My research interests

Current Research

My research and teaching interests are at the intersection of comparative politics, the political economy of development, and international relations with a regional focus on subsaharan Africa. My PhD research analyzed the processes of institutional transformation in contemporary Africa, tracing and delineating the paths to institutional transformation in Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, and Uganda. It explains the political foundations of institutional outomes, showing how coalition politics impacts on institutional evolution. My dissertation committee was chaired by Will Reno, professor of political science and Director of the Program of African Studies at Northwestern University. Jim Mahoney, Professor in  political science and sociology, and Chair of the Sociology Department, was the co-chair. Committee members are Rachel Riedl and Ato Onoma. Rachel is Assistant Professor in political science at Northwestern University while Ato heads the research department at the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), the Dakar-based pan-African research organization.


I have three working papers: on the politics of managing elite defection in a semi-authoritarian regime, the impact of political uncertainty on service delivery in Uganda, and on the stagnation of democracy in Uganda. The first paper shows how, faced with the dilemmas of electoral politics, regimes that are short of being democratic deal with the danger of losing key members of their ruling core to opposition forces. The second paper shows that the failure to resolve key political questions has left Uganda in a state of political uncertainty with deleterious implications for service delivery. And the third paper analyzes recent trends in Uganda's democratization and shows why a country that promised so much in the 1990s has retrogressed in this century. My other research agendas going forward include a study of the business fates of Africa's ruling parties and militaries. Why do some succeed while others fare not so well? Relatedly, I'm interested in exploring the politics of infrastructural development in Africa within the context of new foreign economic players especially China.

Networks and Affiliations

I am affiliated with the Centre for Basic Research in Kampala, a leading independent social science research organization in Uganda. CBR is at present my foremost intellectual home in Uganda. Also, over the last couple of years of doing field research in Africa, I have established both formal and informal links and affiliations with several research organizations and policy think-tanks in Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, and Uganda. Among these include the Forum for Social Studies in Addis Ababa, the Center for Democratic Governance and the Institute for Democratic Governance both in Accra, the Institute of African Studies of the University of Ghana, Legon, and the Council for Development of Social Science Research in Africa in Darker.

At Northwestern:

I am affiliated to the Buffett Institute Global Studies as well as the Progam of African Studies. The two have been the main funders of my field research travels to different African countries. I am an active member of the graduate student workshop at the Program of African Studies, the graduate student colloquium at the Buffet Institute, the Comparative Politics workshop in my department, and the Comparative Historical Social Sciences workshop also at the Buffet Institute