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



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Behind the 2017/18 budget




Museveni delivers the SOTN address ahead of the budget
How money is an important a political resource that allows Museveni to manage power

Last week, the government presented the national 2017/18 budget totalling Shs24 trillion in spending. For many commentators on the Ugandan traditional and social media scene, the budget is as an economic issue.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The future of liberty in Africa



Why we need to recognise the breadth of emerging liberties even as we doubt their depth

I want to argue that liberty is taking root in Africa.  Not as fast as we would like. But this should not discourage us. Liberalism grows slowly, at an evolutionary pace. It is tyranny that grows faster, at a revolutionary pace. It is quick and easy to build a dictatorship because this requires the single-minded actions of an individual or small group commanding an all-powerful state. But it is hard and slow to build a liberal democracy because this requires the development of a set of traditions of fairness and justice within society over time.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Jacob Zuma tragedy



How one man has brought South Africa’s democracy and Mandela’s “miracle” from honour to shame!

Last week I was in South Africa and listened to the disaster that blind faith in democracy can deliver to a country in form of bad leadership. President Jacob Zuma and his confederates have indulged in forms of theft and brigandage that expose the myth of the miracle Nelson Mandela is acclaimed to have delivered to that country. Friends in that nation’s intellectual and business community told me horror tales of mismanagement and corruption that make even Mobutu Sese Seko’s former Zaire face competition as the archetype of a predatory state.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Why Kayihura remains IGP



His contract was renewed because his enemies inside the government underestimate him while the opposition demonise him

Parliament last week approved President Yoweri Museveni’s reappointment of Gen. Kale Kayihura as Inspector General of Police (IGP). With 12 years at the helm, Kayihura is now the longest serving IGP in Uganda’s history and equally the most controversial. This is unprecedented. No one has held such a sensitive job while exercising the amount of power Kayihura does for a long period under Museveni. He has achieved this is in spite of (and also because of) having many enemies in the system and criticism from the opposition and media.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

BYANYIMA: A giant retires



Muzei Byanyima. FILE PHOTO VIA @winnie_byanyima
What Uganda’s current and future politicians can learn from the life and character of Mzee Byanyima

Although I knew he was old (at 96) and was aware of his declining health I was still shocked when I heard the news of the death of Mzee Boniface Byanyima. I have since been trying to frame my impressions of this giant of a man. I knew him very well. I used to visit him at his home in Ruti, Mbarara, sometimes spending Christmas or Easter holidays there. At other times I would be driving through Mbarara and pass by him at his home, even spend a night to talk and listen to his wisdom and experience.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The logic of Besigye’s claims



What psychology tells us about FDC’s claims to have won last year’s presidential election

This column is a logical thought experiment. Recently, opposition presidential candidate, Dr. Kizza Besigye, claimed on a television show that he won the last presidential elections and that he has evidence to prove it. This was a very vital revelation, which Besigye has actually made many times in the past. I was surprised the moderator did not ask him to table his evidence.

Monday, May 8, 2017

On Museveni and Stella Nyanzi



How the detention and trial of a Makerere academic exposes the moral bankruptcy of Uganda’s elites

Dr. Stella Nyanzi, an academic at Makerere University, has been jailed for using foul language to criticise President Yoweri Museveni and his wife, Janet. It is permissible to call the president a dictator or corrupt. I find it morally reprehensible for Nyanzi to refer to their sexual organs in a vulgar way to express her frustration with their power though I disagree that such language should be criminalised. Mrs Museveni responded to Nyanzi’s insults with grace and dignity. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity for a policy debate, Nyanzi used (and abused) it to hurl even worse sexually lurid insults at her.