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



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Uganda’s opposition must speak to our aspirations



I pick up where I left off last week: the tragic collapse in the quality of government in Uganda has gone hand-in-hand with corruption on a scale never previously witnessed. Roads are full of potholes, schools are burning, hospitals are death traps and public parks are overgrown bushes. Public institutions no longer embody a national vision. Instead, they reinforce the pattern of private advantage that benefits a few at the expense of the many.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Museveni walking same path of African dictators



Twenty three years since he came to power, President Yoweri Museveni shows no plans of leaving. We should not be surprised by this because Museveni is walking the long-trodden path of other African dictators of old like Marshal Mobutu of Zaire, Paul Biya of Cameroon, Omar Bongo of Gabon, Gnassingb Eyadma, of Togo and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Whatever motivates him to keep tightening his grip around the nations choking throat will continue to be a subject of intense debate and speculation. What is clear, however, is that under his rule (or is it misrule?) Uganda has witnessed a tragic collapse in the quality of government.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To check graft, focus on results



I argued in this column last week that multiple checks and balances in public procurement in a country like Uganda tend to accentuate rather than control corruption. This is because multiple centres of control in a neo-patrimonial system do not create checks and balances as would happen in Sweden. Instead, you create multiple bribe-collection centres. Such uncoordinated centres make corruption expensive and therefore discourage investment. That is why a centralised corrupt Mafioso like that of Gen. Suharto in Indonesia tended not to undermine development like did the decentralized dictatorship of Marshal Mobutu in Zaire.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

When checks on graft increase it



Many people believe the existence of multiple institutions for accountability in public procurement provide checks and balances on the process. This belief is born of the efficacy of such checks and balances in Western democracies rather than an objective study of how they work in a poor and polarised society like Uganda. Many Ugandans think Western systems of accountability can be introduced here and they perform as they do in rich nations. This copy and paste approach makes a bad situation worse.