Six coupled GCMs are assessed in terms of their ability to simulate observed characteristics of East African rainfall, the Indian Ocean dipole and their temporal correlation. Model results are then used to analyze the future behaviour of rainfall and the DMI. All models simulate reasonably well the spatial distribution and variability of annual and seasonal rainfall over the 1961–1990 period. Model simulation of observed DMI characteristics is less consistent with observations, however, five models reproduce similar correlations to those observed between the DMI and East African short rains (SON). In the future, there are no clear inter-model patterns of rainfall or DMI behaviour. In this sample of models four (two) out of six simulate modest increases (decreases) in annual rainfall by the 2080s. For SON, three of the six models indicate a trend towards increasingly positive phase of the DMI, two indicate a decrease and one shows no substantial change.