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Abstract

This paper explores the phenomenon of ‘Big Man’ rule in post-colonial Africa, through the lens of two prominent African ‘Big Men’: Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. This paper contributes to the debate regarding the democratic nature of elected ‘Big Men’ and their ability to serve their citizens. This paper argues that ‘Big Man’ rule in Uganda and Zimbabwe cannot be considered democratic due to the tactics of control used by these leaders, nor can it be considered benevolent, because of the implications these tactics have on the effectiveness of government. This paper starts by examining the colonial roots of ‘Big Man’ rule to establish a context before delving into the tactics and implications of these tactics. This argument challenges the notion that the relative peace and stability brought on by these leaders is inducing democracy and responsible government.

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