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BBNAC Program | 2nd Biennial Buganda Bumu North American Convention May 26 – 29, 2017

Uganda Diaspora - 10 hours 10 min ago

BBNAC 2017 Convention highlights…

Chief guests, Katikkiro, Charles Peter Mayiga accompanied by Princess Joan Nassolo Tebattagwabwe will lead a big delegation from Buganda Kingdom, Uganda

Friday May 26, 2017:

  • Youth Tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) facility – 3:00PM to 5:00PM
  • Youth meeting with Katikkiro, Charles Peter Mayiga and Princess Joan Nassolo Tebattagwabwe between – 6:00 -7:00PM

Saturday May 27, 2017: (Start at 8:00AM)

  • Welcoming ceremony. Omumbejja Joan Nassolo Tebattagwabwe introduced by the Katikkiro and requested to open the ceremony. Omumbejja Tebattageabwe will deliver

Ssaabasajja Kabaka message.

  • Youth – Breaking Barriers Community Development Forum: “Strengthening the Ugandan Community Diaspora through Cultural Identification and Unification – ” John Ssemanda, Coordinator
  • Presentation on Essence of our clans
  • Presentations by experts about teaching our children to speak Luganda
  • Eby’obulamu (Health & Wellness Promotion) and highlights from the Medical Mission which took place at Nakaseke Bulemeze from April 3 – 7, 2017
  • Wealth Creation and Financial Planning –
    Learn more:

Sunday May 28, 2017: (Start at 9:00AM)

  • Youth panel discussion on the evolution of education and on ways of exploring professional career paths – John Ssemanda, Coordinator
  • Youth tour of Martin Luther King Memorial Center. The tour is free.
  • Emirimu gya Kabaka Foundation ne Nnaabagereka Development Foundation
  • Buganda Land Board – Ensonga z’Ettaka
  • Royal Dinner and key note speech by the Katikkiro, Charles Peter Mayiga

Live entertainment by different artists – (Isaiah Katumwa, Saava Karim, Viboyo, Lwaasa and Annet Nandujja.  DJ Clein & DJ Bernarzo all on venue; the choice will be yours to make!

VENUE: The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North 
7 Concourse Parkway NE. Atlanta, GA 30328, United States Phone: (1)(770) 395-3900

(Group rate with breakfast every day at $109 single; double $124 and triple $139) Please mention Agaliawamu Atlanta or BBNAC

Current Registration fees 
Adults (18+) $230; Youth (11-17) $120; Children (under10) $70 and free for children 4 years and younger.

Organized by Agaliawamu Atlanta

Registered attendees are entitled to:

  • All meetings, performances and entertainment
  • Buffet lunch on Saturday
  • Royal gala dinner on Sunday
  • Discounted hotel room rates with Breakfast
  • Free hotel packing
Emmanuel Wasswa Kivumbi (781) 929-5758 Samuel Kiggwe (404) 578-8674 Dr. Sarah Matovu (478) 390-6629 Wycliffe Lule-Musoke (908) 591-9965 Moses Mayanja (206) 387-6602


Limit X — Live In The Timeless Concert | Friday April 28th 2017 – Kampala Serena Hotel

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 05:58

Limit X The Reunion — Whereas Limit X is one of the greatest musical exports from Uganda having toured and performed in over 50 countries around the world, Uganda has never truly had a Limit X experience.

Background: In 1989, the group moved to London, England and changed their name to Limit X as their music expanded to new frontiers. Since the unlimited power of God had been so evident in their own lives, the name change meant that there was no limit for what they could do for God. They quickly became one of the most prominent African gospel music groups in the world. The group was a household name in the early 90/2000’s, not only in Uganda but worldwide.

They were known for songs such as Malibongwe (Come To Me), Clap your Hands, Miracle, among others. Limit X was among the first African gospel acts to have international impact and more so in Britain and the US where they won awards in the 90’s and their music hit in the clubs and radio. After a 15year hiatus, we are pleased to announce that Limit X is finally coming back for a reunion concert! This show will be hosted at the Kampala Serena Hotel on Friday the 28th of April beginning at 6pm.

