The Investigator - THE MWENDA SELLOUT

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Shocking Details of how State Agents Paid NTV for an Advertorial and Hired Andrew Mwenda to Defend President Museveni’s Regime 

By Team Investigator

On Tuesday 10 December, Andrew Mwenda appeared on NTV news night (as he usually does) to analyze the passing of South African icon Nelson Mandela. The bizarre aspect of it was that this time, he was not live from the television studio itself but appeared via Skype because he was out of the country.

Mwenda’s Skype appearance where he compared Nelson Mandela to Museveni has since left Ugandans puzzled as to why the NTV news team never brought in someone else to make the analysis about the fallen hero.

It has since emerged clearly that Mwenda was hired by the state to appear on the NTV program that is fully paid by the state to spin a positive analysis in favor of President Museveni.

We have been told that the state agents led by a youthful minister bought airtime on NTV and entered into a deal with the management to allow Mwenda who also had a separate arrangement, to spin emerging stories in favor of the Museveni regime.

We have been told that this program is designated as an advertorial is paid separately from what Mwenda gets as a guest speaker.

This explains why Mwenda is unnecessarily recycled even when it’s vivid that he is at times not required to appear on certain issues that require a technocrat. For instance viewers were surprised to see Mwenda talk about Umeme issues instead of an insider from the company.

But wonder no more, because Mwenda was paid to appear on that news segment.  Although it appears like a pain for the news anchors to engage the same person daily, they do it out of obligation because it reeks in millions from the state.

The Mega Deal

Our sources also intimated that Mwenda’s deal could have been much bigger than what is paid to NTV because he took his time before he agreed to whitewash President Museveni’s regime. A hitherto bitter Museveni critic, Mwenda engaged the state agents in protracted negotiations which took months.

Mwenda was tactical enough to impose an impression to Museveni’s agents that he was taking a greater risk by appearing to defend the Museveni regime everyday on national television.  He also cited the fact that the public was going to be hostile to his change of stance to the regime that he used to bash.

News of Mwenda’s defection to the Museveni camp started doing rounds during the controversial oil saga where some senior Ugandan ministers including the powerful Foreign Affairs Minister and in-law of President Museveni Hon Sam Kuteesa, Prime Minister Hon Patrick Amama Mbabazi and Internal Affairs Minister, Hilary Onek were implicated in taking bribes worth millions of dollars from an oil firm.

The report which was controversially read on the floor of Parliament by the young FDC MP Hon Gerald Karuhanga raised eyebrows but Mwenda was at the forefront of defending the culprits by alleging that the report was a forgery.

At that time, Mwenda was featuring on a morning radio show at one of Kampala’s based urban English speaking radios, Capital FM.

Mwenda’s views had a lot of effect on the general public that had been convinced about the veracity of the oil report and from that point on, some state agents started courting him to start doing some work for President Museveni.

It’s believed that Mwenda first refused to take part in the deal by arguing that his conscience was not clear about defending the criminal activities of President Museveni’s 27 year reign.

But he was reminded of the public relations work he was doing for Rwandese President Paul kagame. “Is Kagame more democratic than Museveni,” Mwenda was asked in one of the earlier meetings that took place in the late night at Serena hotel.

 But Mwenda reasoned that Kagame could be a dictator but he agreed to work for him because he was bringing benefits to the table. He was then asked to outline what the Rwandese President was delivering.

The Benefits

And out came the adverts which amount to more than 8 pages in every edition of The Independent monthly magazine which is owned by Andrew Mwenda himself.

It was at this point that the state agents calculated the amount of money Mwenda gets from Rwanda that they realized how much they would pay. With each color page rated at Shs8m, it means that Rwanda pays Mwenda about 48 million per edition of the paper.

Upon seeing that the figure was too big the state agents told Mwenda that they were back to consultations because the money involved was too much.

