It is easy to scoff at Independent boss Andrew Mwenda, once a celebrated Museveni gadfly, who these days sounds more and more like an apologist slowly making his way to a full all reconciliation with the government he once rabidly criticised.
In the Capital FM Andrew Mwenda Minute every week day 7:45am, Mwenda can be heard more often than not defending a position taken by government on a ‘hot topic.’ In my listening minutes, I have heard Mwenda argue that our social security fund (NSSF) is being run alright and it is a big mistake for its investment projects to be subject to public scrutiny and question. I have heard him argue that what Uganda really needs is a strong, determined, ruthless Big Man who can impose order and development instead of always wasting time and money bribing opinion leaders and Members of Parliament to push through projects that are ‘developmental for the whole country.’
I have heard Mwenda, this once famed advocate for justice, fairness, the poorest of the poor and those who have no voice of their own that can be heard reach vitriolic levels of demanding that these same people can be kicked out of estates originally built for low income earners like ...estate. His argument being that Uganda can get nowhere with those riff-raff impending the development of those areas-let us first build a stable middle class and then we can take care of the poor.
A journalist by training, by passion, by calling, I have heard Andrew Mwenda decry, on the Capital FM Andrew Mwenda Minute the state of the media in Uganda today. In his arguments, heavily laced with venom, rubbish all in the media today (except maybe for himself) as poor imitations of the original glorious luminaries like Charles Onyango-Obbo and Conrad Nkutu. Saying the current editors and journalists that man the stations in media houses are, “poorly read, irresponsible, cheap popularity seekers,” who do not have the mental capacity to fully appreciate the import of the matters they are writing and reporting on. He has gone on to argue that they are so poor, most if not all of them, are still paying rent and busy enriching landlords, that is why they are deluded and bitter.
Andrew Mwenda is hard to listen to these days.
But a whole nation is listening. This is Capital FM, and many, countless millions of listeners are probably listening to this Andrew Mwenda for the first time. The only Mwenda they know.
That is my biggest fear. That the ‘best’ minds, the ones that originally listened to the Mwenda of KFM during the Andrew Mwenda Show are tuning out. They are so easily writing off Mwenda as a sell out, a Judas Iscariot, and they are better things to do than pay attention to this Basil Bataringaya who because his mother is black and he is brown, rabidly denies her.
I urge you not to tune out. I urge you even more not to sit back with folded hands and leave Mwenda be with his opinions unchallenged. This is the most remarkable public transformation of a mind we may yet ever see in our lifetime from selfless to selfish, degree by gradual degree and it is important to document all the stages of decay. The Mwenda of 2001 unable to recognise the Mwenda of 2011, just as once Mwenda used to drive the Museveni of 2001 to distraction reminding him of the Museveni of 1986.
A whole nation is listening to Andrew Mwenda, oh what a sweet tongue he has, don’t let his be the only voice.