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, November 14, 2016

Museveni’s work in Luwero



Why efforts to make peasant farmers go commercial are unlikely to yield success

President Yoweri Museveni spent a week in Luwero District on Operation Wealth Creation. The president was teaching farmers to adopt modern farming techniques in order to increase their output and become commercial farmers. The actions of the president may have excited the affection of local people there but it was heavily derided on social media, today the most powerful medium of communication that has overtaken traditional media such as newspapers, radio and television. It seems everything Museveni does these days only attracts criticism from our elite.

US chicken come home to roost



How Trump won not because he violated American values but because he upheld American vices

This week, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to win the US presidency. This is especially intriguing because Trump had been vilified by America’s powerful weapons of mass propaganda; the gigantic corporate owned and controlled media. Every pundit, journalist, academic and politician of any heft came out to denounce him including fellow Republican Party heavyweights. Trump just didn’t care: he belittled his Republican critics, insulted the journalists, denigrated women and threatened ethnic minorities. The elite accused him of “violating” every code of “American values.”

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Rethinking the banking industry



Lesson for Central Bank from the experience of the takeover of Crane Bank

This week, the government injected Shs 200 billion into Crane Bank to bolster its liquidity position. This is only 40% of the Shs 500 billion needed to bring the bank into a healthy liquidity position. Yet, even if an extra Shs 300 billion is pumped into the bank, it is unlikely to be enough to ensure its turnaround. This situation could have been avoided had Bank of Uganda (BoU) exercised its powers with foresight.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Bringing the state back in

Lessons for Uganda from the failure of Crane Bank and what should be done going forward

Last week’s central bank takeover of Uganda’s third largest bank, Crane Bank, was another step in our nation’s march to the absolute mastery of our economy by international capital. Crane follows a long list of locally owned banks that have gone under or been swallowed by others over the last 20 years, beginning with the International Credit Bank, then Greenland Bank, the Cooperative Bank, Uganda Commercial Bank and recently National Bank of Commerce.

Monday, October 24, 2016

France’s war against Rwanda



What the war between Paris and Kigali over Habyarimana’s death tells us about the two nations

Once again France and Rwanda are locking horns over who killed that nation’s former genocidal president, Juvenal Habyarimana. I have followed this debate for 15 years and every time it rears its ugly head I am intrigued by French arrogance in expressing power over a small, poor country. I am also comforted by Rwanda’s sense of its honour and dignity in the face of extreme provocation by a superpower. This shows that France has so much power but very little leadership.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Uganda’s stalled transformation



 Why Museveni has not transformed agricultural Uganda into an industrial economy and what can be done

President Yoweri Museveni’s stated objective is to transform Uganda from an agrarian to an industrial nation. He has been in power for 30 years, the period South Korea took to achieve that goal. Yet 80% of Ugandans still depend on agriculture for a livelihood; 68% as subsistence farmers. It seems realistic to blame Museveni for this as I used to do when I was still young and intelligent.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Africa and the myths of FDI



Why foreign direct investment is overrated and why Africa needs to cultivate local businesses

There is a fad in Africa. It is called Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Across our vast continent, foreign investors are the most treasured visitors. Practically every country is obsessed with attracting them, often ignoring local investors. An African president will readily give audience to foreign investors where local investors take months or years to see him. FDI easily negotiates generous tax exemptions, government subsidies, etc. which local investors rarely get. And it gets other generous terms such as the right to 100% ownership of the enterprise and 100% profit repatriation.