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 16, 2015

The politics of campaign crowds

Why this is likely to be a two horse race between Museveni and Besigye leaving Mbabazi a distant third

Last week the three frontrunners for the presidency kicked off campaigns showing their political muscles with crowds. If this was a measure of potential performance in the election, Kizza Besigye would knockout President Yoweri Museveni and Amama Mbabazi in the first round. While Museveni and Mbabazi had spent a lot of money to bus in people from all corners to attend their rallies, Besigye’s supporters needed little or no mobilisation. They just came by themselves and literally gave him money in expression of support.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lessons from NRM primaries

Why the chaos and violence in the ruling party are a signal of its strength and weakness of the opposition

The just concluded parliamentary and district primaries of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) were characterised by unprecedented violence, vote rigging and organisational chaos. For many analysts, this is evidence of NRM’s organisational incompetence and therefore a sign of its imminent collapse. These analysts predict that those who lost in the party primaries feel aggrieved and are now easy prey for the opposition. Sadly, this is a false hope. On the contrary, the opposite conclusion holds more water – that NRM’s chaotic election is a sign of its strength, not weakness. It is evidence that the opposition has little chance in this election. Here is why.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The dynamics of election violence

Does beating, jailing and killing of opposition supporters improve Museveni’s electoral fortunes?
There is one thing on which President Yoweri Museveni and his opponents agree: that employing violence against them gives the president an advantage. Museveni and his handlers use violence perhaps in the sincere belief that it weakens his opponents. The president’s opponents always complain that violence meted out against them is the reason they lose elections. Both sides are wrong and here is the statistical proof.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The problem with the 2016 election

Museveni and his opponents are involved in a quarrel over our past. We need a debate about our future
It seems NRM has decided to use violence to win next year’s presidential election. Problem is President Yoweri Museveni has always been a net loser when he has used violence against his opponents.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The challenge of economic growth

The debate about the future of Uganda that our presidential candidates should be conducting

We are in the middle of an election campaign and, because our country is poor, the biggest issue should be how to make it rich. For about 30 years, the incumbent, President Yoweri Museveni has been working to grow the economy. To get the best assessment of how he has performed, I go to an organisation that is very good at measuring such things; the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF has data on the economic growth rates of 189 countries since 1950. Its website shows how Uganda has grown over the past 25 years. It also allows us to compare Uganda against the rest of the world.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Amama Mbabazi’s losing strategy

How Uganda’s elite pundits are misunderstanding the election dynamics and why Mbabazi should worry

There is a widespread perception among a large section of the Ugandan elite class that former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has overtaken Kizza Besigye as the main opposition candidate for next year’s presidential election. It is possible this is happening but highly unlikely. There has not yet been a scientific poll to give us real numbers. So for now all of us have to work on our intuition, but most critically on our understanding of the dynamics that drive our insight into our electoral politics.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

About our collective delusions

Besigye’s messiah complex and the triumph of power over values in The “Democratic” Alliance

For most of the last week of September, leading opposition figure, Dr. Kizza Besigye, was a subject of vitriolic attacks by many of his former admirers. All because he refused to endorse former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, as joint opposition flag bearer for next year’s presidential election. Yet none of his critics cared to hear Besigye’s reasons. Instead he was accused of being selfish and power-hungry.