of the Bu ganda kingdom the largest ethnic group in the south who were advocating for self government On the other hand the Democratic Party (DP) agend a was to end the domination rule. T he broad collation government did not last long because executive abuses have been pervasive. Obote regime was perceived to be favoring his northern region and own ethnic group at the expense groups a move that was not well received by the Buganda people. Moreover, the economic hardship in the country led to public discontent. As such, control over the struggling and government became uncertain H e decided to centralize power instituted a single party system, and relied increasingly on patronage, coercion and to some extent, disregarded the complex federal constitution that was adopted at independence The rift within his coalition government including the b anning of political parties resulted in a confrontation between the central government and the local Bu ganda kingdom As Nelson Kasfir pointed out, this authoritarian trend encouraged Obote to use m ilitary to defeat his opponents. It is against this ( personalization of power ) that each party sought to use the military support to ac hieve its political end (Kasfir, 1976) Indeed, a need to maintain national unity and stability was the excuse for outlawing the opposition parti es.


38 However, the political stability and socioeconomic condition of the country deteriorated. In 1971, General Idi Amin who hailed from the west Nile, toppled the d power through a military coup, and consolidated his grip on power by restructuring the state institutions and the military (Omara Otunnu, 1987) Although was celebrated in the streets of Kampala by Baganda people who faulted Obote for destroying the Buganda n kingdom Uganda became known for its terror which ushered in a long period of authoritarianism (Karugire, 1988). Furthermore, t he takeover of civilian government by the army had dealt a serious blow to a democratic process in the country S hortly after ousted from power by the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF) with the help of Tanzania army in 197 9 B y the end of 1980, Milton Obote had returned to power for a second full term (K arugire, 1988) Karugire further notes that the military culture has become so entrenched in society that a civil ian cannot preside over Uganda without the support of the army. violent post indepen den ce political history, based on complicated and unstable political alliances, which helped pave the way for military dictatorship. Similarly, w hen Museveni seized power in 1986 he declared to free Uganda from rule. That, no one should think that the resist ance was a mere change of guard ; but a fundamental change in politics of Uganda (Museveni, 1997). He promised to reestablish the rule of law and return the country to civil ian rule /democracy However, twenty nine years later, Museveni remains in power, which suggests that perhaps his intentions or ojectives were not different from his predecessors who kept civil liberties under tight


39 control. According to O mara Otunu (1991), the NRM regime intended to maintain control over political discourse in the country. Thus t negative past political experience sets the debate as to whether multiparty democracy is a suitable model for Africa Like many other African ruling elites who denounced democracy as a Western model that was inappropriate for Africa t Museveni strongly believe that multiparty democracy was divisive by nature and could lead to ethnic fragmentation and politic al disorder. Given that fact m ultiparty party elections were often fraudulent and disputed by many post liberation leaders Museveni went on to suggest that the voters should be given an opportunity to participate in an individual merit based as opposed t o party based system (Museveni, 1992 ). He argued that a no n partisan democratic system could foster unity and political stability as well as change the way Ugandans could participate in politics at the grassroots level s As Museveni (1997) write s: T here are no healthy grounds for party political polarization in Uganda at this time because of the abse nce of social classes. W hat is crucial for Uganda now is for us to have a system that ensured democratic participation until such time as we get, through econ omic development, especially industrialization, the crystallization of socioeconomic group upon which we can then base healthy political parties ( p. 195 ). Indeed, one of the arguments that have always been advanced by the NRM was to reconstruct state inst itutions. Similarly, in their analysis of multiparty elections in Africa, Michael Cowen and Lisa Laasko (2002) found that where the ruling party had control


40 over the electoral process multiparty competitive elections was no thing more than elite democracy in which i ncumbent s allow multiparty elections but may place barriers (unfair conditions / lack of a level playing field freely. Unlike the opponents, the incumbent has access to state resources (money), and unmatched media coverage. The resulting overwhelming electoral victories may contribute to an atmosphere that dissuades voters from supporting other opposition parties T his has created new opportunities for corrupt African leaders to overstay their power. In the Ugandan case, post independence leaders managed to rally mass support to bolster their continued rule most notably from their ethnic groups. For example, i n the early 1 960s, t consistently relied on ethnic affiliation an alliance by the elites of northern and eastern Uganda against their opponents ( Kasfir, 1991; Carbone 2008). regime attracted strong support from his northern region. It is not surprising, therefore, that since the 1990s; Uganda current leadership has been good at keeping up with the rhetoric of good governance, political reforms, free and fair elections. In r esponse, many Ugandans came to embrace As such the NRM despite its ideological conviction that opposed multiparty democracy governance Political Co optatio n and the NRM Regime Having rejected the procedural winner take it all democracy the NRM party employed a unique democratization model to hold on to state power by nurturing a


41 popular participatory system of governance through the Resistance Council s (RC) This NRM instituted a movement set ups also known as no party system Movement system based on concept of individual merit basis that was endorsed by the 1995 constitution of Uganda as an alternative form of grassroots d emocracy Elections at the villa ge and district level s were held in 1989 and 1992 (Kasfir, 2000) Local participation was through local council meetings, which were open to all adults of voting age in a village. The Resistance Council constitutes a committee of representative who are elected on individual merit basis as opposed to their political affiliation. It was a grassroots decentralized political administrative framework designed to bridge the gap between the central government au thority a nd the grassroots at the bottom. The Resistance Committees were supposed to deliver basic services restore l aw an d order, strengthen national unity and combat government high level corruption at the local level s (Carbone 2008, P. 39) In short, R structures provided opportunities for citizens to participate in the governance of state affairs. Indeed, Museveni asserted that there was a fundamental shift of power to the mass of ordinary people at the grassroots since he came to power. Howeve r, Om ara Otunu (1991) observes that the Resistance Councils began to effect what he being democratic (p. 43). Furthermore R esistance C ouncils (RC) did not only expand the Mo vements structures but have become an important source of political mobilization for the NRM regime from village to district, monitoring political activities at the grassroots. This has made it quite difficult for other civic organizations who did not pl edge allegiance to the Movement to exercise their political rights without fear ( Dicklitch


