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Mwenda wrong on real problem of Uganda

The contradictions in his arguments and the contempt he holds Ugandans in, especially the educated, is striking

COMMENT | JACK PINTO | Refer to: “The real problem of Uganda: Educated Ugandans can’t see they don’t need a perfect policy environment to become prosperous” (The Independent April 21).  I open Mwenda’s newspaper on line weekly mostly to read what he has written in his last-word.

As one reads his writing, one is struck with his contradictions in his arguments and the disdain, contempt and cynicism he holds Ugandans in especially the educated. I have a few other comments regarding his latest article.

Mwenda says make your own opportunities you wannabes / lumpens from university. Do not look at any one to give you employment.

Interestingly, when Mwenda graduated he looked for employment. He did not go out to make his own opportunity until he had settled; maybe saved money or someone invested in him to start his own newspaper. He did not come out of university and was immediately a “tycoon / Entrepreneur” as I have seen some people addressing him in some forums. He was a struggling young man like these new graduates that he treats with contempt in this article and others he has written about educated Ugandans.

Maybe we can ask Makerere University and the Monitor Newspaper whether Mwenda was a rich-Kid when he was an under graduate and when first employed at the latter. Assuming he was a rich kid, who he was not, that money would have been his parents not his and so somehow goes to prove the point that he would have been given a leg up the ladder. He is now at the “top” of the ladder and stamping on the fingers and hands of those who are at the bottom and trying to find space to get on first step. No wonder because that is the attitude we have seen over the 36 years of NRM rule – The Twalire class. Their attitudes to Ugandans not near their dining table or even in their dining room to get crumbs from the table is : don’t-bother-us ; lump-it- because -nothing -is -gonna -change- here.

Mwenda , who was in the 90s and early 2000s hated by the NRM government because he was anti everything Kaguta and his family (I say Kaguta and his family because Uganda is under this whole family not just Tibahaburwa ) did , has now got himself close to the seat of power and has forgotten about the role of the government. He is now telling those who care to read his articles that the government has no role for its citizens apart from collecting taxes from them and then spending it on the first family and all those who are its friends. I wish, before he wrote this article had had educated himself first about the roles of an accountable government and then written a balanced article that explores whether those roles are being met in regard to all spheres of public life.

One of the roles of any sane and accountable government is: ensure that as many people as possible are employed. That employment could be in the private sector or public one. In in real Democratic countries (like in the West) no government survives the next election unless they have a good record on employment.

The government does that by creating the right environment in the private, public and civil societies to thrive so that this ideal is realised.

In the private sector, it is like working on the economy to ensure the banks are consumer friendly and are lending to people ; the interest rate are affordable for people to borrow and start various activities etc.

In the West, nearly all governments have a policy of apprenticeship ( Mentorship) where by kids from universities or coming from tertiary education or those with other talents and interests are given the necessary experience by working with the professionals mentors in the field to acquire the experience they need to go on and get jobs or set up on their own. The organisations or business people taking on people on these programs are subsidised by the government from the tax payers’ coffers- either those organisations/ individuals pay less tax or the government pays some incentives to each person doing apprenticeship.

The government also makes sure they create a conducive atmosphere for SMEs (Small to Medium sized enterprises) to thrive because these are seen as engines of growth and they employ quite a good number of people.

Woe betides a ruling government going to the electorate asking for votes at the end of an election cycle with a reputation of not having addressed the employment issue. But of course that cannot be said for Uganda where there are sham “elections” because Museveni has the guns or “amagye” as one minister put it.

Another role of the government is to invest in education and other training facilities.  Mwenda should know that the government he supports spends more on Defence and President’s office than on Education.

Mwenda seems to denigrate the value of education in his article. He comes across as telling his readers -Forget Education and degrees and go to Kikubo etc… there is a lot of money to make there. In short – how many people has he seen who have made money and pulled their families and communities out of poverty from opportunities that Kikubo offers as compared to education. There is no doubt that many in Museveni’s government all came from poor backgrounds and through education have gone ahead to attain positions where they are able to steal and loot as they are doing in this NRM government

Mwenda praises the Indians, Chinese, Ethiopians, Somalis etc. without any researched evidence of how they came about to be successful. I can only advise him from where I live – the Indians and Chinese like everyone else work hard on their studies, graduate and look for jobs and that is how they are successful.

In the USA and across the whole of Europe, 95% of the successful people; be they Asians, Whites or African, are ones who have studied and got jobs when they completed their studies.

I can write a thesis on this biased article but will stop here. But it no longer surprises me that a man who used to disdain corrupt and leaders who rule with impunity is one who is applauding and encouraging them – from Russia to Africa. A question for Bwana Mwenda – when Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba eventually imposes himself on Uganda with the help of his father in a sham election, what will your position be – Vice President or Minister of Information?



  1. … that this article made it to the press, is in itself, applaudable of this media house.

  2. If an African eats, at time he is silence or creates diversionary submissions at any fora.

    May God bless us!

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