Observer Interview with Andrew Mwenda
Sunday, 19 January 2014 22:48
So, Mwenda today; stirring a storm and stalking controversy in your wake; now there is all this noise cry and hue of how you have changed, been compromised, etc...
I should tell you, Simon, that I am a keen follower of many of my critics. I find them shallow and stupid; so, I forgive them for it. Because if I made an argument and you replied by attacking me personally that I have been bribed, I immediately write you off. It means you do not have a point to make.
It is something I learnt from Bertrand Russel when I was a young boy of 12 years in his unpopular essay where he says, “If a man makes an argument and you reply by attacking their personality, it means you do not have a point to make.”
Because if I say this, you must respond to my argument and show why it’s either right or wrong and where I am defective. I should tell you, I went on NTV and made an argument that Museveni and Kagame have made the same reconciliatory gestures as Nelson Mandela did and a guy called Albert Omara or something like that, made an argument and changed my mind on the view I held. The guy criticized me and I agreed with his criticism of me.
There is a guy called Omoros, when he is not angry, he always goes on The Independent website below my column and makes comments. I go there and only reply to him and a few others because he disagrees with me, but out of principle.
But most of these who make these attacks... they are just demonstrating to me that they are stupid and therefore don’t deserve any respect from me. And I realized that they did not study well, perhaps they have very low levels of IQ, or they are not properly bred; because I should tell you that within the intellectual community within which I live, if a person makes an argument, whatever personal feelings that you may have, if you go personal, it’s considered beneath contempt.
If they are extremely incompetent and they are working closely with me or extremely dense. I get extremely worked up by dense people.
And your teetotaller stance?
Once in a while I will drink a glass of wine. I am not the type that goes to bars; my best moment is to get a friend of mine who I consider very thoughtful like on a Sunday when I go to visit Mahmood Mamdani and his wife and we sit at his home and begin philosophising about complex global issues. For me the best moment is to be with a person who is very thoughtful and to find that person challenging to my ideas or adding value.
I should tell you, 95 per cent of the Ugandans I interact with, I think they are very shallow and they need to be [back in]schools. I am also attracted to unique ideas, not the mainstream ideas like Oh Mandela was a hero, oh democracy is a very good thing. No. I am very questioning of received wisdom. Even if you told me about god, I am very questioning of God.
Would you be considered to believe in God?
No, I don’t believe in God.
You are a very flashy guy, dresses expensively, lives in a great house, drives a wonderful car; one wouldn’t be wrong to refer to you as a rich man; other than your known business with that news magazine, what else brings bread on your table?
First of all, I do not involve in business for money. I don’t have an appetite for money, I have tried to acquire the appetite but I have failed. First of all, I have access to key influential people in government, presidents in this region, ministers and others.
People come to me, tell me problems they have and want me to fix their businesses. I have helped foreign companies that had lost contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to get their contracts reinstated. They always say, you are going to help us what is your consideration? I always tell them, I am going to do this because I believe the business you are going to do is good for the country/ region. And I have never taken even one dollar.
No businessman can say Andrew Mwenda took one dollar because he helped me get a contact or a deal which he had been denied of $200 million to 300. I am told everyone else would demand one per cent.
So, I would have made a lot of money. I am involved only in those businesses where I have a curiosity. I want to learn or I have a passion, I want to practice it.
Now like I am involved in media business, The Independent. I am involved in the airtime business with friends; we have boda boda business that offers loans to boda boda riders. I am also involved in education business because of my interest in education, derived from my father’s interest in education. I am also partially involved in a logistics business.
Articles by Andrew Mwenda's critics
Andrew Mwenda’s atheistic big bang solution to the D.R.Congo makes it to the New York times…Why? The USA loves intellectuals who can make obscurantist analyses that disguise their evil skirmishes in DR.Congo. They love Intellectuals like Mwenda that have the ‘skill’ to portray the D.R Congo Confusion as an essentially domestic one.
How American Neo-liberal elites sophisticatedly use their intellectual antics to legitimize USA client state dictatorships : American neo-liberal elite Andrew Mwenda stealthily blames Museveni’s dictatorship on the opposition .