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

Tuesday, January 26, 2016



Most of this week has been consumed by the debate on the progress poor countries have made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). I have never been an enthusiast of MDGs because I see them as part of the increasing efforts by the international community to disregard the sovereignty of African states. The inevitable outcome of this well intentioned effort is actually to undermine our democratic process.
On the face of it, MDGs are an important effort by the international community to mobilize global solidarity to improve the lives of the poor. Indeed, the main pillars of MDGs are to halve the number of people living in extreme poverty, reduce child and infant mortality, eliminate extreme hunger, promote gender equality, achieve universal primary education, improve maternal health etc. All these are important goals that poor countries should strive to achieve.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Uganda’s `presidential’ debate

Last week, we were treated to a televised debate among Uganda’s presidential candidates. Although we face an immense task of transforming our country from a poor and backward nation into a rich industrial society, our presidential candidates’ arguments fell far below what is required to achieve this task. For example, all the candidates talked about poor delivery of public goods and services. But they assumed this is due to corruption and the lack of care by those in power. Yet the real challenge of Uganda is that we are a poor country that cannot afford to pay for a large basket of public goods and services to the quality we desire.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Behind Magufuli’s political stunts

Why Tanzania’s new president is doing the right thing the wrong way and why he may fail
Since early November 2015, newly elected Tanzanian president, John Pombe Magufuli, has captured the imagination of many African elites on social media by his brazen actions of cutting unnecessary government spending and firing “incompetent and lazy” government employees. He visited a hospital unannounced and after being appalled by its sorry state, fired management and the board right on the spot. He went to the port of Dar es Salaam, and seeing the mess, fired the entire management there and then. He cancelled independence anniversary celebrations and directed that the money be used for health services. He cut foreign trips by government officials saying ambassadors can do the work. The story goes on and on.

Monday, January 11, 2016

African countries are not generic

Why we need to use the results of the referendum in Rwanda to think instead of relying on prejudice to judge

In 2014, President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso sought to amend his nation’s constitution and remove term limits so that he could run for the presidency again. His citizens took to the streets in anger, burnt down parliament and literally chased him out of town and office. He now lives in exile in Ivory Coast. In 2012 in Senegal, President Abdoulaye Wade wanted to run for a third term. The opposition contested his aspiration in court saying he had already served two terms. Court ruled (I think correctly) that the constitution had been amended during his first time and could therefore not apply retrospectively. Wade went to the polls but was defeated.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The crisis of Africa’s intellectual elite

How the West has built a global incentive system that sustains a negative narrative against Africa

Steve Biko once said the greatest weapon in the hands of an oppressor is not his armies and arms but the mind of the oppressed. Antonio Gramsci had made a similar observation regarding forms of domination. He argued that a ruling class does not dominate subordinate classes simply through [its] state’s instruments of coercion and repression (as Karl Marx had posited) but through the development of a dominant ideology, which he called hegemony.