The concert comes in appreciation of all Limit X fans and well-wishers over the years, a great reason to celebrate! Guests are invited to what’s going to be a unique experience filled loads of entertainment from way back…. A portion of the proceeds from this show will go to support the free distribution of a book by Dennis Sempebwa (Limit X) to teenagers all around. The book titled “Timeless Truths” contains 300 enduring Proverbs for this generation.

Buy tickets Here —

Life Stories | A Ugandan Student’s Tale Living Through Xenophobia Attacks In South Africa

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 09:28

Life stories — “I am not being rude I just want to understand why you Africans come all the way from your countries and just don’t stay in your homes countries?” asks a very frustrated but patient and inquisitive black South African female friend.

“South Africa is not special,” I reply. This fuels her rebuttal even more while we sit in the shade of a balcony at a barbecue (also referred to as braai) that we are attending after church. In hindsight, the curiosity, discomfort and apprehension in the air hilariously contradicts the spirit of this gathering as Christians.

For those who are not in the know, xenophobia is an intense dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries. This does not necessarily mean that it is a black-on-black phobia. In actuality, there have been reports of growing xenophobic incidents in Europe due to right-wing extremism targeting the Polish communities in the United Kingdom, following Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU), otherwise referred to as BREXIT.

As a Ugandan living and studying in Cape Town, I am an outsider and, sadly, this is something I have not been allowed to forget. It is heartbreaking to discover that in the past two years, xenophobic-fueled violence has claimed lives and destroyed property in communities across South Africa (SA). Between January 2015 and 2017, close to 70 people have died, over 100 assaulted, more than 600 shops looted and over 10,000 people displaced due to these xenophobic attacks. Since official figures are not released by the South African Police Service (SAPS), these numbers are based on media reports alone, which are most likely an underestimate of the total number of victims.

In the same breath, l must admit that since I’ve lived here for more than two years, the majority of my friends are South Africans. Being a very curious and inquisitive person, my nature has gotten me into a few sticky situations with the citizens of this rainbow nation, so it comes as no surprise that I find myself in a heated debate at a braai with a group of students and working class individuals – especially those who the country has categorized as black.

So, who exactly is to blame, I asked them?

Some point to the media as an accomplice in fueling the conflict. According to a government-commissioned report released in April last year, “The failure of media houses to contextualize the violent occurrences sent shockwaves across the country and around the world”. The report released the findings from an investigation into the causes and consequences of the 2015 xenophobic attacks in the KwaZulu-Natal province. For one, I personally hold the South African media accountable for the sensational reporting  that resulting in the fear mongering. Yet, one can also speculate that perhaps that might be an unforgiving criticism, considering that it is their job to keep the masses educated and informed.

Others mentioned law enforcement and government officials were at fault. In my opinion, it is the South African Government, and provincial administrations, who have a constitutional obligation to protect the human dignity and safety of asylum seekers, refugees, economic migrants and all those living in the nation. Through further research, l found that a probe headed by Judge Navi Pillay, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), took more than seven months in 2016 compiling shortcomings of law enforcement agencies that contributed to tensions between locals and foreigners. Despite these revelations and reports, it has not eased the anger of the nationals in other countries. According to the Department of International Relations in SA, Nigerian nationals allegedly retaliated by attacking the offices of a South African companies during an anti-xenophobic protest in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.

So why do citizens from other African nations head to South Africa?

At the dawn of the “new South Africa” in 1994, Mzansi became a refuge to many outsiders, offering protection and asylum to anyone who was suffering in unfavourable conditions in their home country. Much like those countries had played key roles in offering fleeing South Africans a safe haven when they were hunted during the apartheid regime. A study by the SA Institute of Race Relations found that South Africa has more undocumented immigrants than wealthier countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany. In between mouthfuls of meat and salad l point out the word ubuntu – which, l found out, is just one part of the Zulu phrase “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”. The idiom literally means that a person is a person through other people, this is where the idea that communities form the building blocks of a greater society.

South Africa really is not unique. The world is a global village, and people migrate to different countries looking for better social and economic opportunities. Even Uganda sees a multitude of refugees from South Sudan, Somalia and Burundi who are fleeing the current civil unrest in their countries.

From a distance, the discussion could have resembled a verbal confrontation on the verge of exploding, however, it was a healthy debate that was only fueled by irritation and frustration that is felt by the historically and financially disadvantaged majority of South Africans, who just happen to be black.

