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 8, 2022

Uganda’s pursuit of modernity

Why every modern asset should be respected for its functionality and not merely its symbolism

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW MWENDA | Whatever its critics say, capitalism remains the most consequential system (and ideology) of organising human affairs in history. Born in Western Europe, it has spread across the world, as Karl Marx predicted, through the continual process of destruction and replacement of precapitalist social structures. Except for North Korea that is holding out against its power and allure, the rest of the world is hooked onto capitalism – including Cuba that is now embracing it, albeit slowly. Of course, in many parts of the world, some traditional structures have proved obdurate.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

The real problem with Vinci

The power, influence, exorbitant dubious deals and the inevitably coming fall of Enrica Pinetti

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA |  There is a fundamental problem with Enrica Pinetti, the “foreign investor” behind the controversial Vinci Coffee Company. She is also the promoter of Lubowa Hospital. She has been given contracts to build some roads without any competitive bidding. Pinetti seems to enjoy the confidence of President Yoweri Museveni. But rather than use such an asset reasonably, Pinetti negotiates deals that are harmful to the Ugandan taxpayer. But worse still and as a consequence, she has a habit of arrogantly dealing with public officials and agencies that provide oversight on government contracts. She hurls insults and abuses at them, treating them as a house helps. Consequently, she (for now) seems above the law.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

The real problem of Uganda

Educated Ugandans can’t see they don’t need a perfect policy environment to become prosperous

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | There are two suffocating beliefs among the vast majority of educated Ugandans. The first is that a university degree (does not) just provide someone an opportunity to search and compete for a secure well-paying job but that it guarantees (or should guarantee) such a job. Hence it does not matter whether the person concerned has the requisite skills that are demanded by employers; what matters is the piece of paper out of a university.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Aiding the enemy

How US involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict is helping the rise of China to surpass America as the world’s leading power

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine intensifies, the biggest beneficiary will not be the USA and her satellites but China. Russia is not America’s peer competitor because of its declining population, limited technological innovation and small GDP ($1.7 trillion against America’s $23 trillion). However, China performs almost as well, and in some cases better, on all three elements of national power. As China continues to grow, the issue will be how it will behave and how the USA will respond. Some argue that growing interdependence of China and USA undermines potential for a conflict between them. But I think a serious rivalry between them is hard to avoid.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

A frank memo to our wannabes

Why Oulanyah’s evacuation to Seattle was not a waste of taxpayers’ money

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | On April 8, former Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, was finally laid to rest. But all will remember a group of wannabe Ugandans demonstrating outside a Seattle Hospital against his medical evacuation. To some Ugandans, it was a waste of taxpayers’ money to try save his life.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Behind DRC entry into the EAC

How Museveni’s and Kagame’s military adventures have contributed more to regional integration than summits of heads of state

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | On March 29, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) joined the East African community (EAC). This brings the number of members from the original three to seven. On the same day, M23 rebels attacked a Congolese military base near Bunagana, Uganda’s border post with DRC. The UPDF engaged the rebels and arrested some of them. It was another reminder that peace in our region remains fragile. Yet the irony is that more than peace, it is conflict in the DRC that has driven her integration into the EAC.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

In memory of Jacob Oulanyah

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | On Sunday March 20th, speaker of parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, succumbed to a terminal illness in a hospital in Seattle – three days shy of his 57th birthday. He had been fighting for his life for over nine months. Outside, a crowd of wannabe Ugandans in America were demonstrating against his hospitalization abroad, insisting that government was wasting money to save his life. What has become of us? Many Ugandans believe such advanced and specialized medical services should be available in the country and should be provided for free to all citizens by the government. This is a level of thoughtlessness that is difficult to fathom.