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Title: The dominant party system in Uganda : subnational competition and authoritarian survival in the 2016 elections
Author: Wilkins, Sam
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis studies the authoritarian dominant party system in Uganda during the 2016 general election. It focuses on how subnational competition within the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) prolongs the tenure of its leader, 30-year incumbent President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. In three districts where the NRM has been historically strong - Kyenjojo, Kayunga, and Bugiri - the thesis traces three processes to this end: the decentralisation and localisation of accountability politics away from the regime and toward expendable local politicians (H1); the relationship between local elite rivalry and the NRM's collective mobilisation for Museveni's simultaneous re-election (H2); and how competitive electoral pressures on NRM MPs alter the national elite bargain in the president's favour (H3). It concludes that in strong NRM areas, the fractious divisions that characterise intra-party competition are not a by-product of its near monopolistic domination of politics, but the very basis of that dominance. This emphasis on subnational intra-party competition brings a new variable into a literature on non-democratic survival that tends to focus on more narrowly coercive and clientelist regime strategies. The thesis presents this argument in a qualitative single case study driven by an open and inductive fieldwork component throughout the 2016 election period. Its three hypotheses are built on data from interviews (with voters and elites), ethnographic observations, official data, and secondary sources. This data is used in a process-tracing design before its conclusions are fortified by a subnational comparative analysis of the election results in the three case districts.
Supervisor: de Oliveira, Ricardo Soares Sponsor: Clarendon Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Authoritarianism ; Local politics ; NRM ; Museveni ; Authoritarian elections ; African politics ; elections ; Uganda