42 1998:79 81; Burkey 1991; Oloka Onyango 1991). Under the term of 1995 constitution, executive powers were held by the president directly elected for a five term Meanwhile, it restricted political party activities until a referendum would be held on the matter in 2000, in which Ugandans would be free to then continue with the no party Movement system or to organize any other kind of democracy (Kirya, 1998). There fore, the n o party system in Uganda can be thought as an authoritarian regime, in which every major political de who use patronage politics. For example, Museveni appointed the leader of the Democratic Party (DP) as a deputy vice president and mini ster of foreign affairs, and co opted other opposition political rivals from different ethnic, regional, and religious groups whose views do not correspond to the ruling NRM party line (Dicklitch, 1995). Over the years, Museveni e xercised personal power through patrona ge, corruption and intimidation As Michael Bratton and Nicholas van de Walle noted, i n the absence of formal democratic institutions, decision making power is concentrated in the hands of strongmen, surround ed by sycophantic politicians mostly the elite, who are there to share the spoils (Bratton and van de Walle, 1997) I t was not surprising therefore t hat regime relied on his lieutena nts through the Resistance Councils ( RC ) for grassroo ts suppo rt and the to appoint opposition politicians in his NRM regime. When opposition parties and civil society are weakened, the transition to any subsequent democratic regime become s problematic and it is n ot surprising that the executive branch exercises influence over both the legislature and the judiciary. Ugandan parliament have guaranteed the executive a legally secure monopoly on p ower.


43 Furthermore, u nder the no party system the arm y occupied a central political position that went beyond its constitutional mandate (Carbone, 2008, p p. 40 41). It was the guerrilla leader Museveni who count ed on t he loyalty of the armed fo rces. Hence, co optation of the military in politics was pr ovided in the 1995 constitution. The provision for military representation (Special Interest Groups / the UPDF Act Parliament allows ambitious high ranking military elites to compete in elections and have inf luence over political decisions ( UPPC. 2005) Consequently, some of Ugandan officers who joined politics are being scrutinized and closely monitored by the NRM regime. It is not surprising; therefore, that cooptation distances high ranking military elites who would have otherwise posed a threat to the incumbency. In addition, it will be difficult for some of these military elites who are engaged in politics to plan and execute coups since they have many tasks at hand. Indeed, co political posts has led to entrenchment of one man rule. As such, the sta te army has gone unchallenged ( Carbone, 2008, p46) Patronage, typically in the form of government contracts, tenders, and jobs, is his preferred tool and the one that he used to render Parliament ineffective The National Resistance Movement and Repression without Violence By the late 1990s, the democratization process stalled According to Carbone increasingly intolerant of dissenting voices from within the country, particularly those who disagreed with the principl


44 tendencies towards authoritarianism. In spite of economic liberalization and strong donor support the NRM regime failed to establish democracy. Generally, a combination of domestic and external factors helped sustain the regime rule. Domestically, sociopolitical shield the regime from an y pressure because of the proclaimed successful implementation of structural adjustment (Carbone. 2008). Arguably, Uganda was perceived by Western governments as an island of stability in an increasingly troubled East African region. Specifical ly, signific ant economic growth supported by foreign aid has led to the rise of domestic constituencies w ith interests in the status quo, enables Museveni to consolidate his political dominance in the country. Following mass political protest s for multiparty democra cy in the 1990s, the economic importance of foreign aid to Uganda can hardly be overlooked. The NRM regime has received substantial financial assistance from international donors since it came to power in 1986 On capturing power, Museveni espoused socialist economic program. However, g iven the economic crisis confronting Uganda after the liberation war, the NRM regime adopted neoliberalism policy by accepting the proposed Structural Adjustment Program (SAP ) as a way to have an acc ess to those opportunities offered by international financial institutions that the NRM regime badly needed for their political surv ival Despite the fact that there were some conditions attached to funding from the International Monetary Fund and World Ba nk such as privatization of public sector, tight budgets, and entrenchment of the civil service in order, primarily, to save on salary costs, the NRM regime had no choice but reluctantly pushed the economic reforms policies


45 through For example, Uganda has privatized more than half of its state controlled companies liberalized investment laws to facilitate the export of profit encouraged foreign investment and open ed capital markets. Indeed, foreign aid contributed to an estimated one 2001, 43). According to Collier (1999), among the fastest growing economy in the world in 1990 s World Bank (2000) figures show that growth averaged 5 percent a year, more than twice the regional average. T he U nited States administration praised the NRM regime for its p opular social economic reforms, particularly its program to eradicate poverty and combating HIV/AIDs (US A I D, 2005) Other i nternational donors including the IMF and the World Bank pointed out that Museveni not only has institute d positive economic reform s but also has improved t h record Unlike the previous post independence regimes, liberalized all economic sectors, encourage d foreign direct investment and open ed up capital markets, which resulted in remarkable economic growth This rapid economic growth supported by foreign aid, generated interest from both political and military el ites with stakes in the system. As Bratton an d van de Walle (1997) observes that the political elites in Africa have used external resources as a means to consolidate their own Accordingly, Museveni was able to utilize the impressive economic improvement in the country to his advantage and for the NRM regime stability. It can be argued that this economic success directly influenced perceptions of the NRM regime, and competence as a progressive political leader.


46 Therefore, it is not surprising that the 1990s impressive economic condition demonstrated considerable opportunities for Museveni to overstay in power. In this regard however foreign aid has a negative effect on democratization as it was not easy for international donors to insist on multiparty democracy i n Uganda where o pposition and political activists were harassed and tortured by security forces as Museveni e prepared to compete for the presidential election planned for 1996 (Amnesty International, 1992) Interestingly, the NRM regime has allowed mass media to flourish in Uganda For example, independent newspapers openly criticized the regime As argued earlier, h owever, this does not mean that the relationship between the NRM regime and the press has been cozy In effect, t he NRM regime continued to detain political opponents and prosecute journalists who reported on issues such as a high level corruptio n and human rights ( Human Rights Watch, 1999). Paradoxically the restrictive political measures contradict the no party democracy principle s and popular participation claims, which are supposed to guarantee civil liberties to all Ugandans. Thus, the foreg oing analysis clearly shows that while t he influence of foreign aid may have contributed to cosmetic political reform s and motivated the NRM elites to entertain the idea of multiparty elections rapid economic growth help ed legiti mize the status quo ( NRM regime ) in Uganda. Recognizing that the restrictio n on civil liberties by the NRM regime would lead to the end of political pluralism t he international donor communi ty led by the United States and, European Union (E.U.) governments started exerting pressure on Museveni to open up political space in Uganda. party system limits the rights of citizens. Succumbing to


