Uganda’s 2016 elections, which returned thirty-year incumbent President Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Movement (NRM) in yet another landslide, took place in an atmosphere of patronage, coercion and fraud. But is this diagnosis sufficient to understand the processes of voting and regime maintenance in Uganda today? Based on a series of detailed case studies from across Uganda, this book provides a more nuanced and complex picture of what the Museveni regime is, and how it keeps winning elections. Whilst not denying that various electoral malpractices are systemic to the regime’s survival, the authors find that these cannot be extricated from Uganda’s history, its wider social realities, and its local political cultures in which the NRM has become so embedded. In so doing, the authors – who include anthropologists, development specialists, historians, geographers, and political-scientists – develop new ways of thinking about the meaning of voting and elections in non-democratic Uganda, and elsewhere. This edition was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Eastern African Studies.

chapter |20 pages


Rethinking the NRM after thirty years in power
ByRichard Vokes, Sam Wilkins

chapter |17 pages

Rethinking power, patronage and corruption in Museveni’s Uganda

ByRichard Vokes

chapter |18 pages

A history of the heritage economy in Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda

ByDerek R. Peterson

chapter |16 pages

Religious (de)politicisation in Uganda’s 2016 elections

ByHenni Alava, Jimmy Spire Ssentongo