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, September 30, 2013

Inside Obama’s vision of Museveni

How the US president has swallowed his idealism and transformed from a critic of his Ugandan counterpart into an ally

Barack Obama’s election as president of the United States in 2008 was a moment of great hope. It is difficult to recapture the emotional tone of that moment. But, to use the words Robert Bates used on Africa’s independence, “the depth of it, the fullness of it and the promise it offered” left its mark on all those who followed his campaign up to his inauguration.

It was presented as a new dawn, a rebirth. In Africa, our chattering class saw in Obama a savior to liberate them from local dictatorships and their corruption.

East Asia and Africa compared

Opening the black box of East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa to expose the initial conditions in each region in 1960
The Nobel laureate in economics, Robert Lucas, once said that when you begin thinking about development, you cannot stop. I suffer this disease as well. One subject that intrigues me is the constant comparison of the rate of economic transformation achieved by the so-called Asian Tigers; Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea with that of Sub-Saharan Africa countries.

The African countries are often condemned for failing to perform as its counterparts in East Asia. I used to be an adherent of this view and reached the road to Damascus only slowly.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tinyefuza’s disappointing performance

How Gen. Sejusa has, through a series of letters, proven to be much less than what I always expected of him
I read with disappointment a letter allegedly written by Uganda’s former coordinator of intelligence services, Gen. David Sejusa aka Tinyefuza, in late August in which he alleges that President Yoweri Museveni killed many of his political “enemies” – real and suspected – James Kazini, Andrew Kayiira, James Wapakhabulo and Noble Mayombo.

Initially I thought the letter was a fake because the Tinyefuza I know is so much more intelligent to write such a crappy piece of nonsense. However, that he has not come out openly to deny it makes me suspect he could have authored the letter.

Monday, September 9, 2013

America’s Syrian blunder

Why Obama’s proposed military strike against the government of Assad is likely to make a bad situation worse

President Barack Obama’s decision on a military strike against Syria demonstrates the triumph of politics over policy, fear over reason and tactics over strategy. Obama had drawn a red line on the use of chemical weapons.

The government of Bashar Al-Assad, if American intelligence is to be believed, has crossed that line. Can Obama allow Assad to call his bluff? It is very possible that Obama is acting to protect his and America’s credibility so as not to appear weak.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

What drives economic success?

Development is more a result of the activities of many anonymous individuals than a product of a visionary leader

Common sense should predict and human nature would dictate that every leader of a poor country would desire to go down in history as a great transformative hero; a Lee Kuan Yew or Park Chung Hee, the president and prime minister who presided over the transformation of Singapore and South Korea respectively. Even an Idi Amin, Mobutu Sese Seko, Jean Badel Bokasa and Siad Barre, perhaps the most venal leaders Africa has produced, would prefer such a legacy.