Andrew Mwenda


Being the most prominent journalist in Uganda is a little like having the best arm in the New York Mets’ bullpen–the honor is a poisoned chalice if ever there was one. But in a country where reporters are customarily bought off, threatened, or shunned by public officials, Andrew Mwenda is someone unique: a figure larger than most of the people he covers. Mornings, Mwenda’s byline appears in Uganda’s main independent newspaper, where he routinely exposes stories of government skullduggery and scandal. Evenings, he conducts a rollicking political talk show on a popular radio station, hosting everyone from shady generals to exiled presidents to Western visitors like foreign aid activist Jeffrey Sachs. In the hours in between, Mwenda can be seen holding court beneath a shady tree at an outdoor Indian restaurant in downtown Kampala, attired in a tailored suit, trading gossip and spouting opinions. Imagine Bob Woodward and Chris Matthews wrapped into one diminutive, thirtysomething, hyperactive, pipsqueak-voiced package, and you start to get the idea. When the Ugandan police came to arrest Mwenda last week, on charges of sedition, a lot of his friends wondered, “What took them so long?”…

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