47 domestic an d pressure for multi party dem ocracy Museveni reluctantly urged Ugan dans to choose be tween the existing M ovement system and a multiparty system in a referendum held in 2000 ( Magaju and Oloka Onyonga, 2000; Bratton and Lambright, 2001). Museveni and the ruling NRM elites crisscross ed t he country campaigning against m ultiparty politics and persuading voters that political parties would divide Ugandans along ethnic, regional and religious lines He argued that Ugandans belonged to a single class of peasants and therefore did not need mult iparty democracy but a n inclusi ve unity a nd political stability (Museveni 1998; Kasfir 1998). In this context, the NRM was exempted because it is no t a declared political party Legitimation of the NRM Rule through Reform Process In the 2000 referendum, voters in Uganda endorsed Museveni 's ''no party'' Movement system despite his regime ban on political activities outside the Movement, a national umbrella political organization to which, in theory, all candida t es and vote rs belong ( New York Times 2000). However the opposition boycott ed the referendum and questioned its legitimacy because they believed referendum exercise sought to take away basic political rights of freedom of association and assembly (Mugaju and Oloka Onyango, 2000) Despite the low turnout, however the referendum did take place and t he elites and those in rural areas sided with the NRM regime personal physician during the war time, delivered a far reaching critique of the Movement system. He presented an


48 in a newspaper and decried increasing intolerance for the internal opposition and accused the NRM regime of being undemocrat ic and corrupt (Besigy, 1999). He later challenged Museveni in th e presidential elections in 2001 in a campaign replete with violence and intimidation, and was forced to flee into exile. Unsurprisingly, th e ruling NRM and Museveni easily won the 2003). This is a clear indication that Museveni was anxiously losing his political power dominance within the ruling NRM party. It was not until a decade ago or so that the Western donor community including political observers and academics the semi authoritarian /hybrid regime (Carbone 2003; Tripp 2004 ). In effect, many would argue that characterizati on of the movement system as transitional pending sufficient economic growth can easily serve as the justification for the indefinite political domination by the r uling NRM elites (Kasfir, 1998) Meanwhile, emergence of the internal contradictions among so me of the key figures within the Movement became serious by the 2001 presidential elections. Additionally, s ince ambition was challenged by some group of NRM dissidents calling for pluralist reform s within the ruling NRM party splits g rew. Museveni dismissed three of his key outspoken cabinet members who were critical of his political dominance and concentration of power on the presidency ( Makar a et al., 2009 ). With the momentum building against him, i n 2005, the country changed its


49 constitution from a no party system to multiparty system through another controversial referendum This is because under the old 1995 constitution, President stay in power was constrained by two term s limi t in office. Therefore i n his efforts t o get around this limitation the NRM reversed the no party system in favor of multi party politics, against years of its own rhetoric under which the ruling elite had initially campaigned defeated sectarianism that had been responsible for upheavals which almost gripped Uganda for decades (Mwenda, 2007). However Kasfir and Twebaz (2008) pointed out that, t he reason for this reversal was purely elimination of two term limits and the esire to maintain power. Museveni traversed the country seeking support from Ugandans for a return to multi party politics arguing that the measures would promote development program in Uganda (Museveni, 2005) Museveni justified the move on various grounds including that there is unfinished work to be done by his ruling NRM party, and that any likely Nevertheless t he opposition eleme n t s who had long advocated a reintrodu ction of political parties, this time called for a boycott and the incumbent elites planned to entrench themselves in power, and there was no transparency on the otives for the referendum. Despite the low turnout, more than 90 percent voted in favor of a return to multiparty politics ( BBC News 2005). Instead, Museveni aggressively used the influence of patronage in parliament to lift presidential two term limits to secure a third term (Tangri and Mwenda, 2010) To this end Museveni and the ruling e lites succeeded in securing passage of a resolution in favor of a national referendum seeking to amend the


50 constitution to lift the presidential two term limit s Once the decision was reached to move the country towards multiparty democracy, and in order not to lose control of power to opposition elements, the NRM regime established a wide board based government and co opted some prominent opposition members into Museve government. While coercion is arguably the most effective way to eliminate a perceived threat, co optation in this regard, is used as a means to expanding power by bringing opposition, or neutral figures into the syst em, usually through appointment, and amalgamating them The NRM expanded its power by creating or using existing semi official bodies to include individuals of certain professions, economic class, or educational strata. Other soft power options include the use o f populism and strategically dispersed economic benefits. To secure the 322 votes from the member s of Parliament free money through bribery, blackmailing, and int imidation (Mwenda, 2007, p. 24). As argued earlier t he regime was thus able to control internal and external oppositions to join in ruling the country. As Lewis (2005) writes, the complexity of mode rn society makes it hard for dictators to rule alone since all dictators need the support of some individuals in order to or example, vocal critic s of the NRM regime including members of parliament, cabinet minis ters and members of civil society were punished into submission by the NRM For example, some of the NRM members of the parliament, and cabinet ministers who did not support the constitutional amendment that removes the two term limit for the president, l ost


51 (Mwenda, 2007) Perhaps not surprisin g, these individuals constitute the elite tier of dictatorships. Moreover, w hen t he NRM incorporated real and potential opposition members to consolidate its power p olitical participation was allowed, because the protracted transition enabled the NRM to con trol democratization process. Under the NRM, elites have taken over the important government institutions and rum them in a fashion that rewards its clique (Tangri and Mwenda, 2010) In this respect a weak political opposition cannot resist a powerful a nd dominant NRM government. Therefore it is not surprising that Museveni was elected in 2006 and 2011 to a third and fourth terms amid widespread claims of rigging voter intimidation and violence (White, 2006) Indeed, t he NRM regime is still the dominant party in the country that is calling the shots and particularly in a society such as Uganda where the rules of the game are defined by elite s in power. It is not surprisingly, therefore, that Museveni relied on rhetoric of fairness and a partial democracy ploy of legitimation in order to mobilize mass support for his regime. Reluctant Democratization: The Case Of Eritrea Eritrea is a small, northeastern Africa n country covering about 125,000 square kilometers (48,000 square mile) w ith an estimated population of 5.5 to 6 million. Like s were arbitrarily drawn by the colonizing European power Since achieving its ind ependence from Ethiopia in 1991 Eritrea has been touted by many foreign observers as a shining model for democracy in Africa During his African tour i n March 1998, President Clinton single d out Eritrea for praise from among a small group of African countries (included Uganda, Et hiopia and Rwanda)


