August 24

The dilemma of Africa’s reformers

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How corruption becomes a necessary vice for successful politicians who win elections by denouncing it Here is a thought experiment. Imagine you are a presidential candidate for the 2016 elections in Uganda. You have all the good policies and ideas. And you want to build a winning electoral coalition. What is the most critical thing [...]

August 17

Why Obama cannot liberate Africa

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This article was written for The Guardian How regurgitating stereotypes and prejudice about Africa easily gets you audience in Western media So I chanced upon an article by a one Patience Akumu (`Why Obama doesn’t understand the lust for power of our African leaders’, The Guardian UK, Aug.2). To Akumu, Africa needs President Barack Obama’s [...]

August 10

The problem with missionary politics

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Why obsession with presidential term limits in Africa is a secular gospel based on faith than historic facts US President Barack Obama excited a section of Africa’s elite when he denounced African leaders who rule for very long, some even dying in office. This seems common sense. But how long is long? The ancient Romans [...]

August 3

Obama in Kenya

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Although Obama behaved better in Nairobi compared to Accra, here is why I still have a bone to pick with him So finally, U.S. President Barak Obama visited his ancestral homeland of Kenya to a rousing welcome. This was understandable because for most of recorded history (a history largely, if not entirely, written by our [...]

July 19

Shattering utopias of African elites

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How political debate is divorced from our revenue and skills reality on state delivery of public goods and services When I was in boarding secondary school in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we used to eat maize porridge every morning for breakfast, posho and boiled beans every lunch and supper. The same experience characterised [...]

July 10

The likely dynamics of 2016

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How Museveni and the opposition are likely to structure their campaigns and the risks and advantages of their likely strategies The battle between President Yoweri Museveni and his erstwhile ally and Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi is likely going to be nasty. The president’s handlers are likely to brutalise and humiliate Mbabazi. Ironically, this is what [...]

July 6

The age of human rights imperialism

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On May 20, the American Congress held a hearing on the “deteriorating human rights situation in Rwanda”. The timing was surprising because there have hardly been incidents of human rights abuse in Rwanda for a while. Instead the hearing took place against the backdrop of widespread demonstrations in the US against police brutality meted out [...]

July 3

Thinking others behave like you

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How the arrest of Rwanda’s chief of intelligence in London shows the British government projecting its behavior on RPF Let us imagine a situation where a Spanish judge indicts 40 top Israel generals. The judge alleges that in 1933, Jews formed a terrorist organisation in neighboring Poland aimed at exterminating the German people. He further [...]

June 28

Heresy about DR Congo’s Mobutu

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Why there was never a South Korean but a Congolese miracle Let us present an alternative history of the world. The year is 1960 and we have two countries – Mexico and France – each with a per capita income of $100. Both countries have emerged from colonial rule, Mexico by neighboring Brazil, and France [...]

June 21

The trouble with Mbabazi’s candidacy

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In challenging Museveni, Mbabazi may have made his boldest political move ever but equally the most fatal one On Monday Amama Mbabazi declared his intentions to challenge President Yoweri Museveni for the leadership of the NRM and the country. The message launching his campaign was the most mature. He did not make scathing personal attacks [...]