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, December 23, 2019

Corruption and poverty

Why our obsession with corruption as a cause of our poverty is too much ado over little or nothing

THE LAST WORD |  Andrew M. Mwenda |  Cognitive scientists argue that human beings are [inherently] cognitive misers i.e. we prefer to do as little thinking as possible. So when we confront a challenge, our instinct is NOT to look for facts to help us understand it. Rather we lean on our biases, prejudices, values and beliefs to make judgment. Evolutionary psychology explains why it is not profitable for us to stretch our minds to acquire a large body of knowledge. Evolution is driven largely by reproduction. The command of a large body of facts did not give our ancestors a competitive advantage in the dating market. The most competitive qualities in mate selection are power, wealth, generosity, kindness, caring, good looks, good health and such artistic qualities as music, art, athletics etc.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Atubo’s disappointing lamentations

Why African elites are deluded to think the “international community” has our best interests at heart

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda |  Last week, I read with sadness, disappointment, disillusionment and frustration an article in Daily Monitor by former minister Omara Atubo. He was explaining why he signed a petition to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to indict President Yoweri Museveni. I have known Atubo for decades and have always held him in high esteem as among the most thoughtful politicians in Uganda. His article is widely quoted below to provide perspective.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Besigye’s political honesty

How the leading opposition figure hit the nail on the head when talking about money and politics

THE LAST WORD | By Andrew M. Mwenda | Last week, I attended the launch of an autobiography by former cabinet minister, Mathew Rukikaire: 70 Years a Witness. In attendance was Dr. Kizza Besigye, the leading pillar of the opposition in Uganda and four times presidential candidate against President Yoweri Museveni. In his speech, Besigye said UPM polled badly in the 1980 elections because its candidates had no money. Besigye said Rukikaire got the highest number of votes of all UPM candidates in 1980, even polling higher than party president, Museveni, because he (Rukikaire) was rich.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Understanding Kajura’s woes

 Why many of our politicians go broke after leaving cabinet even though we think they are rich


 THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | Last week, media reported that former Deputy Prime Minister, Henry Kajura, is in financial trouble. Three years after leaving cabinet, he is losing his house to a moneylender for failure to pay a loan. For a man who served in cabinet for 27 consecutive years, this is shocking. Yet Kajura is not alone. Our nation has a long list of politicians who move from cabinet/parliament to economic destitution. In a country where people see politicians as corrupt and therefore rich, this is viewed as a paradox of monumental proportions. But it is not.