Gerald Bareebe

Study program:
PhD political science
Current affiliation:
University of Toronto

The Role of Military in State Consolidation, Regime Legitimation and Nation-Building in Uganda and Rwanda

The Role of Military in State Consolidation, Regime Legitimation and Nation-Building in Uganda and Rwanda

This study examines the role of the military in the political reconstruction of previously ‘failed’ states. Specifically, the study analyzes the crucial role the military plays in state consolidation, nation-building and regime legitimation in post-genocide Rwanda and post-Idi Amin Uganda.
State failure in Rwanda in 1994 and Uganda in the 1980s was linked to a breakdown of political order, which facilitated horrifying violent conflicts and, in Rwanda, genocide. In both countries, state failure saw various guerrilla movements jostling to establish a monopoly of violence. Government troops battled armed insurgencies, and varieties of civil unrest, communal discontent and internal dissent ensued. In this process, the state itself became conflict-ridden, precarious and bitterly contested, failing to provide to its citizens a minimal level of political goods such as law, order, security and justice; neither was it able (or in some cases willing) to stop the military from committing widespread human rights violations against citizens. When the former guerrilla leaders Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni finally won control of the state and assumed national leadership as president in each respective country, they inevitably faced two key challenges: how to domesticate violence and establish a new form of legitimate authority. This study examines how the Museveni and Kagame regimes utilized the military in the political reconstruction of these once ‘failed’ states. Both did so, albeit in strikingly different ways. This study considers also what outcomes their different strategies for post-conflict state-building have produced.


Gerald Bareebe is a 2013-2017 Trudeau Scholar and Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science, University of Toronto. Before starting his doctoral studies, Gerald was a national political reporter at the Daily Monitor, Uganda’s largest and most influential independent newspaper. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communications (Makerere University), a master’s degree in International Relations (Makerere University), and an advanced master’s degree in Governance and Development (University of Antwerp). His Ph.D. research is focused on the convergence between the military and elite interests in post-conflict state reconstruction, regime consolidation and nation-building in Uganda and Rwanda.

Experience as a Trudeau Scholar

As an international student studying in Canada, the Trudeau scholarship reduced my financial burden which gave me space to focus more on my studies. Above all, being part of the Trudeau family is a life-changing experience. I got a chance to socialize with many talented scholars, mentors and public intellectuals with whom I shared knowledge and ideas about the most critical public policy challenges facing the sub-Sharan Africa. I strongly believe that my potential for future contributions and leadership has been enhanced through participation in the Trudeau Foundation’s activities. Your kindness and generosity has motivated me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help other students to achieve their education like you have helped me. Thank you for your support!