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



Monday, August 31, 2020

Behind the coup in Mali

The things that democracy (and pseudo democracy) evangelists need to know about freedom and liberty

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | So another military coup has taken place in Mali removing an unpopular yet democratically elected government of President Ibrahim Keita. Keita came to power as an opposition firebrand in 2013, after a military coup had overthrown President Amadou Toure. His promises turned out to be pipedreams. The people, tired of corruption and incompetence, have been demonstrating for months, leading to an army mutiny and coup. The Mali coup is popular with “the people” (meaning those angry urban youths and intellectuals we see screaming on the streets). However, the UN, AU and ECOWAS have rejected it and have imposed sanctions on the country.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Lessons from youth elections

 Why the opposition in Uganda needs to take organisation and unity seriously if they are to have a chance

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | The nationwide youths elections this week should give the opposition in Uganda, especially the National Unity Platform (NUP), time to pose and reflect. Just as polling commenced, Timothy Kalyegira, a senior journalist in Uganda, tweeted saying NUP, less than two months old, were running “neck to neck” with the ruling NRM. Kalyegira, like many other elite Ugandans, has a habit of relying on his hopes to drive his analysis. And this is the fatal error that has stifled the growth of the opposition.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Election rigging and Besigye’s choice

How legitimate claims of electoral malpractice have blinded the opposition to its strategic weaknesses

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda  | Leading opposition figure, Dr. Kizza Besigye, has said he will not participate in the coming presidential elections because it will not be free and fair. According to Besigye, he has won all the last four presidential elections he has contested against President Yoweri Museveni. He claims the official results that are always announced by the Electoral Commission are false. Indeed, on two occasions (2001 and 2006) the Supreme Court of Uganda has said there were significant irregularities in the electoral process. On both occasions and with a majority of one vote it has refused to annul the election on the grounds that these irregularities were not sufficient to alter the final outcome of the election.

Monday, August 10, 2020

NUP’s biggest dilemma

Why Bobi Wine’s new party will find it even more difficult to defeat Museveni in 2021 compared to FDC in 2006

| THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | This week, the National Unity Platform of Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine launched itself with two defections of NRM MPs and two other independent legislators. It was presented as a big event. Yet for all the hype, and compared to the birth of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in 2005, NUP seems to me to be a stillbirth. The MPs from NRM are nonentities whose names no one I have met can remember. Only Latif Sebagala from DP has some gravitas. In 2005 FDC was formed with many MPs, elected local government leaders and other leading figures on Uganda’s political scene from across the entire country.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Uganda’s politics of self-destruction

Why Uganda’s opposition is going to hand Museveni an easy victory next year.

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | As we approach the 2021 general elections, it is apparent that the opposition, as expected, has handed an easy victory to President Yoweri Museveni and his party, the NRM. Yet after the election the same opposition politicians will fret and cry that the election has been rigged. It is even more interesting because the opposition claim to be fighting a dictatorship. I wonder then why they expect such a government to create a level playing field in the elections.

Monday, July 27, 2020

When enemies feed each other

Why Uganda’s pro-democracy activists get it wrong when they support radical extremist cults as alternatives to Museveni

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | In their misguided (even though, perhaps, well-intentioned) war against President Yoweri Museveni, many pro-democracy (but mostly pseudo-democracy) “activists” bring three fundamentally erroneous assumptions. First, that Museveni’s government has mismanaged Uganda by relying on brute force and corruption to rule and is thus unsustainable. Second, that there actually exists in Uganda’s opposition a democratic alternative to Museveni. Third, that any change from Museveni is good and will, therefore, bring better government.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Impunity and corruption at Bank of Uganda

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda | Last week, Bank of Uganda (BOU) issued a press statement in which it promised to appeal a ruling by the Court of Appeal in a case against businessman Sudhir Ruparelia over Crane Bank. Yet the statement did not deal with the reason why the court rejected all the grounds of appeal by BOU. Instead, BOU sought to win public support, and perhaps even morally bribe Supreme Court judges, on fictitious claims that somehow Sudhir stole money from Crane Bank. Yet this is not a matter that was before the court.