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, August 22, 2016

Inside the war against Kayihura



How the opposition has been joined by elements inside government to fight the IGP and the risks it poses
 
Over the last few weeks, the police and its Inspector General Kale Kayihura have been in the eye of the storm. The opposition see Kayihura, and correctly so, as the biggest stumbling block in their pursuit of power. He has tenaciously blocked their rallies and riots. So they want him removed. They have successfully used social media to demonise him.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Weapons of the poor



How per capita revenues and per capita spending influence governance strategies of nations

How do you govern a country that has average public spending per capita of $450 annually in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)? Is it possible to govern it using the same strategies as a country whose public spending is $22,000 per person annually? Yet all debate on governance today assumes exactly that. I have grown suspicious of this belief in large part because when one studies the governance strategies of today’s rich nations when they had the same per capita spending as today’s poor countries they look quite similar.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Uganda’s much-discussed bailout



How to help distressed companies without removing the risk from lenders and borrowers
On March 31 2016, the total value of all loans in Uganda’s commercial banking industry was Shs21.7 trillion of which Shs528 billion were non-performing loans (or “bad loans”) i.e. 2.64% of the total. Under the effective oversight of Bank of Uganda, especially its director for supervision; Justine Bagyenda (known in the industry as Uganda’s Iron Lady), non-performing loans have averaged 1.7% over the last 10 years. Although there was deterioration, it was a far cry from the 17% non-performing loans in 1996.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Inside Rwanda’s police state

Why Rwandans tell pollsters they are free while abstract standards of freedom say the country is repressive

The view that Rwanda is a police state is such an entrenched position among critics of President Paul Kagame that it has become gospel truth. Last week on my radio talk show on KFM, I showed panelists videos of police in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya mercilessly beating up demonstrators. I told them I have never seen a Rwanda police officer beat a civilian thereby letting lose the dogs of intellectual and emotional war. If I had not been a dictatorial moderator, my views would have been drowned in the ensuing uproar. All the panelists said this is because Rwanda is a police state where people lack the freedom to challenge government.

Monday, July 25, 2016

URA’s poor tax administration



How corruption has disabled mechanisms through which the business community can fight for better tax laws

Uganda’s ratio of taxes to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has remained almost stagnant for 19 years. In 1997, it was 11%. Since then it has risen to 13.7% only to fall back to 12%. This is in spite of the fact that over this period, monetary GDP has increased from 76% to 94% and taxable GPD from 52% to 81% today. Last financial year, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) collected Shs 11.3 trillion in taxes against a GDP of Shs 86 trillion as per June 30th. This means that the tax to GDP ratio is now 12%.

Monday, July 18, 2016

America’s war on its black citizens



Slavery in America may have ended but the US state has reproduced it through mass incarceration of blacks and police violence in poor black communities due to its hidden economic gains

Recent events in the United States; where police shot and killed two black men in cold blood may have dominated the news but they are actually normal and regular. What was unusual was a lone black man who decided to take matters into his hands and strike back at America’s institutionalised system of racial subjugation and violence, killing five police officers and injuring seven more. Since then, there has been more outpouring of sympathy for the police, including from President Barack Obama, than to the daily victims of police terror.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Uganda’s economic growth dilemma

Why our country remains poor with high unemployment in spite of 28 years of huge expansion in GDP

Last week, I spent an entire day at Uganda Bureau of Statistics crunching numbers with the staff on our GPD growth between 1986 and 2014. There is only one route for nations to grow rich: sustained economic growth over a very long period of time. Economics and statisticians use “The Rule of 72”. It states that if an economy (or anything under measurement for that matter) grew at 1% per year, it would double every 72 years. However, if anything grew at 7% per year, it would double every ten years.