And so inspite of all the facts and anecdotes that l’ve pointed out, it still does nothing to mitigate the discomfort and isolation that l have experienced with having to sit in multiple rooms and social settings with a group of black South Africans confidently speaking their language and forgetting to accommodate me (not necessarily out of malice but out of habit). The debate ended but the questions lingered: who is to blame for xenophobia in South Africa?

Banz The African Instagram: @ emibanz Email:

Tour & Travel | Why Ugandans Top As Kenya Main Tourists Source Market

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 08:02
By EDGAR R.BATTE — Uganda is one of Kenya’s top tourist source markets from Africa, and with a huge potential to post more arrivals into the country. Figures provided by the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) indicate that at the close of 2016, the market recorded a remarkable growth of 75.7 per cent increase in air arrivals closing at 51,023 up from 29,038 recorded in 2015 exclusive of cross border arrivals.

While making a presentation in Kampala, KTB’s chief executive officer (CEO), Dr Betty Radier said one of the factors contributing to the growth of Ugandan tourists to Kenya is that Uganda has much lower barriers to travel as compared to other key markets.

One of the contributing factors for the growth was a consumer campaign in Uganda from March to June last year that generated 15 million impressions on social network platforms of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under the campaing dubbed ‘Tugende Kenya’ spearheaded to interest more Ugandans in visiting Kenya. “An East Africa media familiarisation trip undertaken in April 2016 under Midterm strategic Plan (MSP) created a lot of interest and awareness and a Return on Investment (ROI) of approximately Kshs14 million (about Shs500m). The Kenya coast is also highly favoured for relaxation while Nairobi remains popular for business, shopping and social scenes,” Dr Radier explains. One of the business operators at the coast, Titus Kangangi, the CEO of Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa, attests that Diani, on the south coast of Mombasa, remains one of the favourite destinations for Ugandans owing to beach weddings.

“Uganda is a very important source market for us and that is why we take part in expos like the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE). We would like to further grow our numbers. Ugandans are fun-loving and we are marketing beach weddings to them, especially in Diani which has been rated as the best beach destination in Africa,” Kangangi explains. He adds: “After attending the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo in 2015, as Diani Reef, we have hosted groups that have come for weddings and military training and hosted all the Ugandan military troupe. We hosted more than 300 Ugandans as a unit that year and the number keeps growing. I know more Ugandans stayed in other facilities on the coast.”

KTB assistant regional manager Fiona Ngesa says Ugandans travel to Kenya for holiday followed by business and conferences, mainly in Nairobi. Shopping is growing steadily with Two Rivers Malls, one of the biggest malls in Africa. And bizarre as it may sound, Ms Ngesa also lists medical tourism as also growing with Uganda making up 28 per cent of total medical tourists travelling to Kenya. During the opening of the POATE dinner, Uganda’s Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, said many Ugandans dream of visiting Kenya in their lifetime and called for a need for Kenyans to reciprocate by visiting Uganda.

Mombasa is a favourite destination for many because of its spectacular sandy beaches, rare marine life, diverse wildlife and a rich cultural heritage with a wide offering of activities for all ages, and beautiful weather all year round. That is besides the safari excursions to the Masai Mara, weddings and honeymoon and the 500 kilometres of coastline that stretches from Lamu in the North through Malindi, Watamu and Mombasa. Ngesa says an average of $1,700 for a three to five days’ holiday is spent by Ugandans. Globally, Uganda is fourth source market for Kenya. The latest figures by KTB indicate that the top five performing markets based on air arrivals as of close of 2016 are USA with 97,883 tourists followed by UK at 96,404, India at 64,116, Uganda at 51,023 and China at 47,860 tourists.

Trends show that the number of Ugandans visiting Kenya has been gradually growing in the last decade except for the period between 2013 and 2015 when tourism in Kenya and the region suffered a lot owing to terror attacks. “However in 2016, Uganda as a source market registered a remarkable recovery of 75 per cent closing at 51,023 on air arrivals alone. The figures are much higher when cross border numbers are included,” Ngesa observes. This is partly due to lack of language barrier, short physical, psychological and cultural distances from Kenya and regional integration initiatives like the use of IDs and resident permits. At the POATEC, KTB launched the a tourism campaign dubbed “Tugende Kenya- Take a break” (Let’s go to Kenya) campaign in Uganda encouraging regional visitors to travel for short breaks and experience the amazing destinations that Kenya has to offer.

