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, February 3, 2020

Why economic growth matters

Evidence of how GDP growth has led to improved wellbeing of the majority of Ugandans

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | Critics have been accusing me of being simplistic by focusing on economic growth as a major success of President Yoweri Museveni’s administration. Uganda has sustained an average annual rate of growth of nearly 7% over the last 34 years. Some argue that the country could have done better by comparing us to China, which had a growth marathon of over 10% per year between 1978 and 2008. Yet China is different from Uganda; especially when we look at factors that drive rapid growth such as a shared national consciousness (leading to high levels of trust), the existence of a strong state, high levels of human capital, diffusion of technology, and access to the sea and proximity to large markets.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Inside Museveni’s 34 years

The pros and cons of the President’s long rule and what they portend for the country he has rebuilt

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | This week, President Yoweri Museveni and his NRM celebrate 34 years in power. Museveni inherited a country whose state had disintegrated and economy collapsed. The country had been plagued by political instability manifest in military coups and civil wars. In the seven years between the overthrow of Idi Amin in April 1979 and Museveni’s take over in January 1986, Uganda had seven presidents, an average of one president per year. Uganda was so ungovernable the legendary Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore once said it could not recover even in 100 years.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Museveni opens a Pandora’s box

How the president’s intervention to halt the procurement of Kampala-Jinja expressway is a disaster

THE LAST WORD |  Andrew M. Mwenda |  Last week, I had a meeting in Mukono, a town only 20km east of Kampala. The meeting was scheduled for 2pm. Knowing the heavy traffic on Jinja Road, where Mukono is located, I left Kampala City Center at 1pm. This gave me one hour to navigate the traffic jam. Jinja Road is a major artery connecting our landlocked country to the sea. It is congested with long queues of trailers that make traffic jams on that road a nightmare. But Wednesday last week was record breaking. I got to Mukono at 4pm.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Kampala grinding to a halt

How NRM politics have made Kampala a dysfunctional city and what cannot be done about it

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | As we enter 2020, Kampala has become a dysfunctional city. The heavy rains of 2019 have left most of the roads in a horrible state of disrepair. Most streets are filled with potholes, some even with craters. Motorists have to drive at the slowest speed. This makes cars pile behind each other leading to chronic traffic jams that have made movement around the city a nightmare. The only roads that have not been destroyed by the rains are those built under the leadership of Jennifer Musisi. This is not to blame the old Kampala City Council (KCC), which was led and dominated by the opposition Democratic Party (DP). True it was filled with gross corrupt and incompetent. But equally, it was grossly underfunded.