Andrew Mwenda

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Andrew Mwenda
Andrew Mwenda.jpg
Mwenda in 2008
Born 1972 (age 43–44)
Fort Portal, Uganda
Residence Kampala, Uganda
Nationality Ugandan
Citizenship Uganda
Education Bachelor of Arts in Journalism
Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Master of Arts in Development Studies
London University School of Oriental and African Studies, London, United Kingdom
International Fellowship
Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, United States, Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA; University of Oxford in the UK and Leiden University in the Netherlands
Occupation Journalist & Community Activist
Years active 1992 — present
Known for Publications
Home town Fort Portal

Andrew Mwenda (born 1972) is a Ugandan journalist, founder and owner of The Independent, a current affairs newsmagazine. He was previously the political editor of The Daily Monitor, a Ugandan daily newspaper and was the presenter of Andrew Mwenda Live on the KFM Radio in Kampala, Uganda's capital.


He attended Nyakasura School and Mbarara High School, both in Western Uganda, before attending Busoga College Mwiri in Eastern Uganda.

A winner of the British Chevening Scholarship, Mwenda holds a Master of Science degree in Development Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Makerere University in Uganda. He was a visiting fellow at Yale University (2010), a fellow at the University of Oxford’s Said School of Business (2009), a John Knight Fellow at Stanford University (2006–07), a visiting lecturer at the University of Florida at Gainesville (2005) and a visiting fellow at the University of Leiden’s Africa Study Centre (2003).

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.[1]

Work history[edit]

Andrew M. Mwenda is currently the Managing Director of Independent Publications Limited, the publishers of The Independent, East Africa’s leading current affairs newsmagazine. An admirer of Socrates, Karl Popper and Frederick Von Hayek, he is an activist, a journalist, a columnist, a part-time poet, a businessman and a social entrepreneur.

Mwenda is one of the most recognised African voices in the global debate on the failures of foreign aid to Africa and the need for investment and trade as drivers of growth. A TED speaker, he is a regular speaker at conferences across the world.[2] Mwenda worked as Political Editor of Daily Monitor and General Manager of its affiliate FM radio, KFM before establishing The Independent in 2007. He has worked as a consultant for the World Bank, the World Resources Institute and Transparency International. He has also written for international news media like Des Spiegel and the International Herald Tribune, New York Times and Foreign Policy; produced documentaries for BBC World television and radio.

Mwenda has also authored and co-authored articles for international academic journals like Africa Affairs, Journal of Modern African Studies, Review of African Political Economy, Journal of Commonwealth Studies, Journal for Contemporary African Studies and the Journal of Democracy on top of publishing chapters in several books among others.

He was arrested and released on bail by the Ugandan government for "being in possession of seditious material and of publishing inflammatory articles".[3] 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 poor weather...over an insecure area".[4] 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".[5]

Community activism[edit]

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.[6] 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.[7]


Nominated by Foreign Policy among the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2010, Mwenda was also nominated by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2008 and by the Africa Study Institute as an Archbishop Tutu fellow, a program for “Africa’s future leaders” (2009). He has also won the International Press Freedom Award (2008) by the Committee to Protect Journalists “in tribute to his commitment to a free press in Uganda and the whole world” and the Outstanding Alumni Award from the British Council (2006).


Latest Journals[edit]

  • 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


  1. ^ Profile: Andrew Mwenda By Anne Perkins At
  2. ^, retrieved 2015-7-3
  3. ^, retrieved 2008-5-1
  4. ^ AlertNet.Org, retrieved 2008-5-1
  5. ^ Reuters Archived 18 January 2006 at the Wayback Machine., retrieved 2008-5-1
  6. ^ Alan Beattie (2010-09-15). "Development: Crumbs of comfort". The Financial Times. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  7. ^ Pofile of Andrew Mwenda: Journalist
  8. ^ "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. 

External links[edit]