On reverse visits, of Kenyans to Uganda, Ngesa argues that Kenya is one of the biggest outbound market in Africa hence there should be a very good number of Kenyans going to Uganda. Unforturnately no figures are available to quote on how many Kenyan tourists visit Uganda. Besides, Kenya and Uganda have been trade partners for decades and travels between the two countries are a constant mainly for business. Solomy Ateenyi, a traveller, argues that Ugandans visit Kenya because KTB does more advertisements than Uganda’s marketing body, Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) does. She also observes that tours in Kenya are cheaper compared to Uganda’s.

Edris Kisambira, the managing director at Africa Uzuri Safaris, says Uganda has not yet taken marketing seriously and that can be seen in terms of the funding accorded to UTB, which he observes is also understaffed for it to be able to carry out its marketing role efficiently and effectively. UTB has a budget in the range of Shs15 billion, which when compared to KTB’s Shs168 billion, is peanuts. Tour operator and traveller Geoffrey Baluku roots for a national carrier as a big lesson it can pick from Kenya which can be able to determine flow of tourists. Uganda has taken some lessons and reduced its tourists’ visas after burning its fingers in the face of Rwanda and Kenya who charged $30 and $50. Abiaz Rwamwiri, the director of Africa Wild, a tour company, says UTB needs to be supported to reach more consumers just like KTB is able to.

He argues: “This requires application of modern branding techniques and effective positioning strategies which are costly both in terms of finance and manpower.” Uganda has self-marketing tourism products, including mountain gorillas, a variety of bird species, stunning landscapes, rich culture and more. But it will take more than marketing to realise numbers well over 1.3 million annual visitors to Uganda. Th pricing of safaris remains costly. Rwamwiri quotes an average safari to Uganda that lasts 10 days costing in the range of $2,000 per person.

Source — Daily Monitor

Death Announcement | Penny Jakana Passes On April 19th 2017 in Seattle, Washington State – Join The Fundraising Campaign Below

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 06:57

Our dear friend, sister, daughter, mother and wife Penny Jakana, went to be with the Lord on April 19th 2017 after losing her battle with lung cancer. She is survived by 3 wonderful children and will be dearly missed by each one of us and especially her husband Alex.

We invite you to support our dear friend financially by contributing towards Penny’s funeral expenses and final journey home in Uganda. All funds raised through the GO FUND ME campaign will go directly to Alex Jakana. Thank you for your generosity and God bless your hearts as we stand together with the family. To make a contribution follow the link below.

Alex Jakana and his family relocated to Seattle, Washington State last after joining the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously Alex worked with the BBC Network Africa and Radio One in Uganda.

To the Ugandan community and well wishers in Seattle a Memorial service will be held at   9051 132nd Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98033, USA Date- Wednesday April 26th 2017 Time- 1pm Pacific Time RSVP – Senyimba Samuel contact – +1 206-910-1228  REST IN PEACE PENNY!

Investors | Hundreds Protest in Uganda Capital Against Chinese Traders

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 01:57

Chinese national Wei Kun adjusts a display as he waits for customers at his shoe shop in Kampala, Uganda. Years of growing animosity at Chinese traders turned into a protest by hundreds in Uganda’s capital on Wednesday April 19, 2017 against what local businesses called unfair competition, while the mayor warned against the tensions turning into xenophobic attacks. (AP Photo/Stephen Wandera-File) (The Associated Press)

KAMPALA, Uganda –  Hundreds of traders in Uganda’s capital are protesting what they call unfair competition from Chinese investors operating retail businesses.

The protest Wednesday is backed by Kampala’s mayor and other local officials.

Many shops in downtown Kampala have been shuttered by their owners. Some of them have taken to the streets carrying placards urging Chinese traders to leave the country.

Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago says the government must protect local traders to prevent the protests from escalating into xenophobic attacks against foreign traders.

Many Ugandans accuse Chinese traders of moving to the East African country as serious investors but then setting up businesses in petty trade.

Lukwago says many of the Chinese retailers sell their products at competitive prices after benefiting from tax holidays.

