Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Political Science

Content Description

1 electronic text (xii, 305 pages) : illustrations (some color), color map.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Robert T Nakamura

Committee Members

Helen Desfosses, Victor Asal


Africa, democracy, Kenya, legislature, parliament, Uganda, Legislative bodies

Subject Categories

Political Science


This comparative case study examines the independence of the Uganda and Kenya parliaments from the time of their independence from the U.K. in the early 1960s, until 2008, focusing especially on the past 12 years. Beginning in the mid-late 1990s, these East African legislatures became two of the most independent in Africa, censuring ministers, developing effective committees, amending legislation, and enacting private member bills that significantly enhanced their power relative to that of their executive branches. Following the enactment of these private member bills, the two parliaments gained control over their budgets and staffs, expanded their campuses, and began playing unprecedented policy-making and oversight roles. Uganda's Parliament censured ministers, and its committees became very active. It reached its highest levels of independence and power in the Sixth Parliament (1996-2001) during Uganda's no-party era, but has since become a less independent institution. The Kenya Parliament, in contrast, continues to expand its power relative to the presidency, and members are relatively unconstrained by political parties.