52 as leading an African renaissance, (Oloka Onyango, 2004). As the most impressive liberation movement in Africa, m any believed that the victorious E ritre Liberation Movement ( EPLF) leadership would learn lessons from postcolonial African history in order avoid the mistakes of the past committed by their predecessors T here were early indications that show ed that the coun try had made some pr ogress towards constitution in 1997 after a popular consultation process freedom of press, and a fairly good record of human rights (Abdulkadir, et al., 2011). Consequently, Eritrea began i ts transition with development of state institutions, and espec ially a democratic system required for a well functioning, accountable democracy. In their r esearch, Bratton & Chang (2006) fin d that Democratization requires a set of state structures that enforce law and order, respect human rights, respond to popular ( pp. 1076 7 ). They have supported the need for a country to state build and democratize simultaneously throughout the ir research. Indeed, the Eritrean people were broadly consulted on the writing of the constitution, and the EPLF regime promised to introduce multiparty democracy system A broad based civic consultation process was carried out, where constitutional commis sion members visited villages throughout Eritrea, and Eritrean communities abroad, to present and discuss key principles of the new Constitution: the separation of powers; the type of government; the role of the military and political parties; and how huma n rights should be protected and enforced (Connell 1997: 140). Although elections w ere promised, the EPLF under Af e intention of relinquishing power (Ottaway, 1998. p. 202). Surprisingly, many foreign


53 observers did not necessarily see t his as problematic, despite the regimes authoritarian tendencies. This is because the government was widely admired for its discipline and nation After seizing power, the EPLF established a Provisional Government / transitional government for Eritrea in 1991, which traced its legitimacy from its historic mandate in achieving the liberation of Eritrea from Ethiopia. In the 1992, EPLF begun to build the structure s of provisional governments with the hope that local go vernance w ould be a participatory process (Mekonnen, 2006) T he focus was on local and decentralized au thority, which reflects the tension between the popular democracy and the need to set and implement national development policy. ( Dorman, 2006, p.1091). The EPLF leadership ensures that polit ical appointees at the executive branch levels are being selected from among the ranks and files of the ruling EPLF. Af e we rki retained the power of appointing all provincial governors who in turn nominate the administrators of su b provinces for approval b y the EPLF regime (Government of Eritrea, 1996) Conversely, criticism has been made of the constitution making process on the basis that it was designed to legitimize the elite role of the EPLF in drafting a constitution fitting for its future role in Eri trea (Hedru 2003: 436). Although the EPLF was essentially a military organization with strong sense of hierarchy, it continued to cultivate the image of a democratic movement during its war with Ethiopia of liberation with Ethiopia. However, l ike other liberation movements in Africa that have turned to de facto single party regimes Isaias Af e we rki the leader of the


54 EPLF who received his military training at the height of Cultural Revolution in 1960s and was influenced by Maoist ide ology has remained During its liberation war for independence t he EPLF invoked Marxist Leninist theory to instill revolutionary discipline and politica l consciousness /patriotism in its fighters and t he general popula tion as well (Pool, 2011, p p 60 61 ) Intrinsically the last two decades ha ve demonstrated Af e we of state and its governing institutions. He exercised absolute power through t he tight hierarchical structures that concentrated power in the hands of the office While the EPLF was seen by Eritrean s and others as one of the most powerful liberati on movements in the third world whose main objective was to establish a demo cratic state present Eritrea politics Dan Connell (2011) seem to suggest that EPLF is grounded on demonstrated efficacy of the one party system with no clear positive road map to a history reflects a dead end toward a genuine democratic transition. He further notes: The roots of the present despotism lie within a movement that arose under conditions of unrelenting p olitical repression necessitating secrecy and subterfuge for its very survival, that came under attack at one time or another from nearly every major regional and global power, and that, like most of its liberation movement contemporaries, drew on Leninist traditions of highly centralized authority for its inspiration ( Connell, 2011. p. 420). There is no doubt that it is this entrenched legacy of autocratic liberation culture that shaped Eritr liberation politics. During the independence war most Eritrean displayed willing ness to sacrifice their lives in pursuit of what was regarded as common


55 good. Others may have turned blind eye to oppression due to fear or in the interest of common good (liberation). Accor zational structure helped in the production of disciplined and unquestioning cadres of followers /fighters (Connell, 1998 ). current malaise. Today, however Eritrea has backtracked from democratization process to an i ncreasingly becoming a one party authoritarian state Eritrea Repression and Bumpy Transition Like other national liberation governments turned repressive, the political establishment in Eritrea tolerates no open dissent. Since coming to power in 1991, the EPLF has not allowed any political opposition to emerge within Eritrea. The country has shown what Bratton and Van de Walle, (1994) called the ma The big man politics to some extent reflects patron client relationships, in which elite collude with the top leadership to get and maintain access to wealth and privileges; in return they contained dissent from below. independence regime under Afewerki systematically dismantled the formal instit utions in order to facilitate whole effective personalized rule (Kibreab, 2009). At the heart of these designed polices lie the intolerant ruling elites who perceived everything not controlled by the ruling elit es as representing a threat to national security. For example, thousands of Eritreans suffered camps throughout the country, including government critics, civil servants, peasants, students, journalists, and Christian and Muslim alike, all are liable to be regarded as a threat to the regime and thus vulnerable to arrest, torture and disappearance (Amnesty International


56 200 8b) Over the last two pushed the country into armed confrontations with its neighbors namely Sudan, Djibouti and Yamen. In mid 1998 2000 P reside nt Af e we rki rushed the country into a sequence of mili tary mobilization and political repression du ring its border war with Ethiopia contrary to the democracy principle (Gilkes an d Plaut 2000; Dorman, 2007). To many political observers, the Eritrean Ethiopia border war had to do with Eritrean sovereignty (Berekteab, 2009). Eritre an government unilaterally deployed its army and occupied a disputed old border area with Ethiopia because it intended to achieve the 1993 failed demarcation of the emerging sovereign Eritrea state and territory Thus, the war was portrayed as an Eritrean making or invader. Yet, Eritrea has accused Ethiopia of sending in thousands of settlers to the along the disputed border of two countries in an attempt to push out Eritreans. Indeed, the country has been under a perma nent state of emergency since. As such, the implementation of the constitution and national electio ns were postponed indefinitely without explanation ( Connell, 2011). Civil and political rights (freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of fr ee and fair elections) have since been eroded and denied to the Eritreans. T he EPLF regime instituted a mandatory mi litary national service, in which all men and women are conscripted into army used as forced labor and regularly subjected to violence (A mnesty International, 2013 ) Therefore, the overwhelmingly militarization and mass mobilization not only serves the purpose of eliminating dissent and reinforce the role of military in cowing the society but might employed by the EPLF regime as a device of legitimation in order to


