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, June 11, 2018

Inside NRM’s Rukungiri debacle


How the bye-election shows us that Besigye is the best ally in Museveni’s pursuit of power 

 Last week, NRM lost a bye-election in Rukungiri in spite of (and I think also because of) deploying all its resources in the area. The army and police made a strong presence. Many NRM’s big guns from the district and the secretariat camped in Rukungiri.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Inside the Rwanda-Arsenal deal


How ignorance and stupidity combined to make the UK press hostile to a highly profitable sponsorship 

Last week Rwanda and Arsenal, an English Premier League football club, signed a $40m sponsorship deal for three years. According to the deal, a “Visit Rwanda” logo will be emblazoned on the left sleeve of all first team, Under-23 and Arsenal Women’s shirts beginning with the new season this summer. Many people were impressed because the country is selling itself as product and branding itself like a private enterprise.

Monday, May 28, 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.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Inside Africa’s real tragedy


How the ideology of a welfare state has destroyed our continent and impoverished its people
Everywhere I turn these days, Ugandans (and Africans generally) are complaining about the sorry state of our education and healthcare systems. There is a widespread belief across development literature that state (or public) investment in health and education is a panacea to the problems of development.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Africa’s need for messiahs


Inside our belief that the salvation of our nations will come from the actions of one great man

If you follow discussions on politics in Uganda, or Africa generally, one factor is given as the cause of the slow rate of development – poor leadership. I used to hold this view but outgrew it in large part because I recognised that African leaders are propelled to power by the social dynamics of our societies. It follows that what they do with power reflects more on who we are as a people than who they are as individuals.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Understanding why nations fail

How a book celebrated by the world’s leading economists is actually an intellectual absurdity 

Last Saturday, my intellectual friends and I held a thrilling debate on a book by James Robinson and Daron Acemoglu titled `Why Nations Fail’. The book became an instant bestseller when it was published. Five Nobel laureates in economics endorsed it. Four other economists I hold in high esteem did that same. Jarred Diamond, whose work on the role of geography in the economic prosperity got me thinking in 1998, said good things about it.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Inside Uganda’s healthcare tears


Why trying to do everything for everyone, everywhere has ended up doing little for anyone, anywhere

The debate on health policy in Uganda is frustrating. Our health services are characterized by corruption, absenteeism, incompetence and apathy. Everyone is angry and frustrated including President Yoweri Museveni. This misery is self-inflicted because we refuse to acknowledge the limits on the state’s ability to do everything for everyone everywhere.