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

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

A fresh look at coups in Africa

Ali Bongo of Gabon is now under house arrest. VIDEO GRAB

Why the Gabon coup is a wake-up call to intellectuals in Africa to rethink politics on the continent

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda | There has been yet another a successful military coup in Africa, this time in Gabon. This is a country that has not known a military coup in all its history. It has been under a family dynasty for 56 years. The coup in Gabon follows one in Niger and before that, others in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Sudan, Mali, CAR, Sudan, Zimbabwe etc. And it will not be the last.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Meet the secular mujahedeen


The transformation of democracy from a political form to a religious movement

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda |  Last week, I had an encounter with a democracy jihadist called Jeffrey Smith during a debate on Twitter (X) Spaces. The next day, he took to Twitter (X) accusing me of supporting despotism in Uganda. Smith, a white American, thinks he cares more about freedom in Uganda than me. Never mind his fellow black American citizens, after 300 years of slavery and another 100 years under apartheid now live under a regime of mass incarceration. There are more blacks in American jails than in college. This is not to mention native Americans who suffered genocide under America’s “democracy,” and today live in native reserves considered “dependent nations” without any constitutional guarantees but as wards of congress.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Uganda, gays, and the World Bank


How our prejudices have combined with an exhausted government to create a disaster for our country

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda |  The mighty World Bank has suspended all new loan applications to Uganda for passing the anti-homosexuality act. The law is primitive. I feel ashamed to be a citizen of a country that passes such barbaric legislation against a community for being who they are. Yet, although I am a defender of gay (and all other human) rights in Uganda, I do not agree this struggle needs foreign assistance in form of money, lectures and threats. As I have argued in this column for decades now, these foreign intrusions into our domestic affairs are often more harmful than helpful.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Respect the coup in Niger

The most likely costs and consequences of attempts by the international community to impose a political solution on any country

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda | Africa seems to be going back to the 1960s, 70s and 80s when military coups and civil wars were a regular occurrence in many countries on the continent. Since 2013, we have experienced eleven successful military coups: in Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso (two in 2022 alone), Mauritania, CAR, Zimbabwe, Guinea and most recently in Niger. There has also been a non-military self-coup in Tunisia. Over the same period, Africa has experienced 29 attempted coups. We have also witnessed the breakout or continuation of civil wars in Libya, DRC, Mozambique, Libya, CAR, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Mali, Cameroun and since 2019, the resurgence of Al Shabab in Somalia as a formidable fighting force after having been degraded by the UPDF between 2012 and 2019.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

On Uganda’s political development

FILE PHOTO: President Yoweri Museveni

Why I believe that Museveni would make a strategic partner in negotiating political reform

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda | Last week, I argued that political development and democratic progress in Uganda have been held back by the attitude of the opposition towards President Yoweri Museveni. It is true Museveni has often employed brutal methods to retain his power by repressing opposition to his rule. But this has been a secondary strategy of last resort. For the most part, Museveni has used persuasion and cooptation (patronage/bribery) to consolidate his power. But as his popularity and therefore credibility and legitimacy have waned, his reliance on patronage has grown in tandem with a tendency to resort to repression to hold the smoldering edifice of his system together.