When you are writing for people who do not have a culture of reading, you can use any bullshit to lie to them, and this is exactly what Andrew Mwenda has been doing in most of his radio and newspaper explanations.For those who dont know the history of Mwenda’s writings – first he was ‘in the opposition’ – he used to write with even much more rigor in bashing government for a litany of failures. Then he had a couple of arrests and received several international accolades; then quietly, he changed his style.He now started praising the people he used to criticize – he has written matching articles to all his past articles – this time in the opposite. People who pull off such bigoted moves are simply dubious flip-flopping bigots – not ‘styled writers’. I have attached the article where he rather misuses the ”Balanced Score Card model’ in explaining the NRM achievements.
The ‘Balanced Score Card model, a management tool commonly used by companies, presupposes that there is a vision, translated into objectives, then measurable indicators AND TARGETS .Targets are the key to the score-card- the entity then uses targets to see where it is under-performing or not.
Andrew M. Mwenda instead thinks that a ‘balanced score card’ means ‘to balance your arguments in sycophancy’. He uses this framework in a botched way to portray his ‘political fetish’ as a ‘failure that has not failed too badly when compared to other failures’, giving examples like duration of tenure, education and health.
He deprecates his arguments for his boss by saying that our Health and Education systems have tumbled disastrously, yet they are ‘Heaven’ compared to DRC and Somalia, as if out-competing these shamble states was the original target.
He purports that ‘failure on targets’ is acceptable for this situation compared to ‘other failed African leaders’ and that his boss, the ‘average failure’ is way better than the other failures on the Africa Presidents’ scale, past and present.
His reference to Kagame is meaningless – what does he mean by ‘lack of experience’ if not to tot the demeanor that there are ‘little presidents’ and ‘grand-father presidents’ and that the age of a president is proportionate to their performance.
He negates to include the element of time – while other leaders took an average of 3 years before being overthrown, this one had 28 years to make wonders – but remember that ‘less time in power’ was part of the ‘targets that were set in 1986 when the new regime complained about people who overstay.
Finally, he tries to justify the failures of government by saying that ‘a good backbone has been set for the future’, as if relinquishing the ‘fundamental change’ ‘vision’ that was set in 1986 to future leaders (clearly admitting failure).He contradicts himself on ‘the backbone set for the future’ by saying that ‘this is the most corrupt government in history’ as if this is a good ‘backbone’ on which to build the future.
The 10-point-program, which was the initial set of ‘targets’ that were set, plus all interim targets in the form of the NRM manifestos do not appear at all in the discussion, which he replaces with one indicator ‘fundamental change’ (this was the stated vision, not the target stupid!). But remember, although they say a vision is a superfluous state that takes decades to achieve, 3 decades is way longer than what is needed to achieve a vision.
In general, he used a wrong theory to advance his sycophantic view, and tried to write a ‘balanced lie’ instead of presenting a ‘balanced score-card’. A ‘balanced score card’ does not mean balancing pros and cons, it means reporting performance on targets ‘as they are’ and explaining under-performance and over-performance.
Most interesting is the number of times he uses the ‘subjective nominative pronoun ‘I” in the article, as if to portray himself as a ‘sooth-Sayer’ who read Immanuel Kant’s musings in P2 and had completed reading Gandhi’s entire collection by P4 – as if his real intention is to awe us with his status as a genius.
Many references in psychiatry tell us that people who overuse the word ‘I’ are self-aggrandizing narcissists. He keeps predicting things after they have happened by telling us ‘I said it; I told you – because we cannot remember the place and time when he seems to have said these things and if they really mattered anyway. When his boss finally lives, I know he will write ‘I predicted that he will live at sometime’. I wonder why UAH’s Ocen Moses one time said that this guy is a genius.
Yes,there is a class of people who think Mwenda is superb analyst – it is clear from this article that this guy simply knows how to tell stories – he packages them cleverly and sells his trashy newspaper. Reminds me of how people used to say that Noble Mayombo was a very brilliant man – yet he used snakes and crocodiles to interrogate people. If he was very bright, he’d have cross-examined them with clever questions and nabbed them through contradictions
Its not right to lift what is essentially a management tool for corporations and place it in a political arena.The score card made popular in the 1990s can be used by managers to keep track of the execution of activities by staff within their control and to monitor the consequences arising from these activities.Most of its weaknesses arise from the design process itself:it does not provide a bottom line score or a unified view with clear recommendations-its simply a tool of metrics.
