Leadership, power and the politics of personalities in Eastern Africa

What have been the trajectories of political leadership since the 1980s and 1990s in Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea?

Members event, Panel
13 May 2021 — 1:00PM TO 2:00PM

The 1980s and 1990s saw the emergence of a once-dubbed ‘new generation’ of African leadership including President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea.

While initially lauded for bringing some stability after periods of marked conflict, narratives around their modes of leadership have become increasingly polarized, with the live effects and legacies of state repression coming to the fore.

The recent death of Tanzania’s late President John Magufuli in March has also re-focused attention on leadership in the wider region, including fundamental questions brought out by the varying experiences of Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea on how the state approaches development and governance.

At this event, experts reflect on the trajectories of political leadership and narratives surrounding these in Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea:

  • What are the lessons that can be shared and drawn from these four countries in leadership and governance?

  • How have popularized narratives, such as those focusing on a so-called ‘new generation’ at the close of the 20th century, influenced international engagement?

  • And what has been the effect of this engagement, or lack thereof, in the political and development trajectories of the four countries?

As with all member events, questions from the audience drive the conversation.

Become an individual member

Individual membership provides you with the complete Chatham House experience, connecting you with a unique global policy community.

A member takes the opportunity to ask the panel a question at our event on the digital revolution.
Find out more Auto insert on member events