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



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Kenya, Rwanda elections

Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials make a sweep of electoral material August 7, 2017 at a holding centre in Kagio before their distribution to the polling stations a day before the Kenya general election.
KENYA, RWANDA: How voting in these two East African nations reflects our understanding of democracy

East Africa has recently witnessed two presidential elections – in Rwanda and in Kenya. The two nations are different. Rwanda is a small country with one ethnic group which shares a common language, culture, and a history of nationhood and statehood for the last 550 years. Kenya, on the other hand, is a recent creation of the British; a hotchpotch of tens of ethnic groups that had never formed one unified nation and state. Rwanda has been through military coups, civil war, and genocide. Kenya has been stable.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Defying the odds, defining oneself



African leaders Kagame, Museveni, Magufuli and Mugabe setting an African agenda, defying the odds.
How Africans have been mentally enslaved to hate everything about themselves and how Rwanda is defying it

“In these bloody days and frightful nights when the urban warrior can find no face more despicable than his own, no ammunition more deadly than self hate and no target more deserving of his true aim than his own brother, we must wonder how we came so late and lonely to this place.” Maya Angelou.
Brian Klaas, a fellow at the London School of Economics, perhaps did not know what he was getting himself into when he tweeted his Washington Post article, saying: “As the world focuses on Trump, African despots are violating term limits and badly overstaying their welcome.”

Why Kagame won 99%



Kagame during the campaigns. FILE PHOTO flickr/paulkagame

How Rwandans reacted to the west’s war against the symbol of their nation’s success

Last week, Paul Kagame won presidential elections in Rwanda by 98.6%. Historically, such margins have only been won in countries like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, which was under the tight grip of a tyrant. To many observers armed with this experience, the election in Rwanda and Kagame’s margin of victory does not have to be analyzed in its specificity. It is only explained by citing the experience of other nations. Therefore, to many commentators, Kagame’s margin of victory does not reflect anything unique and specific to his country. Instead it only confirms the prejudice that Rwanda today is the same as Sadam’s Iraq.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Hubris of The Economist



How this British newspaper ignores Rwanda’s context in its neocolonial desire to define that country

According to cc, a United Kingdom-based highly opinionated newsmagazine, President Paul runs a tight autocratic political system in Rwanda. The economist arrives at this conclusion entirely based on its reporter’s personal feelings spiced by anecdotal stories told him/her by some fringe of that country’s citizenry. It is always good to be rich and powerful because then you can comment on other people’s lives with the confidence of a priest.

Monday, July 24, 2017

BOU’s war with Sudhir



How the central bank’s handling of the problems of Crane Bank showed lack of imagination and strategy
I have always had high respect for Bank of Uganda (BOU) because of its management competences. Since the collapse of Uganda Commercial Bank in 1999, BOU has kept our banking industry stable hence its impressive and sustained growth. For instance, nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans fell from 40% in 1995 to 5% in 2015. Since 1995, commercial bank assets have grown from Shs700 billion (Shs4 trillion in 2016 prices) to Shs24 trillion; deposits from Shs383 billion (Shs2.2 trillion in 2016 prices) to Shs16 trillion. All other indicators – profits, wages, branches, accounts, have grown exponentially over the same period.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Too much ado over nothing

Why Museveni is most likely going to succeed in amending the constitution to remove the age limit
Uganda is entering a major political battle that will show us the balance of political forces between President Yoweri Museveni and his opponents. A section of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) will push for the amendment of the constitution to remove the presidential age limit so that Museveni can run in 2021. Most of the leadership of the NRM are hostile to this proposed amendment but will acquiesce to it because the party has evolved in such a way that only those who do so survive politically.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Rethinking healthcare in Africa



Why attempts to provide too much too fast are the cause of corruption and institutionalised incompetence
Last week I moderated a World Health Organisation panel on providing universal healthcare in Africa. These ambitions assume that poor countries have the ability to deliver the set goals and what is missing is honest government and political will. The debate took place in Rwanda where a poor country has achieved universal medical insurance. I have come to believe that using Rwanda as a reference point is misleading because the conditions that have made it successful are rare to find and difficult to recreate. This article’s central message is that we need to unlearn assumptions that inform our policy prescriptions for poor countries.