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, November 18, 2012

Africa and Obama’s second term

How the newly re-elected US president is not the solution but the problem for Africa
Last week, Barak Obama was re-elected president of the United States. Since his first election in 2008, many African elites were happy that at least “one of us” has won the presidency of the world’s only, albeit declining, superpower. Behind this “one of us” label lies hope that Obama, being “black”, would do more to “help” Africa fix its problems like dictatorship, poverty, corruption and bad government. And it seems from his rhetoric during his first election campaigns that he would try to “fix” Africa. Nothing is scarier about Obama than this ambition.

Who will fight corruption?

With billions in stolen funds, the thieves are in a position to compromise investigations, prosecution and judgment
Over the last few months, it has been exposed that officials in the office of the prime minister and in the ministry of public service stole over Shs 600 billion (US$ 250m). Our country has bad roads, 26 mothers die in child birth per day, 80,000 kids die every year from preventable diseases (in ten years you have a number equal to the Rwanda genocide of 1994), children study under mango trees for lack of classrooms, limited agricultural extension services and supply of electricity is only to eight percent of our people. Therefore Uganda needs every coin of public funds to serve its citizens. However, this collective vision has been lost. Instead, we see a pattern of actions where the interests of the many have been usurped by the greed of a few.

Dealing with the Congo question

How President Kabila can pick a leaf from his neighbours and his own past to craft a solution for his country
Over the last so many months, the international community has been grappling with the crisis in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Human rights groups and the United Nations “Panel of Experts” have presented the problem as one of a Tutsi-led rebel group, M23, wreaking havoc in that country. The mass media sings this chorus. The UN “experts” claim that M23 are a proxy of the government of Rwanda. In a second leaked report, the UN panel has added Uganda among the sponsors of M23.

Obama or Romney, America has no choice

The presidential election in America, although run by two political parties, actually offers little choice for the ordinary voter
As the American election gets near, the partisans on either side have assembled to criticise one another and show that there are actually serious policy differences between the Democrats and Republics and between President Barak Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney. Yet increasingly, the United States has degenerated into a one party state divided into two factions: one calling itself Democratic and the other, Republican. The two parties keep recycling the same people who have promoted policies that have left the US as the world’s most indebted nation. The genius of this system is to make most Americans believe if offers alternatives.

Obote’s legacy murdered at his memorial

Speakers at the Memorial Lecture at Sheraton spent too much time attacking government than on highlighting his legacy
On Oct. 10, I attended the Fourth Milton Obote Memorial Lecture at Sheraton Hotel’s Rwenzori Ballroom. There, I witnessed in silent wonderment the murder of the record of our founding prime minister, Apollo Milton Obote, by the very people who claimed to have inherited his legacy. In many ways, the present Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) and Milton Obote Foundation (MOF) offer little evidence of the organisational and administrative genius of the man who created both. And they reflect little of his ideas, values and aspirations. If Obote’s life’s achievements included building a well organised and articulate political party and an enduring Foundation in his name, then his death perhaps proves the fragility of his achievements.