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, December 10, 2018

Uganda’s boat tragedy

The recovered vessel. PHOTO – UGANDA POLICE MEDIA
Why accidents like the one that killed tens of revellers will continue to happen
THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | The sinking of a boat in Lake Victoria killing many revellers on November 24 was a classic tragedy. And typical of the Ugandan character, social and traditional media have been awash with finger pointing and apportioning blame. Pundits say the government failed in its obligation to save Ugandans from themselves. It is a claim I have increasingly grown sceptical of and hostile to.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Uganda’s performance paradox

How Museveni behaves like his critics in undermining the credibility of his own government 

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda | There is a suffocating sense among a large cross-section of educated urban Ugandans that our country is falling apart. In my frustrated moments, I too feel the same way. The growing potholes and traffic congestion in Kampala, the impunity of boda boda riders, and the general lack of a vision around which people can be mobilised, ensure a grim national mood. One, therefore, understands why some Ugandan elites rally behind demagogues that denounce the status quo and call for radical change.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Role of trust in prosperity

Why many Ugandans are stuck in poverty and unemployment even in the face of opportunities

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda | I have lately been arguing in this column that one of the most important drivers of prosperity is human capital. The better the human capital the higher the chances for an individual or nation to become prosperous. Economists use average number of years spent in school by a given population as a proxy for levels of human capital development. I see human capital much more broadly to include possession of marketable skills, labour productivity, shared mentalities such as work ethics and most importantly, trust within the society.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Bobi Wine’s Kyarenga concert

Why Uganda (like other African countries) keeps rotating around the same roundabout

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | Last weekend, Kyadondo East Member of Parliament (MP), Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, held a “mega” Kyarenga (it’s too much) concert at his One Love Beach in Busabala near Kampala. Drovees of Ugandans flocked there to watch their new messiah sing his new song, “Tuliyambala engule” (we shall wear the crown). It is a song promising to liberate Uganda from the “dictatorship” of President Yoweri Museveni.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The destiny of nations

Why some nations prosper and others stagnate and what we cannot do about it 

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda | The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has 187 countries in its list of nations whose Gross Domestic Product (GDP) it captures. Of these, 39 are listed as “Advanced Countries” (AC) and only five of them – Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong are none European. Taiwan and Hong Kong areprovinces of China and Singapore is 76% ethnic Chinese. All the other AC countries are European and its offshoots in North America (the United States and Canada), and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) – plus Israel in the Middle East. That means only three ethnic groups – Chinese, Japanese and Koreas from one cluster of this globe, East Asia, have made the transition that Europeans made.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Chasing the wind

Why the belief that Ugandans are angry because youth lack jobs and other economic opportunities is mistaken

Last week, President Yoweri Museveni inaugurated a $600 million fertilizer and aluminum plant in Tororo. A few days before, he had opened a new $150 million bridge over the River Nile in Jinja. And a few days earlier he had been to Kapeka where he opened a Chinese ceramics factory that will produce 40,000 square meters of floor and wall tiles per day. Even a few days before that he visited the $2 billion Karuma hydro electricity project that will produce 600MW of electricity.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Museveni’s forgotten railway unit

Why 30 years later, we should not condemn but sympathise with the president’s fanciful and failed dreams
Last week someone sent me a video of President Yoweri Museveni speaking on December 22, 1988.
In it, the President who was just two years in power says: “We must have our own capacity to build houses, roads, dams, railways.”
Museveni boasted that he was “using the Kasese line as an opportunity to build a railways construction unit.”