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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Recapturing professional journalism

What the new executive editor at Daily Monitor is doing and what it means for our profession

The new Executive Editor at Daily Monitor, Malcolm Gibson, has begun a very important conversation about journalism at that newspaper which may be important for our industry generally. He wrote accusing journalists at Daily Monitor of relying on street rumors and idle gossip to shape their opinions about what is happening in the country. This has generated a lot of debate at Monitor and on social media. Rather than reflect on the issues he has raised, some journalists launched stinging criticisms of his assertions.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lessons from Umeme’s SPO

Why Uganda should move to privatise NSSF and other remaining publically owned or supervised enterprises

Last week, Umeme issued a Secondary Public Offering (SPO) on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) to institutional investors (individual investors have their turn this week). The response by the market has been unprecedented. Thirty international companies with a good reputation offered to buy the company’s shares. Only 20 were given a piece of the Umeme cake. And even with these, the shares were oversubscribed by over 250%. Consequently, on average each of these companies got about 38% of what they asked for. This means that if any company wanted to buy shares worth $10m it was allocated only $3.8m.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Holding the IGG to account

How the ombudsman has been misusing her office and thereby undermining its stature and prestige; and what can be done about it

Last week the Inspector General of Government (IGG) issued a report on the dossier submitted to the office by a “whistle blower” regarding “corruption” in the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). The allegations were a collection of personal frustrations from an employee who had been fired from the Fund and wanted to vent his spleen on management. Although to its credit the IGG found nearly all the allegations empty, the implications of its report undermine the ability of the Fund to attract competent managers in the future. Indeed, granting audience to every Tom, Dick and Harry has promoted a culture of impunity by whistle-blowers.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The India-China paradox

How democracy in India has promoted the privileges of the powerful while China’s authoritarian state serves its poor citizens

By any measure, India is a country that inspires as it disappoints. In spite of its poverty, it has sustained a stable democratic system of government since independence, almost 70 years ago. Yet in spite of (and perhaps because of) its democratic system: with its free press, powerful political parties, vibrant civic associations, regular elections and regular changes of government, the ability of the state in India to serve the ordinary citizen is atrociously poor.