57 retain power This phenomenon of state repression has been well captured by Seyoume Hameso who noted tole rated as it is equated with a direct assault on the ruling elite s or the president, who, in po wer, built his personality cult Hameso, 2002, p, 6). In the mid 2000 major differences started to emerge from within the EPLF leadership The border war betwe en Eritrea and Ethiopia unleashed tension in the country. The president was criticized for his role in the war and some people began to challenge th rule (Connell, 2005) A group of scholars and professionals wrote a n open letter to the President, criticizing his government for and the tendency toward s authoritarianism (Kibreab, 2009, p. 31) In the early 2001, some reformis ts within the ruling EPLF party named the Group of F ifteen (G 15) comprising senior government and top party officials calling for democratic reforms were jailed, and suspected dissent w ere rounded up and imprisoned including students of Asmara U niversity In their signed letter to the president, t he gr oup stated that the government has been reduced t o one man rule and demanded that the ruling EPLF regime keep its promise on democratization ( K ibreab 2009, p p 3 4 37 ) Not happy with growing dissent and demands for democratic reforms, President Af e we rk i ignored the G 15 petition, including manifesto for reform further called for implementation of the constitution, in which elected government was supposed to be in place by 1997. Instead, Afewerki employed brutal repress ion against his political opponents who dared question policy and closed down independent media outlets, restricted movements inside and outside


58 the country and accused the G15 of committing treason against the country ( Tronvoll, 1998) violence but were arrested because of their peaceful criticism of the government (Amnesty International 2002a). Many have argued that the outbreak of war gave Afewerki a strong r eason to derail democratization, and justify the concentration of power in his hands. at least 10,000 political prisoners in Eritrea who remained in arbitrary dentation without formal charge s for over a decade Furthermore, the EPLF leadership suspended all independent media ; closed down domestic and foreign non governmental organizations (NGOs); detained and tortured thousands of ordinary Eritreans perceived as a t we re pushed to flee the country as refugees in the neighboring countries. Thus, t he incarceration of civilians was not only to inflict fear and insecurity, but also to suppress all dissent in order to perpetua te authoritarian rule. It is not surprising that some independence advocacy groups described Eritrea as t he most repressive state in the world in terms of violation of civil liberties and human rights ( Freedom House, 2008; 20 12 ; 2009; US State Department; 2008, Human Rights Watch, 2007 2009; Amnesty International, 2013 ). Consequently, Eritrea has degenerated into a police state, and is one of the most mil itarized societies in the world (International Crisis Group Report, 201 0 ). The above analysis illustrates a legitimation strategy used by the EPLF regime as diversionary tactic When Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a devastating border the EPLF regime was faced with a deteriorating economy, and public discontent, and thus many viewed the Eritrea situation as a means for bolstering domestic support and u nifying an


59 increasingly divided military institution. economic i ndicators show a bleak picture. Unfortunately, however, communities cannot bring pressure to bear on the EPLF regime to adhere to democratic norms (good governance a nd respect for human rights ) Foreign aid to Eritrea has been suspen and t he international monetary institutions due to postponement of th e multiparty elections and restrictions on civil rights ( IMF, 2003). Throughout the post independence period, t been small or stagnant As the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) reported in 2013 Eritrea remains one of t he poorest countries in the world, with Human Development Index ranking of 18 1 out of 187 countries scoring an index of 0.381 ( UNDP, 2013) Furthermore, the national economy is centralized (government command economy) in one party the EPLF. This has squeezed out the private sector and marginalized the small business, t hus, individual or businesses can survive without patronage. The intensity of the zero sum game politics is particularly in Eritrea. Accordingly, this gives the EPLF regime economic lev erage to co opt and coerce intellectuals, businesspersons, and high ranking government officials who would have Although the EPLF exhibited corporatist tendencies, in w hich the private sector was envisioned as the number one economic actor, its leadership abhors the free market because of perceived potential democratizing effect There are established views, which maintained that market economy is as the important precon dition for democratic political, t hus, co (national economy), and enables the Afewerki


60 and his ruling EPLF elites to reward party loyalis ts (Kibreab, 2009, p. 294 298). Th us, th e politics of self reliance, which captures t he ethos of the EPLF regime, is one in a build its legitimacy and control society (Harris, 2006). Unfortunately, the nationalism that was assumed to benefit the people perpetuated itself to benefit of elite in Eritrea. Afewerki for example, granted increasing favors from the state; both financial and material on high ranking officers (International Crisis Group, 2012) To maintain control over the population power a nd secure loyalty Af e we rki placed the military direc tly under the executive control w hile building patron age through clientelistic networks by buying the support of the military men who have little oversight from the center Similarly, loyal legislators a nd government ministers are rewarded with lucrative government deals/contracts. Lik ewise, a ll areas of politics and the workings of the state have long been dominated by a powerful executive body embodied in a one person, President Af e we rki. Although initial efforts were made to institute political pluralism the country has not moved past a dominant executive /personal rule It is, thus, a combination of factors such as a culture of arbitrary power and undemocratic institutions that happen to govern the independent nation are those of a liberation movement that won the war through the barrel of gun. This tradition was further exacerbated by, an authoritarian rule and personalization of power in post independence Eritrea. It is not surprising therefore, that elites in Eritrea pursued an aggressive foreign policy in order to deflect popular attention from internal problems. Nevertheless, Eritrea is not different from other African post colonial governments that have centralized


61 power, in the n ame of national identity nationalism. Indeed, some scholars have argued that authoritarian regimes sometimes exploit ideologies, history and ethnicity as a visible tool in order to maintain political stability (Lynch and Crawford 2011; Beissinger 2008; Ch ristopher Clapham 1993 ). These tactics generally seek to exclude a certain group I argument is based on both external and internal threat s. The Movement and Eritrean Abo rted Democracy As argued earlier, transition from liberation movement to government was not an easy one, and particularly not for the African liberation movements that fought their way to power through the barrel of gun. Unl ike NRM no party democracy in Uganda where inclusive political and administrative system permitted intra national dialogue and intuitional reforms liberation experience with the Movement system has largely been rhetorical, and far from being institutionalized. E PLF reconstituted Democracy and Justice (PFD J ), a prototype of commitment to the multiparty politics; whereas it is openly distrust free compe titive election s and party politics ( I yo b 1997, pp. 658 663). Although t he Constitutional Assembly ratified the c onstitution of independent Eritrea in 1997 which guarantees citizens popula r participation in all aspects of political; economic, social, and cultural life the E PLF regime h as failed to have the constitution implemented. Similarly, the constitutional provisions regarding democracy and good governance were not observed either ( Connell, 2007) At its third Congress held in 1994,