In the article, Mwenda analyses NRM’s tenure, the same way a New York Post editor would attempt to analyze Mr Obama’s tenure in the White House. Such tasks can not be taken casually at all given the ramifications.
In order to reach a conclusive and meaningful verdict;he ought to have first picked a relevant model or concept, to help drive forward his arguments; unfortunately he picked a model he couldn’t bring to life. On the evidence, the resulting knowledge mis-application leads me to suggest that Mwenda committed a knowledge misdemeanor, wasting readers browsing time and misleading or confusing readers.
When making such an important analysis you cannot rely on ‘rhetoric’ and dilly-dally with words. You need to build your arguments around a strong basis – otherwise, u will end up with contradicting junk – like saying ‘he has built a sound base for the future’, then you say ‘his is the most corrupt government ever’. It is a parody of mutually exclusive fallacies. I like his frankness though about what he calls failure, but I don’t like how he uses it in relativistic terms to mean success – as the Basoga say, ‘if a man has bigger genitals than u, don’t call them a hydrocoele’.
Until you read his stage managed article on how ‘the First Son’ summoned Kayihura – topic – that civil servants (read ‘Ober’ and other crooks in Public Service) had embezzled billions and that this state of affairs was threatening national security, and how he was taking ‘leadership’ in saving Uganda from this threat to national security.He describes the scenes vividly in real time as if to awe us that there is a batch of young principled officers led by that guy who are protecting Uganda from economic debauchery. That is Mwenda’s official line – when u walk the streets of Kampala, people tell u that Sudhir wanted to confiscate Blacklines House after Captain Roy had failed to pay a loan (like many who borrow money from Crane Bank). Captain Roy had already lost Daisy’s Arcade. Then a mysterious man bought the house and the loan was paid. Then Sudhir investigated and discovered it was Obey – Unless one is foolish, do u think Obey and co could have accumulated all that wealth (almost 1Bn USD in assets), without anyone in government knowing? Which of these two counts is correct? And if Andrew M Andrew M. Mwenda was really serious, why not balance his investigative journalism. These are the real things we want to get to the bottom of, not his so called ‘score-card’. We want to understand the anatomy of corruption in Uganda, and the lifelines that feed it, not these embellished superficial articles that are not prescriptive. In Mwenda, I see someone who was bribed a long time ago, and he has the morals to keep writing his pile of useless rubbish.
Here is a summary of Lessons to Mwenda:
1- Do not rush to undertake analytical tasks such as, government performance unless you are well prepared!
2-Ask other professionals or colleagues to proof read your articles-yes, you have the last word but, it doesn’t have to be garbage/junk.
3-Do not attempt to apply concepts/models to your theories before you actually understand the the concepts in question!
4-Kaplan and Norton argued “you cannot manage what you cannot measure”! I suggest you create a framework for evaluating yourself, so you can manage your output quality!
5-Reserve “bad days in office” for writing topics of less significance NOT matters of national importance! Avoid casual application of generally accepted models!
NRM at 28, a balanced scorecard
Friday, 24 January 2014 10:01 By Andrew M.Mwenda
Museveni’s biggest problem has been to overpromise and under-deliver hence the recurrent frustrations of his utopian supporters
This week, President Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Movement (NRM) will be celebrating 28 years in government. In a moving inaugural speech in January 1986, he promised that “This is not a mere change of guard but a fundamental change in the politics of our country.”
Everything Museveni said on that day had been said by very many African leaders when coming to power – whether it was a nationalist politician receiving instruments of government from a departing colonial power, a politician who had defeated an incumbent government or a military officer who had staged a successful coup. Yet there was a tendency to present Museveni’s statements as new and original. A myth was created that he was exceptional.
I remember as a little boy in Senior One at Nyakasura School telling my “elders” in Senior Six this very point. I recited the speeches of Kwame Nkrumah, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Sekou Toure, Madibo Keita, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Oginga Odinga, Ahmed Ben Bella and Patrice Lumumba to reinforce my point. The seniors would get irritated and dismiss me as an apologist of “African leaders” or a lunatic. Once in a while they would threaten to spank me or chase me away.
