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 22, 2017

Why Kayihura remains IGP



His contract was renewed because his enemies inside the government underestimate him while the opposition demonise him

Parliament last week approved President Yoweri Museveni’s reappointment of Gen. Kale Kayihura as Inspector General of Police (IGP). With 12 years at the helm, Kayihura is now the longest serving IGP in Uganda’s history and equally the most controversial. This is unprecedented. No one has held such a sensitive job while exercising the amount of power Kayihura does for a long period under Museveni. He has achieved this is in spite of (and also because of) having many enemies in the system and criticism from the opposition and media.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

BYANYIMA: A giant retires



Muzei Byanyima. FILE PHOTO VIA @winnie_byanyima
What Uganda’s current and future politicians can learn from the life and character of Mzee Byanyima

Although I knew he was old (at 96) and was aware of his declining health I was still shocked when I heard the news of the death of Mzee Boniface Byanyima. I have since been trying to frame my impressions of this giant of a man. I knew him very well. I used to visit him at his home in Ruti, Mbarara, sometimes spending Christmas or Easter holidays there. At other times I would be driving through Mbarara and pass by him at his home, even spend a night to talk and listen to his wisdom and experience.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The logic of Besigye’s claims



What psychology tells us about FDC’s claims to have won last year’s presidential election

This column is a logical thought experiment. Recently, opposition presidential candidate, Dr. Kizza Besigye, claimed on a television show that he won the last presidential elections and that he has evidence to prove it. This was a very vital revelation, which Besigye has actually made many times in the past. I was surprised the moderator did not ask him to table his evidence.

Monday, May 8, 2017

On Museveni and Stella Nyanzi



How the detention and trial of a Makerere academic exposes the moral bankruptcy of Uganda’s elites

Dr. Stella Nyanzi, an academic at Makerere University, has been jailed for using foul language to criticise President Yoweri Museveni and his wife, Janet. It is permissible to call the president a dictator or corrupt. I find it morally reprehensible for Nyanzi to refer to their sexual organs in a vulgar way to express her frustration with their power though I disagree that such language should be criminalised. Mrs Museveni responded to Nyanzi’s insults with grace and dignity. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity for a policy debate, Nyanzi used (and abused) it to hurl even worse sexually lurid insults at her.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Uganda’s declining growth

Why we need to think of how to develop national capacity to manage our economy

Uganda is going through the worst economic performance since 1987 when the government of President Yoweri Museveni began liberal economic reform. In the first quarter of this financial year, the economy contracted by 0.1%; the second quarter it grew by 0.8%, far below projected growth of 5.5%. Given a population growth rate of 3.12%, per capita income has contracted by 2.3% between July and December, the reason The Independent last week reported that Ugandans have grown poorer.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The problem with term limits



As Sierra Leone’s president seeks to amend the constitution and extend his presidency, it is time for Africa to pause and reflect
The president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, wants to amend the constitution and remove term limits on the presidency. Koroma is not the first and will not be the last president of an African country to attempt this. Many others have done it with success while a few have failed. Yet each time a country attempts to remove term limits, we have a standard explanation: the leader is greedy for power. Since the 1990s, we have regurgitated this explanation, reducing a social issue to the character of an individual.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

On Museveni-Besigye talks



How the opposition leader has blundered on the chance to promote his political project – if he has any

Media reports have recently indicated there are attempts to organise talks between the government and the opposition. For such talks to be meaningful, they have to involve President Yoweri Museveni and his main rival, Dr. Kizza Besigye. Even before anything tangible could materialise, however, Besigye was already bragging that “the dictatorship” is weak and has, therefore, approached him and his people “begging” for talks. The government, meanwhile, was denying involvement in any talks.