62 it appeare d real political reforms would emerge. T he EPLF regime reiterated its commitment to democratic system during which a pluralistic constitution adopted to encourage popular participation, and t he resolution of the Congress by the National Democratic Program (1994) states In the context of our society, democracy is dependent not on the number of political parties and on regular elections, but on the actual participation of the people in the decision making process at the community and national (p. 15) Th e above sentence clearly indicates that the ruling EPLF was not committed to multi party democracy Regarding the issue of multi party, President Afewerki explained that democracy and political pluralism are realized through domestic developments of people giving rise to specific socio economic system, equitable allocation of resources and peace. He underlined that the western style of democracy that runs counter to the prevailing reality and paves the way for external interference through fomenting d ivision along the lines of religion, tribe and region is not acceptable at all. ase where the NRM regime let the people choose between the Movement System and the Multi par ty System through a referendum, the Eritrean initial transitional c onstitutional arrangements, however, was conducted under the full control of the victorious EPLF. Participation from other organizations was limited to the few members who decided to the transitional government as ordi nary citizens Thus, formation of political parties cannot be allowed to operate in the country Consequently both the NRM and EPLF seemed to be committed to nurturing the Movement s ystem as an alternative to multi p arty democracy s ystem. Unlike Uganda,


63 there are no registered political parties in Eritrea as the ruling EPLF regime c laims to be a national m ovement. As such, democratic elect ions have not taken place since the country gained its independence from Ethiopia after 30 years long struggle for ind ependence President Afewerki exercises legislative as well as executive powers ( Clottey 2012) Interestingly, Museveni and Af e we rki have cautioned Africa in its democratization agenda. Instead, they put much emphasis on nation building and participation rather than multi party democracy. These two post liberation leaders maintained that there is no need for regular multiparty elect ions that do not create economic opportunities and prosperity, but instability and political disorder. With dire poverty they argue d that Africa is still pre industrial with multi ethnic, multi religious society and therefore, multi party politics would be counterproductive since political parties run by elites tend to follow ethnic, religious and regional lines as opposed to ideological convictions (Ott a way, 1998, p. 210). This implies that democracy can be achieved without elections on basis of multipar ty competition. Thus, the ordinary but rather immediate basic human needs like food, shelter and healthcare Similarly economic development and democracy argument was routinely invoked as a justification for denying or restricting democracy in Africa. It was argued that the road to democracy takes over time and must be grounded in the culture of the local African people. ruling EPLF should remain in power forever. This is because it will take a while for the country that emerged from 30 years of war to experience socioeconomic development. L ike the NRM in Uganda which faulty experience wi


64 had suffered from divisive politics organized along ethnic and religious line (Bariagaber, 1998) Like many African lost liberation leaders who have all used anti colonialism propaganda where national unity is achieved through creating an external enemy Af e werki has built on nationalism and portrayal of the Ethiopian regime as the enemy In Ugand a, the no party system was introduced after a popul ar mandate was secured through a ref e rendum which allows individual to compete in elections on merit basis. The country has a political system that is hegemonic, but operates under the disguise of multiparty electoral politics. In contrast, the EPLF simply transform ed its supposedly representative deliberative organ into a provisional sort of parliament. Eritrea ruling EPLF /PFDJ is the on ly recognized political entity that has never held an election. As a matter of fact, institutions of democracy wh ich have to function as checks and balances to unaccountable powerful executive, did not exist in the post independent Eritrea, and Afewerki has seized the opportunity to consolidate his personal rule. In other words, the EPLF regime is highly exclusionary because Afewerki rule by decree. To the (Pool, 2001). Although the international NGOs pla yed crucial roles during the 30 year war of independence, for example provid ing humanitarian activities/emergency relief such as nutrition, health services and education to the rebel controlled areas; the EPLF regime adopted a hostile approach towards them, and expelled all foreign NGOs from the country (Kiberab, 2009) This is because the regime sees autonomous civic organizations as open to foreign funding manipulation and involvement in domestic political activities.


65 In this sense, the EPLF perceived NGOs and civil society group as a threat to national sovereignty As such it has become increasingly intolerance to opposition activities. Indeed, the greatest lack of independent media and political in tolerant on part of the ruling EPLF regime Unlike Eritrea in Ugan da the ruling NRM government had allowed the civil society organizations and othe r interest group s to conduct their business freely. Thus, t here is no doubt that the 2005 reintroduction of tran sition to multi party democracy has allowed the country to move forward. It should be noted that nati onal elections were held in 1996 2001, 200 6, and 2011 ; however, the holding of n o p arty elections does not constitute a transition to democracy simply because civil and political right s are not respected in Uganda And where the ruling NRM party has a majority seats in the parliament, the regime effectively used the par liament to pass key legislation (Salih, 2007). But National Assembly which is dominated by the NRM members, c ontinued to serve not a s counterbalance to the presidency but as a rubberstamp for the In their efforts to maximize their chances for political survival, the ruling elite in Uganda decided not to i nitiate real political changes. Pres ident Museveni outmaneuvered the pro democracy groups/opposition by undertaking some economic and political reforms. As such, he was able to retain state control, rather than establishing a more open political structure which could preserve a strong effect ive political system. In this respect, one can blame the elite for being unwilling to share or give up power. have lack ed real power, and more often seem prove to be useful tools for absorbing elite into the governme nt the ir processes


66 diverge significantly. In Uganda for example, the op position is encouraged to join the ruling party by officially becoming NRM members. Hence, affiliation with the ruling NRM party secures the benefits of patronage. As has always been the case, elite s who are loyal to president gain access to state funds, and in the process, the regime wins by asserting control o ver elite and opposition respectively. Thus, without the political will for democracy on the part of the ruling elite, I would argue the road to real democracy in Uganda will indeed be long one. I n contrast the regime continued to deny its citizens basic political rights and civil liberties. Afewerki dismantled the rule of law, silence d and indefinitely incarcerated p olitical opponents, and forged a single party/Movement system. N o citizen is ever allowed to compete against Af e we rk i and party membership is restricted (Hedru, 2003) Moreover, Eritrean President Afewerki has used siege mentality and nationalism to conti nue repression at home and hostility externally toward its neighbors. Contrary to the ideology of the one party state, in which the party is depicted as representative of a strata of the population and an agency of people's power, the EPLF served as an in strument of power for propaganda and political control. ith no functioning constitution, National Assembly members are not elected through a competitive and universal suffrage; rather, they were former liberation fighters selected by the ruling EPLF leadership. A s such, critical national decisions are rubberstamped and passed through consensu s due to the intolerant of the EPLF leadership t oward alternative idea s (Donnell, 2005) I would argue that the repressive history of the Eritrean incumbent ruling elite s, characterized by self promotion and a quest for p ersonal advancement at any cost, suggests that the prospect for democracy in Eritrea will remain bleak as ever.


