There will undoubtedly be many interpretations of the Uganda coup. The purpose of this article is merely to suggest one and, on the basis of available, though admittedly incomplete evidence, to outline a case for its plausibility. The central argument is as follows. The Uganda army can be best understood as a kind of economic class, an élite stratum with a set of economic interests to protect. The coup of January 1971 was the army's political response to an increasingly socialist régime whose equalitarian domestic policies posed more and more of a threat to the military's economic privileges.
* Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles.