Andrew Mwenda Explains his Friendship with Museveni, Muhoozi and Besigye

Dear friends,

Ugandans At Heart (UAH) should not be involved in lies like the current claims that im going to contribute $500000 to Museveni’s campaign. It is true that I have many friends in NRM just like I have in the opposition. I assisted in fundraising for many NRM friends who came to me for assistance during presidential and parliamentary campaigns just like I assisted many friends in the opposition especially FDC, DP and UPC. I do not belong to any political party and neither do I vote. My own sister is an NRM MP and I contributed to her campaign – including posters for herself and her presidential candidate Museveni. Salim Saleh is my friend. During the campaigns, he came to me and I helped raise for him funds for Museveni’s posters and campaign paraphernalia. I did the same for Besigye’s campaign.

If that makes me a state functionary, I am guilty as accused. But I am also an opposition functionary at the same time. It is the basis of my political philosophy that political disagreement does not mean political enmity. I am friends to Winnie Byanyima and Besigye, friends to Museveni, Muhozi and Saleh, friends to Mao and Otunnu, friends to Ssemogerere and his son Karoli, friends to Bidandi Ssali and friends with so many other Ugandans across the political divide. In fact I was close friends to Milton Obote and he treated me like his own son – just like I have had a good (even though sometimes tumultuous) relationship with Museveni who has been kind and parental to me. I do not think that political disagreement should make people enemies. Indeed, we can disagree without being disagreeable. That is the essence of democracy.

These friendships have been valuable for my journalism and also for my own intellectual growth as I have a broad and non partisan reach in terms of the perspectives I learn by interacting with people across the political spectrum. In fact I would never have broken the stories I did – about junk helicopters, torture of detainees in illegal jails, arbitrary decision in cabinet to give our national silver to foreign business crooks for a song, ghost soldiers in the army etc by being friends with only opposition politicians. It is those who sit in the army high command, in cabinet, in state house etc who know what goes on inside the corridors of power. And it is they who are allies in exposing the rot inside government because they have been willing to leak vital information to me as a journalist. These people are important to Uganda because by leaking vital information, they help promote accountability.

Thus, when I get leaks from government and publish them, I generate public debate. The opposition pick it from there and make a contribution by putting pressure on government. I believe all these people – inside government and in the opposition – have a great contribution to make to Uganda’s progress even when they disagree – in that disagreement lays the creative tension that strengthens our country. I disagree with those who say we should not work with people inside NRM – including Museveni – on matters concerning the progress of our nation. This tendency to pick and choose enemies without realizing that there is more we share as Ugandans that is above government vs opposition is not helpful.

So, my friends, neither Museveni nor NRM are my enemies – political or otherwise. There are many points on which I agree with NRM – especially on the overall macro-economic policy framework. There are many things on which I disagree with NRM – most especially on institutionalized corruption, incompetence and nepotism. Equally, there are many things I agree with the opposition – especially on human rights, service delivery and accountability. There are equally many things I disagree with the opposition – especially their tendency to give only rhetoric about corruption and incompetence instead of organizing the concerned people around these issues. But neither side should fulfil my views for me to work with them.

I did not contribute money to NRM party. But I did help raise funds for the campaigns of individuals inside NRM including Museveni. I even helped write a chapter on housing in Museveni’s 2006 manifesto – to commit the president to promoting home ownership among Uganda’s middle class. Little has been done to realize that dream. That is my disappointment. I am not ashamed of any of this. It is not a secret. I am very proud that I work with all Ugandans even when I disagree with them.

Andrew M. Mwenda

Managing Editor, 

Independent Publications Limited




P.O. Box 3304

Plot 84/85 Kanjokya Street

Kampala, Uganda


15 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. So Mr. Mwenda’s contacts in government and opposition form the cornerstone of his success as a journalist. But why make contributions to a party that strongly and publicly oppose? Wouldn’t it be better to leave out the contributions and just maintain your friendships?

  2. opio,

    could you as well conmtribute to our LRA’s Joseph Kony struggle since you have proved to contribuite to all kinds of idea in Uganda proivided their aim is to capture power

  3. john,

    am a your big fan but disappointed to learn that you don’t vote!! which a learned friend like you, should be encouraging people to do since you command a huge following. anybody who wants the best for this country should encourage people to vote out bad leaders & elect those promoting good governance.

