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Title:The limits - and limiters - of external influence: donors, the Ugandan Electoral Commission and the 2011 elections
Author:Fisher, Jonathan
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies (ISSN 1753-1063)
Geographic term:Uganda
election management bodies
development cooperation
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17531055.2013.809206
Abstract:This article explores the role of international 'donors' in the lead-up to the 2011 Ugandan elections, focusing particularly on their engagement with the issue of Electoral Commission partiality. Controversially reappointed without consultation in 2009 by Uganda's President, Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan Electoral Commission was perceived as unacceptably pro-government by opposition parties, civil society and donors. Its seven commissioners' administration of the 2011 polls cast a shadow of illegitimacy over the process long before the results were declared. This study attempts to explain why donors ultimately drew back from taking a 'political' (as opposed to a ' technical') approach to the matter in their dealings with the Museveni regime, in spite of their willingness to do so elsewhere (including in Nigeria) and with regard to other areas of disagreement with Kampala. It is argued that three major factors led donors to take the inconsistent and ineffective approach(es) they did: competing foreign policy priorities (particularly in relation to security - Somalia - and trade - oil); the internal politics of the donor community; and an arguably misplaced perception, in the minds of many donor officials, that their missions did not possess sufficient influence over the regime to alter its stance on the issue. The findings of this study, it is suggested, are of broader relevance for policy-makers and scholars, particularly in the fields of democratization and international development. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]