New-Breed" Leadership, Conflict, and Reconstruction in the Great Lakes Region of Africa: A Sociopolitical Biography of Uganda's Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Joe Oloka O


Africa Today, Volume 50, Issue 4, p.29-52 (2004)



Africa, biography, conflict, leadership, reconstruction, Yoweri K Museveni


<p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif;">Although now a largely discredited idea, the notion that the period from the <span data-scayt_word="mid-1980s" data-scaytid="1">mid-1980s</span> to the <span data-scayt_word="mid-1990s" data-scaytid="2">mid-1990s</span> generated a new breed of African leadership captured popular imagination, official discourse, and academic writing. Leaders like <span data-scayt_word="Meles" data-scaytid="3">Meles</span> <span data-scayt_word="Zenawi" data-scaytid="4">Zenawi</span> in Ethiopia, <span data-scayt_word="Isias" data-scaytid="5">Isias</span> <span data-scayt_word="Aferworki" data-scaytid="6">Aferworki</span> in Eritrea, and Paul <span data-scayt_word="Kagame" data-scaytid="7">Kagame</span> in Rwanda were young, dynamic, and willing to break discredited predecessors&#39; taboos. Among this <span data-scayt_word="bretheren" data-scaytid="8">bretheren</span>, no personality better exemplified the &quot;new&quot; breed than <span data-scayt_word="Yoweri" data-scaytid="9">Yoweri</span> <span data-scayt_word="Kaguta" data-scaytid="10">Kaguta</span> <span data-scayt_word="Museveni" data-scaytid="11">Museveni</span>, President of Uganda. When the National Resistance Army/Movement (NRA/M) assumed power in the wake of Uganda&#39;s second civil war in the <span data-scayt_word="1980s" data-scaytid="13">1980s</span>, the leadership of the Movement very quickly assumed an almost <span data-scayt_word="Guevaran" data-scaytid="14">Guevaran</span> posture in the discourse on African democratization and recovery. Nearly two decades later, <span data-scayt_word="Museveni" data-scaytid="12">Museveni</span> still dominates Uganda&#39;s popular and intellectual imagination, but in many respects is beginning to look more and more like a scion of the old breed.</span></span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif;">The new generation of African leaders&mdash;in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and South Africa&mdash;have many of them been legitimized by the armed liberation struggle against foreign occupiers or discredited regimes. But they are a pragmatic breed, managers rather than prophets, often successfully combining free-market economies with a single-party system. . . . The new leaders have a natural affinity for Anglo-Saxon culture and business and are more directly attuned to globalization.</span></span></p>