Source — Fox News

Embassies | What Uganda Spends On Missions Abroad

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:19

PARLIAMENT- Uganda’s embassy in Bujumbura (Burundi) is second to that in New York in terms of budget allocation, an analysis of the Foreign Affairs medium term expenditure framework book indicates.

According to the book, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated Shs8.9b to the Bujumbura Mission, coming second to New York with Shs18.b. They are followed by Washington, US (Shs7.3b), England (Shs6.3b), Belgium (Shs6.2b), Geneva, Switzerland (Shs6.7b), Italy (Shs5b), France (Shs5.1b) and China (Shs5.2b) budget allocations.

The Mombasa consulate is the least allocated with just Shs979m, but its parent mission in Nairobi is allocated Shs3.5b, totaling to Shs4.5b for Kenya. The Mission in South Sudan will be facilitated better than the ones in South Africa (Shs2.6b), Nigeria (Shs2.6b), Egypt (Shs2.6b), Malaysia (Shs2.8b), Saudi Arabia (Shs2.8b), Iran (Shs2.5b) and Sudan (Shs2.3b).

The head of public diplomacy in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms Margaret Kafeero, told Sunday Monitor that Uganda has 35 Missions abroad, which will share slightly more than Shs154b. The money is supposed to, among other things, mobilise Ugandans in the diaspora to contribute to the development of Uganda and drum up public relations for the country in an attempt to attract foreign investments and tourism.

The main aspects in the budgets include wage bill, specialised activities and development budget (renovation, management or construction of buildings), which according to Ms Kafeero, form basis for the allocations.

In October last year, Uganda opened the consulate in Mombasa, Kenya’s main coastal town, to facilitate economic interests in the area coupled by a growing population of Ugandans doing business there.

Currently, 90 per cent of Ugandan cargo (exports and imports) goes through Mombasa port. According to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Uganda continued to dominate the transit market share with her cargo at the port growing by 8.2 per cent from 5.522 million tonnes in 2014 to 5.977 million tonnes in 2015.

Ms Kafeero said this explains the small funding to the Mombasa Mission but with time, its budget will be scaled up, as long as the Consular General [head of the consul), currently Phillip Tayebwa Katureebe, can show justification for it. The Mission in Nairobi serves as both a multilateral (for UN agencies) and bilateral station for engagements with Kenya.

The budget for the Juba (South Sudan) mission is also scaled to Shs3.5b, better than several other Missions, because Uganda wants to construct a permanent chancery (embassy building). The cost of living in Juba, Ms Kafeero explained, is also high compared to other places such as South Africa.

Rent and public relations
Ms Kafeero said increasingly, there are attempts to put more emphasis on commercial diplomacy that largely involves selling the country abroad through various promotional activities.

Shs2b is to be spent by the 35 missions on advertisement and public relations, some of the money will be spent on publicising promotion of Uganda’s trade, tourism, education and investment.

The New York mission has the highest budget for advertisement and public relations at Shs851m.

Shs58m of it will be spent on promotion of trade and tourism and the remaining will be spent on promoting Security Council services and cooperation frameworks. New York is followed by the Mission in Beijing (China), with Shs210m, Shs200m of which is to be spent on promotion of tourism and trade and Shs10m will be spent on promotion and advertising consular services.

The Ankara (Turkey) mission comes third with Shs111m and all of it is spent on promoting and advertising cooperation frameworks.

Saudi Arabia is the least allocated in terms of advertisements and public relations with just Shs2.5m of which Shs500, 000 is to be spent on promoting tourism and trade and the rest on cooperation frameworks.

Rakai Woman MP Juliet Kyinyamatama , a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, said the ministry is not given the desired priority and most of the important items go unfunded.

“Those missions are badly underfunded and you realise that most of that little they get goes to paying rent.

What is even more urgent is that tuition for children of our diplomats is not provided for yet we expect them to sit out there and work comfortably. We need as Parliament to give the Foreign Affairs priority because it is the face of Uganda,” she observed.

According to the budget, rent to private entities is one of the items with the highest allocation at Shs31.7b with “occidental” (Western) Missions being the most expensive: New York (Shs1b), Geneva (Shs1.9b), France (Shs1.4b) and Italy (Shs1b).

