East Africa

Mwenda attacks Lukwago, praises Kigali, Kagame wife


Senior journalist Andrew Mwenda has once again drawn a social media frenzy after attacking Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago for sabotaging progress of Kampala city.

“Last night walking in Kigali felt like I was in a first world city,” Mwenda wrote.

He continued: “Shame on Lukwago blocking progress in Kampala.”

The remark was not received well by social media enthusiasts especially those who sympathise with the Lord Mayor.

Some told off the journalist that he ought to relocate to Rwanda and stop wasting their time.

They argued that Lukwago has been at Kampala Capital City Authority for only two years while President Yoweri Museveni who Mwenda should be attacking, has been here for 30 years.

“Andrew Mwenda is like this village boy who visits the city and finds electricity, TV, radio and then calls a shamba boy and abuses him for not providing the same back home,” an enraged critic lashed out.

But the undeterred journalist in his article titled: “Fight over misguided objectives”, writes thus: “Our country has a road network of 68,000km. These include national trunk roads, district roads, streets in cities and towns and community roads under sub counties. It costs Uganda about $800,000 to build a kilometer of tarmac road.”

He said Uganda has only 4,200km of tarmac roads, therefore, if Uganda were to tarmac the rest of her road network (63,800km) it would need $51 billion.

“This financial year, our total budget is $5.4 billion. Even if there was zero corruption, it would take Uganda 10 years of its entire budget going to road construction alone for us to have tarmac roads everywhere. Simply put, Uganda is too poor to pay for good roads.”

Alluding to Kigaliand sharing pictures of a shining city, Mwenda appealed to the people of Uganda to stop quarrelling and make Kampala look “this great like Kigali”.

Mwenda moved on to explain that even a garbage can looks great.

Insults, arguments and counterarguments then followed.

Praises Kagame wife

The journalist then picked up a new topic; President Paul Kagame’s wife.

This is the story:

“Today I went entered the restaurant at the future Marriott hotel in Kigali and there was Jeannette Kagame, the First Lady of Rwanda seated with friends as any other ordinary person – so no airs, no security – just an ordinary citizen of Rwanda drinking coffee with friends.

I sat next to her and asked to take a picture of her to show the world how an ordinary life she leads. She refused telling me: “I don’t do this for public consumption. It is my life and I don’t want it publicized.”

I told her that many people think African leaders and their First Ladies prefer oversized lifestyles of opulence and power and this picture shows the exact opposite. I need it to debunk these prejudices purveyed by many in the outside Africa and accepted by African elites. She refused.

Now I can tell this story without a picture, which is sad. But I know if it was Obama or Cameron or their wives, this would have been done in full view of the cameras so that the world can know. Then I realized that we have false impressions of western leaders because they know how to shape perceptions. And we have bought their story line, hook and sinker.”

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