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, May 30, 2016

Why Museveni should retire

In leaving power the president would cause Ugandans to re-evaluate his legacy with better perspective

There is one thing I wish to request: That President Museveni and NRM should not amend the constitution to remove the age limit on the presidency so that he can run in 2021. There is also one
thing we are likely to see: the NRM-dominated parliament will most probably amend the constitution and remove the age limit so that Museveni can run in 2021. It matters less what Museveni’s initial personal attitude towards this is. The way electoral politics has evolved in Uganda makes the amendment inevitable.

Monday, May 23, 2016

What makes Rwanda different?

The drivers of cleanliness, order, and the brand of dignity Rwandans are building

In mid-May we were in Kigali, Rwanda, attending the World Economic Forum meetings. Across most of Kigali, there was something that has become a signature of everything in this country – order. The streets were clean to a fault, the city lawns were properly mowed, the flowers neatly pruned and the gardens around them carefully designed and tended to, the public garbage cans look better than anything I have seen in Paris or London, the traffic lights count time by the second and at night the street lights turn night into day. Everywhere people were walking – no dust or mud or open manholes that litter cities in many poor countries. Kigali has public parks that rival anything you have seen in Paris and the drainage system works.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A frank memo to Winnie Byanyima

Stop faking holiness. You supported and defended a government that banned all activities of political parties

Last week, Oxfam Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima, accused me of losing my soul by “supporting dictatorship” and “defending gross human rights abuses”. I asked her to name a single incident where I had defended human rights abuses or dictatorial actions and she could not. I suspect that for Ms Byanyima, writing an article arguing that Uganda’s economy has sustained growth of 6.7% over the last 30 years means “supporting dictatorship” and writing another article criticising her husband, Kizza Besigye’s, campaign proposal equals “defending gross human rights abuses.”

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Fight over misguided objectives

Why the competition for power is always a quarrel over delusions rather than a contest over public policy

I argued in this column last week that governments in poor countries cannot govern by delivering a large basket of public goods and services associated with a modern state because they don’t have the human and financial resources to do so. The state in Africa faces a huge mismatch between financial human resources capacities on the one hand and the governance standards inherited from the West on the other. A significant source of our frustrations as Africans emanates from this mismatch.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Africa: thinking outside the box

Why leaders of poor countries are not as cruel and selfish as Western media portray them
In a moment of madness, I toyed with the idea of running for president of Uganda. I had the hubris to imagine I am the guy who can solve its myriad problems because President Yoweri Museveni is incompetent and his perennial challenger, Dr. Kizza Besigye, is a demagogue. I sought to be scientific and drew up a budget that could provide a modest basket of public goods and services associated with a modern state – education, healthcare, agriculture extension services, clean water, electricity, roads, etc. My conclusion was depressing and – I hope – illuminating.