It’s been a long walk for Andrew Mwenda the former Political Editor of the Daily Monitor of Uganda. The former enemy of the regime, the man who got 15 counts against him in court at a set of time for writing against the NRM regime is today another man. He has changed with quotes leading in Chimp reports sadden me. At some point I had faith in the man as a Nobel journalist who fought a just cause. I will show from today and famous words from before to show and mirror the man and how he has fallen from grace. Here I will go back to the letters which shows his colors in black and white. While taking the stand against in one minute and later being for it. This here is about the reach from today and the past where he said differently.
With the reference to the quotes from today’s Chimp reports it shows how he has fallen from grace:
“With a budget of 24 trillion, I think stealing 500 billion is peanuts (it’s a theft rate of less than 2%) In the wider scheme of things, a 2% theft rate is really small. It means that you are utilizing 98% of the money correctly” (…) “May be the stolen 500B is what ensures a stable political order without which we would have civil war. It is hard to tell. The point is, even if you were right about the loss of 500B; you don’t know the other opportunity cost of not stealing it!”(Waswa, 2015).
That is what he said today, but a few years ago when he went independent from the Daily Monitor. On the departure and resignation on the 16th August 2007 the memorable quotes on the same issues is this:
“The major shareholder is given more investment deals in Uganda. I am a citizen of Uganda, not a mercenary. I therefore cannot betray the future of my country in order to retain the privilege of working or writing for Monitor. The future of Uganda is more than anything that money can buy” (…) “Because Monitor has succumbed to bribes and intimidation from the state, it is no longer the institution I was once proud to serve. It has lost its soul. It has betrayed its readers and listeners. It has betrayed Uganda. It has betrayed Africa. It has betrayed the cause of liberty and freedom. It has betrayed humankind. I cannot be an accomplice to this death of a dream whether because of state intimidation or of sweet heart business deals between the chief of state and the major shareholder. To do so would be identical to the action of Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver” (Mwenda, 2007).
In 2008 letter for late payment for “advertisement” in his publication:
“This is to request you to pay Independence Publication Limited (IPL) US$ 200,000 (two hundred thousand United States dollars) only for adverts in the Independent newsmagazine for the government of Rwanda for the year 2008” (Mwenda, 2008).
In 2010 Mwenda continued the stride against corruption:
“the country needs to implement drastic reforms in order to bring its fiscal house in order and promote development using its own resources—starting with a more efficient and enforced system of taxation” (…) “tax collection by the Uganda Revenue Authority amounts to about 12 percent of GDP—well below the sub-Saharan African average of 18–20 percent and far from the government’s target of 24 percent” (…) “Uganda does not need more foreign aid” (…) “Rather, it needs to improve its tax administration by investing in better staff and motivating them with better pay and better facilities” (Probe International, 2010).
How Mwenda got paid from the Government of Rwanda:
“As capital, Mwenda was advanced $1 million from state consolidated fund termed as classified to start this magazine, then to help fight President Museveni’s Government that Kagame was not happy with” (…) “Mwenda who is on a monthly basis paid $200,000 from state coffers, for his rebuts and propaganda against Kagame’s critics and in defence of the dictator has no shame to compare Kigali roads and streets to Dubai, London and New York, forgetting that these roads are not more than 2 years old, compared to those that have stood a lifespan of more than 100 years” (Gasasira, 2013).
In January 2015 he even wrote this at his own leader in the Independent:
“Corruption is debated in mainstream media as a criminal act whose primary objective is to enrich individuals involved in it. Although it manifests itself this way, this is a residual part of the problem. The real issue about corruption in Uganda is that it is the essence of how political power in the country is organised, exercised, allocated, distributed and reproduced. Corruption is actually our system of government” (…) “President Yoweri Museveni’s greatest triumph has been to organise corruption on a broad-based scale. By expanding cabinet, the number of presidential advisors, increasing the number of districts, creating many commissions and autonomous government agencies and by establishing many security outfits, he has created highly diversified centers for corruption. Even the opposition has districts where they can goad themselves. Where in other nations corruption has been explosive, in Uganda it has been integrative” (Mwenda, 2015).
When you look through his quotes and what he has taken a stand for corruption in the past. And how he accepted certain pay-offs from Rwanda in the beginning of the Independent Magazine as early as 2008. While has had issues with barking at the government of Uganda. This is sadly ironic for this public character and writer that all people who knows Uganda, knows about. Therefore when the colors are off, you know see who he really has become.