67 CHAPTER V DEMOCRATIZATION OR AUTHORITARIANISM: ELITES JUSTIFICATION Having explore d problematic transition s in Uganda and Eritrea; I will examine elite justification in those countries, and the extent to which elites have undermined the democratization process. For the purpose of this study, elites are narrowly defined as small, privileged leadership/political actors at the highest level of government such as ministers or those attached to official government including presidential advisors, members of parliament (MPs), top party officials, and politicians who dominate the politic al process Other elites include businessmen and intellectuals that serve political power, ranking military pers onnel, leaders of ethnic groups, and senior civil servants. The s are, and their commitment to elite unity. The higher one climbs in a political system, the elites are small, privileged portion of the population of Africa, who dominate the masses but also rotate l eadership position. In e lite s possess the greatest ability to make key policy change in the ir respective societies because they control the reins of government and set the rules of their political system s Similarly, elite actions in Uganda and Eritrea tend to shape the (Vallalon and vonDoepp, 2005). Alas elite had helped protract authoritarianism by being bought off through targeted material benefits in return for political s upport. As a consequence th is tactic being used by incumbent elite outside the formal institutional framework of governance to increase


68 the likelihood of corruption and patronage networks in which the ruler controls spoils of office and use their position for private gain (Bratton and van de Walle, 1997) Therefore, it is not surprising that elite s in Uganda and Eritrea viewed multi party democracy as divisive and inappropriate for Africans. Similarly incumbent continued justification of authoritarian rule was based on the argument s of a consensus politics that preserves unity and development first and procedural contestation last Equally disturbing, the se liberation leaders/elites who seized power through violent means of armed struggle banned factionalism in the form of African democratic values, citing past election s in Egypt, Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo that have led to clashes not only between the different p olitical parties, but between the different ethnic, religious, an d regional groupings that follow them. Although it is difficult to expect elites to move toward smooth transition to democratization in post war societies no one expected post war Uganda and Eritrea to move towards stable democracy Interestingly Uganda and Eritrea liberation leaders were all aiming at the total decons truction of state structures and the replacement of these by new and often more democratic ones. Conversely, i t is now clear that these liberation movements are led by elites whose challenge against the dictatorship s of the first generation of African leaders has gone wrong As a result centralization has encouraged corrupt state structures that have in turn provided the ground for the elite entrenchment. R esearch has revealed that elite s who have come to power through violence are likely to maintain their positions through violence (Gurr, 1988) Therefore, it is no overstatement to say that Eritrea is currently a one party state under siege by its own ruling elite who control the g overnment and terrorize the population In its 201 0 report,


69 the International Crisis Group described Afewerki as a dictator, who uses conscription, imprisonment, and violence to pound his people into submission. Likewise the Uganda n previous violent political experience s clearly suggest that in an environment where politics of exclusion and banning of political activities are the norm and transition s to democracy are likely to fail Indeed, th is failure rests squarely with the incumbent elite s and the ir desire to retain power P articularly to blame are key establishment agents who being deeply ingrained in the system are most directly responsible for the transition failure. Uganda and Eritrea Justification for Authoritarianism T he extent to which elites are willing to overstay in office and maintain their grip on power through authoritarian means is clearly demonstrated in cases of Uganda and Eritrea, the two post liberation states who claimed to be democratic. Conversely the s not only pursue zero sum politics but have outlawed opposition groups and reject ed the very idea of the existence of democracy that depends on periodic competitive elections in w hich all the adult s citizens have the rights to organize participate in politics compete for public office and choose their representatives and government in a free and fair voting exercise (Bratton and van de Walle, 1997, p. 217) Alas these tendencies have sowed the seeds of authoritarian rule in Uganda and Eritrea Acco rdingly, there is widespread agreement that the ruling elites are primarily responsible for democratic transition (Li n z and Stepan, 1978). However, recent studies have shown that post liberation elite s are beginning to initiate more open political


70 systems in reaction to international and domestic pressure ( Bratton, and van de Walle, 1992; Joseph, 1997; Way, 2005) In Uganda and Eritrea, for example, the elite embarked on managed transition to limited democracy (Movement democracy). These African liberation leaders namely Museveni and Afewerki, know that change is inevitable, and thus they aim to control the transition process in an effort to ensure their continued rule. It is not surprising that liber alization of political space has been more about keeping power than about creating an inclusive process. Thus, the justifications for the establishment of a mass political movement / dominant one party state by elite over their respective political system s in Uganda and Eritrea stemmed most notably from Marxists who insi st on the suppression if not elimination of all political parties that they claim divide the people into hostile factions In other words a Movement system or no party state has the means to rally the masses f or development purpose which opposition groups would only be keen to undermine. For example, in the run up to 2006 election, Uganda police used tear gas to disrup t opposition political rallies organized by the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party leade r Dr. Kiiza Besigye and his supporters, who had gathered in Kampala where FDC was supposed to launch its party identity card Confronting Besigye, the Kampala Extra Regional Police Command er, Grace Turyagumanawe, said I asked him (Besigye) to respect the concerns of Kampala traders who wrote and said that political party activities disrupt their business (Sunday Vision, Novembers 19, 2006). To this effect, the NRM regime portrays opposition and dissent as enem ies of the country and quite often labels the m as dangerous to soci et al progress. Drawing upon the Leninist concept that the African masses need to be led by


71 elite the dominant regimes and in this case the on e party state was envisioned as the forefront of promoting and safeguarding socialist rev olution in Africa (Liebenow, 1986) As argued earlier post independence governments w ere generally concerned with the economic development of African societies and how best to develop their societies and quickly satisfy the rising popular demands for the fruits of liberation struggle. Further, these post liberation governments claimed the role of guardianship, arguing that taking those actions is necessary to protect the security, stability and territorial integrity of the sovereign country. Similarly, Afewerki has advanced the same view that for the sake of industrial development and national unity, it was necessary to establish a mass political to fight against poverty. In Eritrea the EPLF was preoccupied with building a unifie d society and for this reason the elite advocated for a Movement system. On several occasion s President Afewerki and the ruling EPLF elite have maintained that democracy without participation and the equal right to opportunity for social services an d better living conditions is meaningless According to this view, by restricting political rights and civil liberties, the ruling EPLF regime can focus on constructing the necessary environment for economic development first by limiting the kind of turmoil that might com e about in competitive electoral politics, which quite often disrupt s the very foundation of the nation state itself. On the contrary, the EPLF regime rarely makes the lives of Eritrean people better ( Iyob, 1997) It is often the opposite. During the 23 y ears in power incumbent elite in Eritrea started manipulating the ordinary popula tion by denying them democracy, particularly given the failure by EPLF regime to meet material expectations (socio


