About me.

Andrew M. Mwenda is the founding Managing Editor of The Independent, Uganda’s premier current affairs newsmagazine. One of Foreign Policy magazine 's top 100 Global Thinkers, TED Speaker and Foreign aid Critic

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Aiding the enemy Part 2

America’s opportunities and main challenge as it seeks to contain China from dominating Asia

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M MWENDA |  In the April 17th column (see: “Aiding the enemy: How US involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict is helping the rise of China to surpass America as the world’s leading power”, I argued that America’s core interest lies in Asia, not Europe and that Washington needs to be thinking more about how to contain China, not about fighting Russia in Ukraine.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

How to broaden political appeal

Lessons for Uganda’s opposition from the repositioning of the National Front, France’s far-right party

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M MWENDA | On February 8, 2022, BBC’s Steven Sucker hosted Marine Le Pen on the Hardtalk program. Le Pen is the leader of the National Front (FN), a right-wing political party in France. The interview was about the May 7th presidential election in France where Le Pen would later get 41.5% of the vote against incumbent Emmanuel Macron. This was up from the 34% she got in 2017 against Macron. The FN was founded in 1972 by Jean Marie Le Pen, the father of Marine. The old Le Pen was its leader until 2011 when he resigned. His daughter succeeded him and has run the party since.

Monday, June 6, 2022

The risks of the war in Ukraine

How America’s current leadership is leading the world into a slippery slope towards nuclear war

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | The war between Russia and Ukraine has brought important insights. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the U.S. has become a bull in a China shop. Rather than be moderated, humbled and tamed by its victory in the Cold War, America has grown arrogant, belligerent and bellicose. Today, it stands as the biggest threat to world peace. What America’s post-Cold War behavior teaches us are the lessons enshrined in its’s own founding philosophy – the danger of unrestrained power.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Uganda’s Prisoners’ Dilemma

 Why public investments and appointments are economically inefficient in multi ethnic societies

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | Game theory has the concept of the “Prisoner’s Dilemma.” This refers to a situation where two members of a criminal gang (John and David) are arrested by the police and held in two separate rooms. The police have scanty evidence to convince the judge to convict each of the prisoners to a maximum sentence of ten years. If both remain silent, the police can only secure a conviction of one year for each one of them. But if both of them choose to cooperate with the police, each will serve a sentence of five years. If one decides to cooperate with the police and the other refuses, the one who cooperates walks away scot free, the other serves ten years.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Museveni’s Umeme mistake

Why the refusal to renew their concession is not a big loss to Ugandan workers and investors and a boom to foreigners

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | For some strange reason(s), President Yoweri Museveni has a very hostile attitude towards Umeme, Uganda’s main electricity distributor. Sources say the president has sworn never to renew their concession when it expires in 2025. This is in spite of the fact that during negotiations between him and Umeme, both sides agreed to solve the most contentious issue in the concession – the Rate of Return (ROR) to the investor. In the current concession, Umeme’s ROR is 20%. In the meeting with Museveni, I am reliably informed, Umeme agreed to cut it down to 10%.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

On America’s sense of self

How self-righteousness is far more dangerous than self-interest and leads to human disaster

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | Rolling Stone magazine in the U.S. published a story claiming former president Donald Trump wanted to close every embassy in Africa. This is revealed in a new book titled A Sacred Oath by Mark Esper, a former U.S. secretary of Defense under Trump. “Shut down all the embassies in Africa,” Esper quotes Trump as directing, “Bring our people (US diplomats) home.”

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Uganda’s pursuit of modernity

Why every modern asset should be respected for its functionality and not merely its symbolism

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW MWENDA | Whatever its critics say, capitalism remains the most consequential system (and ideology) of organising human affairs in history. Born in Western Europe, it has spread across the world, as Karl Marx predicted, through the continual process of destruction and replacement of precapitalist social structures. Except for North Korea that is holding out against its power and allure, the rest of the world is hooked onto capitalism – including Cuba that is now embracing it, albeit slowly. Of course, in many parts of the world, some traditional structures have proved obdurate.