  4. Andrew M9’s explanation is interesting. To be friends is ok, to fundraise 4 them is abit overboard. That is more than friendship, it is belief in their ideology & campaign manifesto. But as a journalist it is ok to appeal across the political divide, but to wine & dine with guys that can’t fix our roads, continue to embezzle tax payer’s money, Gavi, Global fund culprits, Chogm thieves etc, society will judge you harshly.

  5. Kimomera Matigga,

    I read Mr. Mwenda’s explanation just after I’d had lunch and immediately had a stomach upset. I did not expect this level of indifference from such a renowned journalist: by making friends with all manner of politicians and fundraising for all of them, Mr. Mwenda obviously makes sure that he does not keep all his eggs in one basket: for the time being, the NRM has no real cause to make life difficult for him. And in the event that the NRM loses power, Mr. Mwenda will be safe in the knowledge that the new folks at the helm won’t bother him because he did them a favour or two in time of need.

  6. Jeff Tindamanya,

    you contributed to the manifesto on social housing and are proud of it. Surely that makes you NRM and not Ugandan as you wishfuly want us to believe. Quote ” I do not Vote”. Mwenda you sure are proud of your ignorant revelations about who you are. Personally I have always known you to be a hoax.

  7. Kareen,

    Money corrupts and it corrupts absolutely! That was Mwendas problem. Mwenda in case you dont know, birds of the same feather fly together. So if you are busy dining and contributing to the government that has taken Uganda to the dogs, then you are one of them. There is no excuse for associating with thieves, murders, torturers, dictators and then say you are proud to be Uganda because you have friends accross the board. I guess you would have been friends with Hitler as well as the Bin Ladens of this world.

    Mwenda I listened to you on Capital gang a few weeks back and felt ashamed to think that I ever held you in high regard. Surely Mwenda, when were you friends with Obote? when you were 6 – 5 years? Now you are busy dining with Kagame when we know that he is pure dictator. Even thought Rwanda has made in roads in many ways, its still a dictatorship and remember Uganda was at one point very successful too 1986-1995. But then where are now?

    Mwenda you are a hypocrite, money minded Journalist and stop braging, we are nolonger impressed with all your name droping and 1st class tickets to New York etc. Thats really cheap of you! I remember criticising Museven that he flies his kids to German, he imports expensive things instead of using Ugandan products, BUT well well, look at you now!! Now that your sheeps skin is off, we can see the Wolf in you. STOP LYING TO UGANDANS!

  8. Jackie,

    We need more Ugandan’s of Mwenda’s strain to heal this nation. Our political society is busting with blinding hatred, malice and spite! This makes most of the players very subjective in their approach to national issues. Our politics has taken on fundamentalist tendencies. Thank you Andrew for this breath of fresh air.

  9. I have all along wandered ho
    W my friend has managed to be as and to access to confidential information as he usual do with much ado.

    Andrew seems to a new breed skillful and investigative journalist of the time to be emulated by all those who have their country at does not want to destroy his home but build byconstructive cristicism. However Andrew you need to suggest solution to identified problems.


    Drm Kisembo Michael


  10. To Mwenda,

    Whereas I do not wish to say that there is anything wrong in supporting people whom you do not agree with – whether it is through a direct contribution or an indirect one, similar to assisting your sister in raising funds for campaigning in a system you do not agree with; I am uncomfortable in the middle-of-the-road stance that does not give you a specific identity. It becomes difficult and suspicious to know how to create an identity for you (since you cannot create it for yourself). Whereas you have a good excuse as an impartial journalist, as it were, of belonging to no side of the political spectrum, it is preposterous to be seen to support a side that you do not support because you help it to thrive and subsequently become stronger. So, you belong to it. You are party to it. A psychologist would consider you shy (a polite way of saying that you are a hypocrite) or you are a coward (another polite way of calling you corrupt and unreliable). I am hesitant to blame you for your actions as much as I am wondering if all this is not done with more of an ego than a service to your admirers. So, put yourself in my shoes and see how much pain you are causing your admirers by being nowhere, yet well-equipped with the truths that we all yearn to know about. Are they calculated truths to win your readers, or are they genuine stories a journalist tells professionally?