72 economic well being) of the Eritrean people together with rampant corruption, have undermined political legitimacy to the point where the incumbent elite had to deploy violence in order to stay in office. President Afewerki and many Eritrean elites believe that until the countr y gets on firm footing, it does not need elections. R epression is necessary because Eritrea faces a security threat from the hostile neighboring Ethiopia. Unlike Uganda, elite s in Eritrea seem to be guided mostl y by cost benefit calculations. Thus, the dynamics of the transition, especially the consolidation of incumbent elite power couple d with general public apathy towards politics, provides a rather bleak In contrast, NRM regime presided over successful and sustained ec onomic growth in the 1990s extend ing patronage networks and keeping many elites and their local constituencies closer and under control ( Mwenda, 2007) This strategic move on part of Museveni has prevented political violence and the civil war cycle that the country has witnessed in the past. Additionally, the deterioration in civil liberation states reflect the determination of elites to hold on to power at any cost. Levitsky and Way, argue that the ruling its capacity and tendency to use violence as a means to retain power in the future (Levitsky and Way, 2005, 0. 871) Indeed, t he militarized structures and institutions of ruling NRM and EPLF parties forged during guerrilla wa rs persist ed after they seize d state power In a nutshell democratic transformation in Uganda and Eritrea will not be easy, and as I argued earlier, without the political will on the part of the elites to compr om ise and respect the rule of law, democratiz ation will remain elusive.


73 CHAPTER VI CONCLUSION This thesis has explored impact of post liberation movement governments on the democratic political system in Africa and drawn attention to some of the obstacles and impediment s to democratic transition. It was argued earlier that studies on democratization in African post liberation states are limited and those that are available tend to focus on Latin America and Southern and Eastern Europe. However, various studies that focu tend to deal with the continent as a whole. Th erefore this study has been one of the few attempt s to bring the complexity of democratization in post liberation movement to the attention of its readers While the case stud ies of Uganda and Eritrea in this paper do not cover the entire collection of post liberation politics, they do point to some repeated themes among these transition contributed to their disappointing attempts at pursuing a liberation and democratic age nda. Thus, t he two cases of Uganda and Eritrea have been selected because they allow the reader to look at the African liberation discourse vis vis the political actors/elites who may influence democratization process in the continent. Specifically, this comparative case study approach allows the paper to investigate the question, why have the African post liberation regimes in Uganda and Eritrea become authoritarian? For example, some scholars argued that the prospects for democracy in African remain elusive (Clapham, 1993) Indeed, this has often been the case with Uganda and Eritrea where established ruling elite cling to power, and provide obvious obstacles to the


74 d emocratization process. liberation movements in the 1990s drew significant international attention in Uganda and Eritrea, mainly because the world would like to see whether transition from liberation structures to gov ernment ones will be successful. In this paper I argued th at in the last two decades, African post liberation leaders have not yet decided to take more critical steps toward democracy most importantly holding competitive multi party elections. For far to o long many people have suffered in the name of liberation and democracy that has only benefited the few elites. Presidents Museveni in Uganda and Af e werki in Eritrea are classic examples of African despots left expos ed after the end of the Cold War, but w ho managed to survive what Huntington terms third democratization that swept military dictators hips from power, leading to fr ee and fair elections in many countries including much of Africa. Whereas liberal democracy consolidated in few count ries in Africa, for the most part there was democratic stagnation of democratization like in the post liberation states in Uganda and Eritrea Democratic transition in Uganda, for example, resulted in institutionalization of illiberal democracy, where ruling elites could retain power and legitimize their authoritarian rule by falsification of election results an d violation of civil liberties. It has been suggested in this study that post liberation state s that had hitherto controlled the transition with the intention of promoting one party dominance such as Eritrea continue to un dermine the democratization process In addition, Eritrea did inde ed undergo a transition, but not toward democracy. Rather than ushering in a new er a of political liberalism, the ruling elite helped consolidate the EPLF The EPLF has been the worst example of how a liberation movement


75 ca n turn against its people. Today, Eritreans are caught in a dilemma between expectations bestowed by the masses on a libe ration leadership that ended colonization Since there no sufficient system of checks and balances in the form of independent state institutions, opposition or civil society groups to hold the ruling EPLF party accountable it is unlikely that Eritrea will become a real democracy any time soon It is indeed a sobering experience fo r Uganda and Eritrea to awaken to the reality that not all liberation movements lead to democracy. It not surprising however, that the key actors/elite have shown deep disrespect for democratization in both Uganda and Eritrea the two countries that faced overwhelming institutional obstacles linked to the intolerance of democratic pluralism, application of violence against dissent Throughout the course of the liberation struggle, both NRM and EPLF were engaged in violent conflict, which transform into h ostility towards opposition in the post liberation dispensation. T hese liberation leaders strongly believe that they are the only legitimate representatives of the people, a nd should be allowed to cling to power. As mentioned earlier, both NRM and EPLF hav e seized power, and extended their control over the state. party states in postcolonial Africa. He asserts that anti colonial movements are inherently authoritarian in their governance sys tems. Indeed, Africa was under colonial rule for a n extensive period of time, in which colonial interests were not compatible with the cr eation of a large middle class because of the perceived fear that this class might have provide d a great challenge to colonial privileges. And just as in the colonial times, only few African elites control the political and economic destines of Uganda and Eritrea.


76 Thus, the absence of a strong middle class hurts any prospect for democratization becau se without opposition parties lack the re sources for mass mobilization around genuine issues of reform. In Uganda in particular, political reform was initiated by the NRM regime in a society that displayed higher levels of elite resistan ce to democratic ru le. Not surprisingly, the violent repression of dissent was much more pronounced in Eritrea. In summary elite resistan ce was the primary root cause of authoritarianism in Uganda and Eritrea. The refore, the se cases clearly show that the road from liberat ion is a long one, with several st ructural challenges to democratization such as institutional and historical legacy all of which call for a long term holistic response. Others, though, can be addressed in th e short term depending not only on the genuine reforms instituted from the above by the elite, but also on constant p ressure from below and outside. It is therefore important that civil society groups, academia, and international development partners mobilize towards addressing the prevailing challeng es. The se actors must work towards promoting active citizenship and reduce the culture of skepticism that characterizes the Ugandan and Eritrean societ ies Unfortunately, given the repressive nature of Uganda and Eritrea, the opposition and other civic gro ups are unable by themselves to assert sufficient pressure on the se countr leadership to cause substantial change Thus, the prospect for real democracy remains elusive


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