But having realized the PR work Mwenda has done for Rwandese President Paul kagame, some shrewd agents of the state that include a new youthful minister agreed to give Mwenda what he wanted.

After two weeks of consulting, the two parties met again at Munyonyo Resort Hotel where they agreed to strike a deal.

It was agreed that the state would hire a program that would feature at every news item of the night where Mwenda was supposed to be tasked by the news anchor about the socio economic and political questions of the day.

He was then briefed about the payment plan which was to be done on foreign currency account at standard chartered bank. Mwenda was also promised total immunity from state censorship of his newspaper, The Independent magazine.

It’s believed that the deal was too fat and juicy for Mwenda to refuse.

The PR Job

He has since been on NTV news night praising President Museveni and his policies including those he had opposed in the earlier days. And indeed during the Skype news analysis, Mwenda likened the Late Mandela to Museveni and also retracted his earlier opposition to presidential term limits by arguing that he had just realized that all the Asian tiger nations developed because of the leaders (he obviously quoted Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew) who had ruled for more than 30 years on the trot.

Mwenda also exposed his sellout status when  he said that ‘’there is no Muhoozi project in 2016 and that may be Janet Museveni would make a strong candidate if President Museveni is not contesting’’.

From that time people have been murmuring about Mwenda being a sellout but have had no concrete information to confirm their fears. We can now confirm that the man who vocally opposed Museveni’s regime is a hired gun who no longer speaks his mind.

He has also embarked on his job by attacking Museveni’s political rivals like ErIas Lukwago, Kiiza Beisgye and Gen David Sejjusa.

Mwenda who used to admire Kiiza Beisgye and Gen David Sejjusa (he used to host them often on KFM talk show with a lot of admiration) has now turned the guns against them castigating them for opposing Museveni.  

 The Facts

Mwenda has been a very close friend and consultant of Rwandese President Paul Kagame whom he has consistently whitewashed with intellectual arguments and defending polices and methods of work of the Rwandese government.

In turn, the Rwandese government has benefited from Mwenda’s propaganda which has portrayed President Kagame as a performer. Without the PR work of Andrew Mwenda, it is possible that Kagame would have appeared like a true despot.

But it has been paradoxical that while Mwenda has been praising Kagame, he has been hostile to President Museveni. He however used his close proximity with the Rwandese leader to reconcile him with Museveni.

 It’s not clear how long the PR project with the Ugandan government will run but rumors have put it at May 2016 immediately after the end of the presidential elections.

 But otherwise the deal seems to have changed the life of Andrew Mwenda to such an extent that he is always traveling on a daily basis-which is why he is now forced to work using Skype.

 Who is Andrew Mwenda?  

The name Andrew Mwenda needs no introduction.

He is one of the most notable and probably the most famous and experienced Ugandan journalists in the country having started work in 1994 with the Monitor newspaper. He prides in being one of the top 100 global thinkers and fellow of Stanford University. 

He however made his name by bashing the government of President Yoweri Museveni. He became very famous when he published the family tree of  Museveni and recounted the President’s relatives who have jobs in government. He also made a name when he famously called President Museveni a villager, a failure and coward who doesn’ t deserve to rule Uganda arguing that he (Mwenda) could make a better president.

This created a frosty relationship between him and the first family leading to his eventual dismissal from his former job at nation media group where he worked as a political editor at The Monitor newspaper and  talk show host at KFM radio.

Mwenda then accused President Museveni of having coerced the Agha Khan to expel him from the nation media group of companies; they have since had a love-hate relationship.

During the earlier days, Mwenda had cut a figure as a celebrated journalist who championed the cause of his countrymen by enduring  jail and harassment from the state for exposing the ills of Museveni’s government.

His shining star was always in tandem with the aspirations of the masses who considered him as one of the vocal voices for the voiceless Ugandans by exposing the rot in government. But having initially made a name out of bashing President Museveni and his family, he is now making another name by defending the same Museveni and his family that he used to despise.

Edited by Almeidah Karemani