Former shadow minister for foreign affairs and a former diplomat with 25 years of experience up his sleeves, Mr Wamai Wamanga (Mbale Municipality MP) said the rent bill is high because of government’s disinterest in getting mortgages and owning buildings abroad.

“Many countries buy property abroad and get mortgage from banks and interest rates are low. We have advised government to buy mortgages and they have never bought so we spend money on rent. Government does not even give education allowance for children of our officers. Uganda’s Foreign Service officers are the lowest paid in the region, he said.

Why we have missions

Purpose. Missions abroad are for three main purposes; economic/commercial, consular services and political cooperation. Some serve only one, two or all the three, which also partly explain their relevance and budget.

Some of the countries with which Uganda has big trade ties include East African countries, neighboring DR Congo, South Sudan and South Africa, European Union (EU) and in Asia, China and India.

The EU is Uganda’s second leading exports markets destination. Uganda coffee exports and flower exports to the bloc totaled up to $252 million (Shs851b) and $45 million (Shs15b) in 2015, respectively.

Expenditure. The embassy in Bujumbura (Burundi) will spend a big chunk of its money on development expenditure – construction of a chancery block.

The balance will be spent on promoting export of Ugandan products to Burundi, support regional peace effort in Burundi, promote regional integration and providing consular services to Ugandan nationals.

The New York Mission plans to spend its budget on purchasing a government property in New York, guide operations of the Mission for effective implementation of the Mission Charter, review the Mission Charter to reflect realistic targets and to effectively engage the diaspora in the tri-state areas of New York, New Jersey & Connecticut to interest them in investing back home.

The Mission in London (UK) plans to use its budget to link up Uganda tour operators with their counterparts in the UK, identify companies to undertake professional investment promotion activities to galvanise investment in Uganda, organise meetings with the business community in the UK about investing in Uganda and improving the state of the Ugandan properties in the United Kingdom.

A breakdown of Uganda’s expenditure on Missions abroad

New York









Saudi Arabia












South Africa


Source — Daily Monitor

Event | Lend A Hand Uganda USA Presents Night on the Nile to Benefit Vulnerable Children of Uganda In New York

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 04/19/2017 - 08:29

Lend A Hand Uganda USA (LAHU-USA) announces that its annual Night on the Nile will be held on Thursday, May 11 at the Scandinavia House in New York City. Celebrity performances include cabaret singer Natalie Douglas, the Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy, M’bira and Balaphone players, plus spoken word performances by students from the United Nations International School (UNIS). The proceeds will provide running water, sanitary bathrooms and daily lunch to Vulnerable pupils of the “ Mwerere Primary school” in Ugandan to help them learn and sustain brighter futures.

Night on the Nile to Benefit Vulnerable Children of Uganda

NEW YORK – April 11, 2017 – Lend a Hand Uganda USA (LAHU-USA) announces its upcoming Night on the Nile, an annual event to raise funds for the Mwerere Primary School in Uganda to bring running water and healthy lunch options to the. The event is slated for Thursday, May 11, 2016 at The Scandinavia House in New York City. The LAHU-USA Night on the Nile welcomes friends, supporters, sponsors, business owners, and U.N. dignitaries to an evening of food, drink, music, and entertainment. To attend, please visit

The Night on the Nile makes it possible for many at-risk children to find homes, receive education, and learn marketable skills. Harriet Zaffoni, founder of LAHU-USA and CEO of Harkiss Designs, a socially-conscious enterprise based in New York, explains, “Proceeds from the night are contributed to at-risk students in our adopted schools, helping maintain healthy conditions where learning can thrive.” Additionally, LAHU-USA helps fund and develop agricultural projects, such as growing mushrooms or raising rabbits for market, to allow families to become self-sustaining.

During the event, one of the two African Photo Safaris will be auctioned off.  Winners receive a package worth $6,000, including accommodations for two for 6 nights, meals and safari activities.  The cost of airfare and excursions are not included.  Raffle tickets can be purchased in exchange for a donation to LAHU-USA.  More information can be found at

The number of orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda stretches into the millions. Many children become orphaned by HIV/AIDS, extreme poverty, or domestic violence. Without homes, access to basic needs, or human rights, their survival is a daily struggle. Violent gangs, drug dealers, and human traffickers are constant dangers. Some at-risk children are as young as 5 years old.