  11. Muhindo David,

    Mr.Andrew it is really good to be prudent and supportive to friends.But why become a friend to a dictator who changes the constitution in favor of himself and bribing renegade MP’s who do not have respect of their poor people in various counties who voted in support of “THIRD TERM”.I am suggesting that the money you gave to support the campaigns of your friends would have been fruitful if you gave it to patients in Mulago Hospital who are suffering, have little to eat and have been delayed to be operated due to luck of money.

  12. chemonges simon,

    THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR COMMENTS,IT IS GOOD TO KNOW THAT AS UGANDANS,WE DIFFER SO MUCH IN TERMS OF HOW WE EARN OUR BREAD,all of you have heads obove your necks;use them,defend your existance so that you can survive,thank you mwenda,you have musterd the art of is survival of the fittest,lazima ujiham kwa kutumia silaha yoyote ile jirani na wewe,kaka muenda nimekukubali,you are so liberal,that is the cool headedness,with which to approach politics.we should damp what the americans call”political correctness and only stick to common sence.let me use this allusion,MACHO KWENYE FEDHA, JUE KWAMBA KILA MTU ANATAFAKARI JINSI YA KUKUIBIA FEDHA ZAKO,KWA HIYO,NA WEWE LAZIMA UBUNI MICHAKATO ZA KUWAIBIA

  13. chemonges simon,

    muenda,take care my boy,tread carefuly kwa sababu politcal journalism is not for hot heads,my long experience away from home may have diluted my knowledge of reality but i still miss”andrew muenda live” on what was then monitor fm,i hear it is now k fm,i would like to contribute something about ug politics,i read from somewhere that museveni is responsible for bleeding afresh,old wounds,i agree because mengo establishment which has haunted ug since independence also was obote`s achille`s hill.he solved it for the good of the country by deploying idi amin field marshal,museveni out of the desire to please them thougt obote to be an idiot,the hens are returning home to roost,AND WHAT IS THE MENGO CLAIM ANY WAY,IT IS A BASELESS pursuit bound to result into frustration because it is based on a lay man`s agreement btn sir apollo and the cunning mzungu who did not give a damn about uganda as a whole,mengo`s demands are unacceptable,ridiculous to a learned fellow and should not be tolerated because such demands are selfish,they should not be allowed to disunite our country,mengo should be crashed obote style,”a good muganda is a dead one” i quote this with amusement because obote`s wife is a muganda na bado yuko hai

  14. chemonges simon,

    if museveni(yk) is guilty for institutionalising corruption in ug,then ugandans are more guilty because mtu mzima hafundishwi uajibu,ni jukumu la kila mwanainchi kuchangia maendeleo ya inchi,YK hana hatia,may be we can only blame him for assuming to be the only visionary ugandan,because he has run the country THE GODFATHER(DON CORELEONE) mafia style,he alone in ug holds the robes of power,it will be his undoing,i plan to invite him to intervene in my marrital dispute,AS FOR those not contented with YK,you will never be contented with anybody bcse,viongozi wote wa kiaafrika ni walewale,and we can not blame them,kwanza jiulize:ni kwa nini sisi tuko vile? all black skins,have relatively same characteristics,passive,irresponsible,liars,unfaithful and never serious,am not racist am only being fair,rational and open minded,if u are blaming YK,why should it be a reccuring phenomono all over Africa,even the hammer wielding kizza will ironically,prescribe the wrong diagnosis for ug problems inspite of being doc,,he lost my support when he showed sympathy for mengo,to me,he lacks principle and is not strong enough,YK is more visionary.i would rather be ruled by a lion than hundred rats,let him commune with mengo hooligans,a sane ugandan will not trust such a relationship.

  15. pitiao,

    Dude, you are such a hypocrite. I wonder how much museveni is paying you to keep your mouth shut and act friendly. Has he scared you with any death threats or food poisoning for you to change your philosophy into somehow liking him? Surely the situation in Uganda requires people with high conviction for what they believe not flip flops like you. 5yrs ago, i thought you were one of the beacons of hope for the country, i was wrong.

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