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, November 18, 2019

A frank memo to the youths


Why young people in East Africa should stop agonising and begin organising

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | This week I was in Arusha Tanzania to speak at a conference of youths from East Africa organised by YouLead. They came bustling with the energy and zest. I was impressed by their passion but concerned that energy without proper guidance can be destructive.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Uganda’s democratic delusions


How Museveni, Besigye and Bobi Wine are birds of a feather that only fly apart

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | This week, the state brought out the full power of riot police to bear on opposition activist, Dr. Kizza Besigye. Using water cannons, they took direct aim at him during a procession, nearly yanking him off the roof of his car. It provided considerable grist to the anti-President Yoweri Museveni mill. I wonder whether Museveni sees these videos and what he thinks of them. For instance, do they make him feel comfortable in the presidency, seeing that he has power to subdue his opponents? Or do they make him feel embarrassed that he is acting brutally like Idi Amin?

Monday, November 4, 2019

Against privileges for a few

Why Makerere University students (and lecturers) do not need or deserve special treatment

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | The strike by Makerere University students over a 15% increase in fees, actually based on a recommendation by the Students Guild, has dominated media for a week. The government of President Yoweri Museveni, in its characteristic militarist fashion, sent in the army. A video of soldiers frog-matching students, kicking them with their boots and rifle butts went viral. This is the stuff that gives Uganda’s noisy elites an opportunity to exhibit their pretentious middle class human rights sensibilities.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Inside Europe’s savior complex


How Western efforts to remake Africa have changed from colonialism to international development assistance
THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | Last week, I was invited to speak on international development assistance (foreign aid) at the geopolitical conference at Makerere University organised by the French embassy and the Konrad Adenuar Foundation. My presentation caused uproar because I argued that the first large-scale attempt to use foreign aid to develop Africa was colonialism.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Sudan’s next disaster


Why the plan to hand Bashir over to the ICC is misguided and will likely be counterproductive

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | The new government of Sudan has given a major indication that it will hand its former president, Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. The ICC indicted Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity. For many years, the government of Sudan backed by the African Union (AU) refused to hand him over. That the new administration is thinking of handing him over is a major betrayal of the African cause.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Lessons from Tunisia’s elections


Why her success at democratisation is a result of the absence of foreign interference in her politics

THE LAST WORLD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | This week Tunisians voted in the second parliamentary elections since the 2011 Arab Spring. Over 15,000 candidates vied for the 217 parliamentary seats. There was very low voter turnout for these elections, which “experts” say is because people have lost hope in elections. The economic situation in the country is worse than under the government of Ahmed Ben Ali, the long serving president, whom Tunisians overthrew in January 2011. The elections have been held against the backdrop of high inflation and unemployment, the problems the revolution sought to cure.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Lesson from Hoima by-election


Why NRM should be worried and why the opposition needs to rethink their political strategy

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | Last week, the NRM narrowly won the elections for women MP in Hoima district. According to results, NRM’s Harriet Businge got 33,000 votes (54%) against FDC’s Asinansi Nyakato with 29,000 votes (46%). This is a major setback for NRM, which has historically won Hoima with huge margins. In 2006, the FDC candidate for Women MP in Hoima got only 15% of the votes the NRM candidate got, in 2011 only 10% and in 2016 25%. In this by election, the FDC candidate got 86% of the votes the NRM candidate got.