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, July 23, 2018

Our biggest political question

Why NRM won local council elections amidst the `hated’ tax on mobile money and social media

  Last week, Uganda held elections for local councils. The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) of President Yoweri Museveni fielded a candidate in almost every contested position. I obtained provisional results from the Electoral Commission. They cover 53,340 out of 60,797 contested positions (i.e. 88%) in 122 districts. NRM won 69%, independents (most of them allied to NRM) 22% and the combined opposition a miserable 9%.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The poverty of Ugandan elites

Bursting the bubble of our `intellectuals’ by exposing their most cherished ideals as a bunch of delusions 

Many Ugandan elites have been shouting themselves hoarse denouncing the tax on social media. They also claim they are already burdened paying “too many taxes”. With a tax to GDP ratio of 14%, Ugandans are among the least taxed people on this planet. And after the abolition of Graduated Tax (or tax per head), only 621,366 people are registered to pay the direct personal income tax, Pay As You Earn, in an adult population of close to 18 million people.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

In defence of social media tax

Why taxing mobile money and social media is a politically revolutionary act that may help improve our democracy
 Since government introduced a tax on mobile money and social media, there has been deafening opposition to it from every quarter of Ugandan public opinion. Yet for economic and political reasons this is the most revolutionary tax decision this government has ever made. What is even more intriguing is that those making the loudest noise against it are equally that section of our society which actually pays the least taxes.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Museveni leadership of economy

How the president’s successful economic stewardship is now in the past with little direction on the future 

President Yoweri Museveni has been named 12th among 24 leaders globally whose individual contribution has had a significant positive impact on their countries’ economic growth. This was in a study by Professor William Easterly of New York University and Steven Pennings, a researcher at the World Bank. The rankings placed Museveni above Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and Park Chung Hee of South Korea, the most successful leaders to preside over the economic transformation of their nations from poverty to riches within a generation.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Kayihura’s road to jail

How the former IGP became a victim of his own success, internal power struggles and changing geopolitics

 Former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kale Kayihura, was the longest servicing officer in a top and sensitive security position under President Yoweri Museveni. He must have done a great job. Why then has he fallen out of favour so ignominiously and ended in jail being accused of murder?
Museveni has lasted in power for 32 years by strategy not luck. He always selects the “right people” for sensitive security positions and puts in place the right monitoring measures to ensure first, they hold his enemies/opponents at bay and second, that they themselves cannot overthrow him.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Uganda’s crime outrage

How to renew our nation’s security architecture to cope with the new challenges of murder and kidnapping 

The cold bloodied murder of Arua Municipality Member of Parliament, Ibrahim Abiriga, has reignited the debate on security in Uganda. Throughout last year, it was alleged that the security situation in the country had deteriorated because then Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura, had privileged clamping down on opposition activism over criminal policing. He was also accused of working with criminals. His removal, it was argued and later celebrated, would end kidnappings and murders.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

In defence of land grabbing

Why the greedy Ugandans we love to hate could be the key to our future prosperity

Our country has a new villain: the land grabber! In the popular imagination, this is a rich and powerful individual grabbing land from poor helpless victims. There are strong incentives for journalists, academics, politicians, activists, pundits, etc. to position themselves as champions of the poor masses against the rich and powerful. Their views are cheered by the hordes, making them feel that somehow they are the moral conscience of our society.