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, May 31, 2021

Kadaga’s political suicide

How the former parliamentary speaker made a series of blunders that may sink her otherwise great political career

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | Rebecca Kadaga is a lady of many parts. For twenty years, she held sway over Uganda’s parliament: first as deputy speaker (20001-2011), and then as speaker (2011-2021). To rise and stay at the pinnacle of power for this long is a statement of one’s political skill and judgment. Yet after twenty years, Kadaga made the biggest blunder that may signal the end of her long political career: she defied the man who controls all the political strings in our country, President Yoweri Museveni. What exactly happened?

Monday, May 24, 2021

A dangerous new world

How social media promotes radical extremism with a high potential to undermine democracy as we know it

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | Democracy is in crisis. Globally. The risk is not the effort of tyrants. It is the naivety of liberals. For a century, two institutions underpinned democracy, political parties and the mass media. Political parties provided organization to aggregate and articulate interests. The mass media offered a platform through which interests could be publicly expressed. Both these institutions were centrally organized, with filters editing the tone of the interests that gained public expression. Their success lay in the ability to build a consensus by moving opinions towards the center. How?

Monday, May 17, 2021

Museveni’s hostility towards Umeme

How the president’s criticism of the electricity distributor is likely to undermine investor confidence in Uganda

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | President Yoweri Museveni recently repeated his claim that officials of the government of Uganda who negotiated the Umeme concession sold the country. It is a belief common among a large section of the Ugandan elite including many inside government. It is also a belief that is grossly mistaken.

Monday, May 10, 2021

The new religious crusade

How the Christian faith has influenced Western intrusions into other countries to promote democracy

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | I complained in this column last week about Western efforts to force their ideals, especially democracy, on other countries and societies without any consideration of time, context and circumstances. Many readers commenting on the column argued that the West does this largely because we depend on them for money to finance our public expenditures. According to the promoters of this view, if our leaders were not going to the West with a begging bowl, these lectures and threats would not exist. Others argued that the West carries this moral hubris because we are poor.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Paved with good intentions

How Western interventions in African affairs, even when well intentioned, produce bad results

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | On April 16 the U.S. government imposed travel restrictions on an unspecified number of unnamed Uganda government officials including members of their immediate families. The justification was their alleged role in handling of the riots that took place in the country in November last year and the conduct of elections all of which, the U.S. claims, undermine the democratic process and violate human rights. Of course it is within the sovereign right of the U.S. to deny anyone travel to their country. But the justification for this action and the intended purpose are both dubious.