On one of the most riveting episodes of NBS TV’s highly acclaimed weekly political talk show, The Frontline, moderated by veteran journalist, Charles Odongtho, Andrew Mwenda as one of the panelists was to be alongside State Minister of Finance, David Bahati and the topic was; “the economy”.
It is not unusual to have a good [even gripping] conversation on any day of a show that has earned its fair share of public approval; in part, because of its apparent [or staged] impartiality and of course, the eloquence of its regular panelists; Miria Matembe, Norbert Mao and Ofwono Opondo.
But something was about to change – a discussion deluge – all owing to The Daily Monitor’s former Investigative Journalist, Andrew Mwenda.
His presentation was such an exposé of immense astuteness in economics and free enterprise; moreover the poise and erudition with which he delivered his sentiments virtually was designed to dwarf everybody on the panel, including the minister.
His aptitude was later reviewed by pubic and NBS’s media roundtable [the following day] to have been embarrassing to the Minister – who almost came off as inept, unapprised, and as such, so low-grade vis-à-vis the journalist.
But this is Andrew Mwenda; he has been described as motor-mouthed, canny, even cunning and other times, honest although in fact, he simply calls himself “Old Man Of The Clan”. He is a media consultant, a scholar and of course, a high-flying orator.
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 was born in Fort Portal, Western Uganda on October 3rd, 1972. He grew up in a family with an intense intellectual curiosity where dinner was always spiced with discussions of philosophy and politics – from Plato and Aristotle to Adam Smith and Karl Marx.
“Read,” Mwenda remembers his late father always telling him, “read, especially history.” He has a passion for ancient Greek and Roman history, poetry, philosophy and art. He is also a Pan Africanist.
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).
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).
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. 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.
2009: Selected by Foreign Policy among the 100 Top Global Thinkers
2009: Nominated by the Africa Leadership Institute as an Arch Bishop Tutu Fellow
(instead of selected by oxford).
2008: Selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader
2008: International Press Freedom Awards from the New york Comittee
to protect journalist (CPJ)
2007: Selected by the University of Oxford as an Archbishop Tutu Fellow
2005: Outstanding almuni award from the British Council, Uganda
2005: Michael Ezra award for best radio-talk-show host from the Broad cast forum,
Promoting responsible journalism.
To be continued . . . .