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

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rebuilding the FDC brand

What FDC needs to do to reinvent itself and generate morale among its supporters 

After his defeat in this month’s elections, Ed Miliband did the honourable thing and resigned the leadership of the British Labor Party. Miliband followed an evolving tradition of unsuccessful political party leaders in the United Kingdom – Neal Kinnock, John Major, William Haig and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown – resigning after electoral defeat. This practice is good. Ideally, a political party leader who loses an election should give a chance to new ones to test their mettle and, hopefully, bring new ideas and zest to the party.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Nkurunziza’s slippery slope

How the current crisis in Burundi is likely to ignite a regional conflagration 

Pierre Nkurunziza wants to remain president of Burundi. His opponents don’t want him to. Nkurinziza says the constitution allows him another term in office. His opponents say the Arusha Accords, which formed the basis of the constitution, do not. The Constitutional Court of Burundi ruled in favour of Nkurunziza. His opponents reacted by organising mass demonstrations on the streets of the capital, Bujumbura, and beyond. This seemed to take the country to the precipice. Seeing vulnerability, some army officers staged a coup, which Nkurunziza’s spokesperson called a “joke.” He was right! The coup makers lacked sufficient support in the military and police. That sealed their fate.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Re-examining the impact of elections

Why elections in India select criminals for politicians but produce dedicated public servants in Norway and Sweden

I have argued before that the very specific way democracy has evolved in Uganda is injurious to the common good. I use the word “very specific” because I am aware that other countries have had a different experience. Yet Uganda is not unique. Last week, I concluded this column showing how India faces a similar crisis as Uganda. Indeed, many democracies in Africa may have faired better than autocracies. But they too have evolved a pattern of politics where the public sector hardly embodies a collective vision. Instead it reinforces a pattern of politics that confers privileges on a few at the expense of the many.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The dynamics of Uganda’s elections

How electoral competition eliminates public spirited candidates and increases the numbers of self-interested ones

Around election-time,many candidates for office from across the political divide come to me for advice or assistance. We discuss practical political issues: How do I raise money for my campaign? Who are the individuals (there are hardly any organisations) I can approach for financial contributions? Who are the political godfathers (in the church, state or business) I can court? What issues should inform my platform? Which political party ticket should I stand on? In answering these questions, one realises how far removed from theory our actual politics is.

Monday, May 4, 2015

When should Kagame retire?

The benchmarks that Rwandans should discuss as forming the basis for sustainable peaceful transfer of power

President Paul Kagame believes in presidential term limits and desires to retire in 2017. I say this with a lot of confidence because I have had many discussions with him on this matter and his views have been consistent. He is also an admirer of former Tanzanian president, Julius Nyerere, whose example of voluntary retirement inspired(s) him. Fortunately for Kagame, he can still retire. The question is: When? Unfortunately for him, 2017 is not an appropriate year. Tanzania in 1985 was very different from Rwanda today.