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, June 28, 2021

The challenge of democratic politics

Who is a moral candidate for parliament: the candidate who promises electricity or one who distributes cash to voters?

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | Someone sent a quote allegedly from a one “Prof.” PLO Lumumba to an internet chatgroup I belong to. Lumumba seems to have run for a parliamentary constituency in his native country of Kenya. He is alleged in the aforementioned quote to have complained that: “I held 250 town hall meetings. I articulated solutions to our problems in my constituency. My opponent did not campaign at all. He gathered money and showed up one day to elections. He distributed money. He won. Africans are not moved by ideas. Their stomach leads them.”

Monday, June 21, 2021

Inside the COVID resurgence

Why government needs to think differently about where it needs to invest in order to effectively contain the pandemic

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda | COVID has returned with a vengeance and is now ravaging Uganda. In March and April, the virus seemed to disappear. Out of an average of about 2,000 people being tested daily, only 12 (0.7%) were positive. Today, out of 8,000 tests daily, an average of 1,500 (17%) are testing positive. Last year, Mulago Hospital had set aside 500 beds to handle COVID patients. At the height of the pandemic in late November and early December last year, Mulago ran out of COVID beds – it had 490 patients at any one time.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

On Museveni’s new cabinet

The president’s choice of ministers and what it tells us about the factors that shape the character of cabinet

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | President Yoweri Museveni’s recent cabinet has excited a lot of debate. Many pundits question its competence to manage the country and lead it to the proverbial middle income status. Yet I don’t think that is the main aim of cabinet. In a poor, backward almost fictional nation-state like Uganda, the main role of cabinet is nation building, not technical and economic management. Hence, the most critical issue is whether the cabinet represents the different social groups that make up the polity called Uganda. These social groups are ethnic, demographic, religious and increasingly gender.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Anatomy of policy disaster

How Uganda’s tax policy on real estate has destroyed the once thriving sector and stifled economic growth

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | This week, the government will read the 2021/22 budget. Given the poor performance of the economy, government is proposing new taxes. For instance, it has proposed to increase rental income tax from 20% to 30%. Many have made fine arguments in opposition to this tax but I don’t think government will listen. Uganda’s tax policies towards real estate have been growing from bad to worse since 2012. This article seeks to explain this development.