So when you see how that money is making him blind on Rwanda and their issues. It is understandable why he will be a strong supporter of the third term in Rwanda. I am sure we will see more of that in the near future. But this here is about corruption and shows how he is not committed to it when it comes to Republic of Rwanda.
Secondly he has from the times of 2007 to 2015, shows the changes and how he has become something else then the man he wanted to be in 2007. If he really wanted to be that man with integrity and honor. He has now lost his marbles in the recent year or tired of being a true renegade against injustice in Uganda. Since he all of a sudden is fan of corruption and believes that generate actual growth. This in a country that has more and more debt, more and more local counties and ministers which cost more money, while it isn’t generating more tax money. That does not make sense Mr. Mwenda? Does it? Your supposed to an enlighten man, but your arguments today beats by your own old words. I am not sure if he is now positive since he claim that the government of Uganda is integrated with Corruption (which he said in January this year) then now in August he claims that it’s okay steal 500bn shillings when the budget is as much as 25 trillion shillings. Because it’s peanuts, it’s a saying that he now can think about: Respect is hard to earn and easy to lose. Something he has done now. With actually proclaiming for the world it’s okay to take 500bn from the state-coffers to their own gain then actually making something decent for their country.
Mr. Mwenda I am sorry whatever reason you can say that thieving is a good thing is wrong. It’s like tomorrow you will claim killing and the plague is great like Malthus is famous for saying: “Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country we should build our villages near stagnant pools, and particularly encourage settlements in all marshy and unwholesome situations. But above all, we should reprobate specific remedies for ravaging diseases: and those benevolent, but much mistaken men, who have thought they were doing a service to mankind by projecting schemes for the total extirpation of particular disorders. If by these and similar means the annual mortality were increased … we might probably every one of us marry at the age of puberty and yet few be absolutely starved” (Marjie, 2009).
I am waiting for Mr. Mwenda to turn a blind eye to other issues in society. But today’s stupid comments on corruption are as mad as population control from the late Thomas Robert Malthus who lived 1766 – 1834. And Mr. Mwenda want to be seen as enlighten and educated TED talk’s kind of editor. With this kind of reasoning he is losing it. And I don’t know why, I am not sure if he knows why. He surely has become something else then the man who went away from a great position in the Daily Monitor to make his own workplace in the Independent Magazine in Uganda. Which is sad see if he has sold out totally, he will not be a crucial voice into the elections, which is coming in the 2016. He is surely not the man who needed a bail out in 12 August 2005 after being too critical on the KFM radio. That made the government angry so they actually turned off the radio transmitters for a week (Article 19, 2005).
So the man who has had issues with the government must has grown tired and wanted a decent day job instead of being a renegade watchdog with his own magazine. This has led to the quotes today which don’t fit the old reasoning of the same man. Mr. Mwenda, where did your mind go? And why did you change your mind? Peace.
Article 19 – For Immediate Release – ‘Uganda: Sedition law must be abolished’ (26.09.2005). Link: https://www.article19.org/data/files/pdfs/press/uganda-sedition-law.pdf
Waswa, Sam – ‘Uganda Needs Corruption to Stimulate Economic Growth – Argues Mwenda’ (12.08.2015) link: http://chimpreports.com/uganda-needs-corruption-to-stimulate-economic-growth-argues-mwenda/
Mwenda, Andrew – ‘Re: Resignation’ (16.08.2007) – Letter sent to the Managing Director of Monitor Publication.
Mwenda, Andrew – ‘Re: Payment for advertisement’- Letter from Independent Publication Ltd to Ministry of Finance, Republic of Rwanda (10.03.2008).
Mwenda, Andrew – ‘the political value of corruption’ (10.01.2015) link: http://independent.co.ug/andrewmwenda/?p=298
Marjie, Bloy – ‘Thomas Malthus’ “Essay on Population”’ (09.08.2009) link: http://www.victorianweb.org/economics/essay.html
Gasasira, Sweden – ‘When Mwenda goofed with $200,000 cheque stolen from poor Rwandans in defence of Kagame dictatorship’ (11.01.2013) link: http://www.umuvugizi.com/?p=7465&lang=en
Probe International – ‘Rewarding corruption: World Bank gives more money to corruption-riddled Uganda’ (14.10.2010) Link: http://journal.probeinternational.org/2010/10/14/rewarding-corruption-world-bank-gives-more-money-to-corruption-riddled-uganda/