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, July 9, 2022

Uganda’s biggest handicap

How low levels of skill impact our nation’s ambitions in government, private sector and our homes

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | A friend has lived in America for the last 15 years, having left the country in her early twenties. Before, during and after her graduate studies, she worked in private companies in America and international organisations around the world but mostly in Washington DC. Thanks to COVID, she has been able to come live and work from Kampala even though her office is in DC, via zoom. But it has also been a tough period of adjustment for her. Most of the people she has had to work with have frustrated her to exhaustion.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Apartheid at Uganda’s immigration

Inside the discrimination, humiliation and mistreatment of Ugandans of Kinyarwanda culture

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M MWENDA | By And so it was that while going through the Ugandan section of my library this week, I picked a copy of President Yoweri Museveni’s autobiography, Sowing the Mustard Seed; the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy in Uganda. Chapter Eleven of the revised edition deals with Rwanda and Congo. Museveni says he recruited Banyarwanda into the struggle against Idi Amin. But when he tried to integrate them into the national army, and I quote, “UPC launched a campaign against them, insisting they should not be integrated into the UNLA. Why?” Because they came originally from Rwanda. However, these boys and girls had stayed here (Uganda) for over 20 years, indeed some of them were born here.”

Saturday, June 25, 2022

On the teachers’ strike

Teacher on blackboard. PHOTO PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools)
How government may have opened a Pandora’s box by creating huge salary disparities among its employees

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | There seems to be haphazardness in the government of Uganda that is hard to fathom. One case in point is the way they have caused a strike among arts teachers in primary and secondary schools. One day, the government woke up and increased the salaries of science teachers with diplomas and working in government schools from (between) Shs 700,000 and Shs 900,000 to Shs3million. Then it increased salaries of teachers with degrees from (between) Shs1million and Shs1.4million to Shs4million. In each of these cases, salaries are increased fourfold. I find this strange.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Aiding the enemy Part 2

The China factor that US has to constantly consider. Russia’s Putin (left) and Xi
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

FILE PHOTO: Museveni (left) and Bobi Wine
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.