I had spent my primary school years in our home library avariciously reading everything – philosophy, literature, ancient and contemporary history and African politics. I would discuss the coups and counter coups in Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria, and debate the differences in strategy and vision between the Monrovia Group and the Casablanca Group in regard to African unity. I realised at Nyakasura that many debaters were uninformed and therefore relied on assumptions and myths rather than facts to analyse Museveni’s promises of “fundamental change”.
Whenever one presented facts that disproved their assertions and conjectures, they felt slighted and resorted to personal insults and intimidation.
It was known that both Ghana and Nigeria had each changed governments eight times. Every leader had taken over denouncing corruption, tribalism and dictatorship of their predecessors only to rule by multiplying these same ills and be toppled and accused of them. Each leader had captured power promising to hold office for a short time to “organise a democratic transition” and proceeded to stay until he was overthrown or killed – with the exception of Akwasi Afrifa (Ghana in 1969) and Oluseguno Obasanjo (Nigeria in 1979).
Indeed, African leaders of all stripes – military and civilian, revolutionaries and reactionaries, Francophone and Anglophone have all organised politics in similar ways. The differences have been in degree or detail but never in substance.
That is why the outcomes have equally been similar – most of our countries are still poor. This shows that the challenges our nations face lie more in the structural conditions of our societies than the character of our individual presidents.
At Nyakasura, I had argued that Museveni’s promise of holding office for four years and then organising a transition to democracy was banal and so was his criticism of Milton Obote for corruption, tribalism and dictatorship. The older boys would sprint to their feet to beat me.
Now 28 years later, many of those who supported Museveni with enthusiasm, and threatened to spank me at school (and many high up in NRM who used to attack me while a student at Makerere and a young reporter at Monitor) for saying he was not special, are disappointed and angry with him. They say he has done nothing but destroyed the country.
Yet I think that judged by neutral standards (like on rate of economic growth, sustaining a stable political order, disciplining the military), Museveni has, in the main, been a very successful president. True he brought little change, indeed no fundamental change in the politics of Uganda. Instead, he proceeded to organise politics along the same lines as his predecessors in Uganda – and indeed Africa – had done.
Museveni has proceeded to organise a politics around patronage like his contemporaries in the rest of Africa had done.
Like all his contemporaries across our vast continent, Museveni has built a governing coalition by co-opting influential ethnic and religious elites into his government. Here, he traded private goods (official jobs and privileges and public sector contracts) to these elites in return for them delivering their followers to the NRM. If a president can win an entire ethnic or religious group by co-opting a few of its elites with official privileges in government, that is a more cost efficient and cost effective way of building political support than delivering public goods and services.
Given the structure of incentives Museveni faced and the rational response he made to it, it was impossible for him to escape public sector corruption and incompetence that characterises Uganda today. Museveni has presided over the most corrupt and incompetent public sector in Uganda’s post-independence history. As a recent World Bank report on Service Delivery Indicators shows, our basic health and primary education performance is disastrous.
Yet while many of his critics would attribute this to him personally or the length of his tenure generally, Uganda’s performance is not different from that of Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, Mali, Zambia, Ghana and Malawi (where term limits are respected and/or power has changed from ruling to opposition party and back). And compared to Chad, Togo, Niger, Mauritania, Burundi, DRC, Zimbabwe, Mali, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Museveni’s Uganda is a star.
Under him, the conditions for the structural transformation of Uganda have largely been laid.
Only Rwanda has demonstrated a radical shift in politics – as I have argued before. But even President Paul Kagame faces serious constraints – especially in skills – to transform Rwanda into an industrial powerhouse like Singapore. All this shows that the major constraint to rapid change in Africa has more to do with structural conditions in society than with individual leaders.
Museveni has been comparatively a very successful president. Where post-colonial Uganda (1962-86) had weak and unstable governments lasting on average 2.6 years each, Museveni has given us a long reign of stability and continuity. Where the army and intelligence services had run amok, Museveni has disciplined them. He has sustained the economy on a long term growth trajectory. However, on everything else he promised there has been no dramatic transformation. If his critics judge him harshly, it is because he (like them) was utopian and placed no limits to human possibility.
– See more at: http://www.independent.co.ug/the-last-word/the-last-word/8629?task=view#sthash.ljV9w1jJ.dpuf