Andrew Mwenda is a Ugandan journalist, founder and owner of The Independent, Uganda's premier current affairs news magazine. He attended Busoga College Mwiri in eastern Uganda before attending Makerere University. He was arrested and released on bail by the Ugandan government for "being in possession of seditious material and of publishing inflammatory articles". He earned a master's degree in Development Studies at the University of London in the UK. He was previously the political editor of The Monitor newspaper and presenter of Andrew Mwenda Live on the KFM radio station. In 2005, he was among sixteen senior journalists invited by the British government to meet prime minister Tony Blair to discuss the forthcoming report of the Commission for Africa.
In August 2005 he was charged with sedition for broadcasting a discussion of the cause of death of Sudanese vice-president John Garang. Garang was killed when the Ugandan presidential helicopter crashed in a storm over a rebel area, on the way back from talks in Uganda. During his radio programme, the journalist accused the Ugandan government of "incompetence" and said they had put Garang on "a junk helicopter...at night...in poor weather...over an insecure area". He also criticized President Yoweri Museveni, calling him a failure, a coward and a "villager", and said the president's days were numbered if he "goes on a collision course with me".
In July 2006, Mwenda appeared before the British House of Commons committee on Global Poverty to testify against aid to Africa. He has written widely on the effects of aid on the development process in Africa and been published in such prestigious newspapers as the International Herald Tribune and Der Spiegel and done radio and television documentaries for the BBC on this subject. Mr. Mwenda has also been widely quoted in international media - BBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, The Times, The Economist, and many other newspapers, radio and television networks in Europe and North America.
He has assiduously criticised aid agencies and charities for what he says is their ineffectiveness and collusion with corruption. He believes that western aid has been largely unhelpful for African development, since it encourages dependency, sustains wars and fuels corrupt states. He argues that aid goes to the least deserving states, those that have failed their people, rather than those that have reformed. In June 2007, he gave a speech about these issues at the TED conference in Arusha, Tanzania.
In 2008, he won an International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. The award is given for journalists who show courage in defending press freedom in the face of attacks, threats or imprisonment.
- 2007: Investieren Geht uber Schmieren, Entwicklungspolitik, December 2007, Nr. 12 62 Jahr.
- 2007: Personalizing power in Uganda, Journal for Democracy, July 2007, Volume 18, Number 3
- 2006: “Sustaining Growth and Achieving Deep Reductions in Poverty: How Uganda Recovered from Conflict”; in Attacking Africa’s Poverty: Experience from the Ground Edited by Louise Fox and Bob Liebenthal, World Bank, Washington DC.
- 2006: Foreign aid the Weakening of Democratic Accountability in Uganda (a policy briefing paper for the Cato Institute, a think tank in Washington DC.
- 2006: With Roger Tangri: ‘Politics, Donors, and the Ineffectiveness of Anti-Corruption Institutions in Uganda’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 44, 1 (2006)
- 2005: With Roger Tangri: ‘Patronage Politics, Donor Reforms, and Regime Consolidation in Uganda’, African Affairs, 104, 416 (2005), 449-67.
- 2003: With Roger Tangri: “Military Corruption and Ugandan Politics since the late 1990s.” in the Review of African Political Economy No. 98, 2003.
- 2001: With Prof. Roger Tangri, Corruption and Cronyism in Uganda’s Privatisation in the 1990s, Africa Affairs 100-398 (2001) 87-103
- AllAfrica.com, retrieved 2008-5-1
- AlertNet.Org, retrieved 2008-5-1
- Reuters, retrieved 2008-5-1
- Alan Beattie (2010-09-15). "Development: Crumbs of comfort". The Financial Times. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
- "CPJ to honor brave international journalists". Committee to Protect Journalists. 25 November 2008. Archived from the original on 10 May 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2011.