LAHU-USA believes that every child has the right to health, education and hope for a brighter future, securing this reality only through the support of donations and fundraisers like the Night on the Nile.

For more information on the 2017 Night on the Nile, please visit

To purchase tickets or donate, please visit

Lend a Hand Uganda USA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in New York City. Contact Amy Noelle (, 866.312.9937, ext. 2).

Special Report | Queen of Katwe to Feature at IMF and World Bank 2017 Spring Meetings in Washington, DC, April 21-23, 2017.

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:02

Coach Robert Katende meets the International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde

Finance ministers and central bankers from around the globe are in Washington this week for meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. A Group of 20 meeting takes place on the sidelines. One such meeting will be held on April Wednesday 19th between 5:30 PM -6:30 PM at the IMF HQ1.

Coach Robert Katende and Phiona Mutesi at the IMF headquarters. Their Movie Queen of Katwe will be a featured film for the delegates at the Spring Meetings this week

There will be a featured Conversation with Ms. Phiona Mutesi (Queen of Katwe) Chess Champion, Inspiration for the Film Queen of Katwe and other guest speakers will include SABINA BHATIA, Assistant Director, Public Affairs division in the Communications Department of the IMF. Following the panel discussion there will be a special screening sponsored by Walt Disney for the film Queen of Katwe from 6:35 pm – 8:40 pm. We continue to celebrate Robert and Phiona Mutesi’s accomplishments abroad. IMF has also pledged to support Robert Katende’s work at SOM Chess Academy — 

About the Spring Meetings — World Bank Group (Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) each year bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness. Also featured are seminars, regional briefings, press conferences, and many other events focused on the global economy, international development, and the world’s financial system. This year’s Spring Meetings events will take place in Washington, DC, April 21-23, 2017.

Stella Nyanzi | Has Social Media Gone Haywire? By Nobert Mao

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 04/16/2017 - 08:35

By Norbert Mao — The arrest and incarceration of Dr Stella Nyanzi has grabbed international headlines. Many commentators say she has been sinned against more than she has sinned. The State is now groping in the dark as her international media coverage has turned her into a hot potato.

The government is damned if she is released and also damned if she remains in jail. They have now turned to mental institutions who are now tasked to examine Dr Nyanzi and determine whether she is of sound mind.

That is comical to put it mildly. Dr Stella Nyanzi is not mad. She is simply the personification of the trapped anguish of frustrated Ugandans who feel over-governed and under-served.

Dr Nyanzi’s vitriolic rhetoric brings to mind Francis Imbuga’s play Betrayal in the City where one of the characters says “when the madness of an entire nation disturbs a solitary mind, it is not enough to say the man is mad”.

But the more important issue is the role of social media. More than two billion people have social media accounts. First let look at the pros. Social media connects people and cements bonds of friendships. They share information about events and activities. They even share photos. Through social media people can find people who share their interests and hobbies. Social media is a promotional vehicle for people, ideas and even products.

But social media is overcrowded. There is information overload so those who want to be heard have to unleash a shrill shout that can be heard above the cacophony of competing voices. Therefore, Stella Nyanzi has to use strong language and target powerful people in order to command the attention of her social media followers.

Social media is a major outlet for false and unreliable information. Some people make up information that leads to panic and the distortion of public opinion. Countless times, social media has been the source of false death announcements concerning people who may be sick but still alive.

To those seeking employment, their social media profiles are now a major source of information for potential employers in determining their suitability as employees. This kind of social media pre-screening can lead to bias and discrimination when a personality assessment is made based on social media profiles.

This brings me to the criminal prosecution of Stella Nyanzi. Lawyers are required to carry out at least two tests before they undertake a prosecution of a suspect. First is the prospect of conviction.

Is there sufficient evidence? This test means that an objective, reasonable and impartial magistrate/judge is more likely than not to convict the accused. The second test is whether the prosecution serves the public interest.

In our Ugandan environment where the laws are vague the Stella Nyanzi case will be a landmark case which is likely to send the State rushing back to the drawing board to tighten regulations around social media usage. In other countries, like the UK, there have been several laws enacted and these have been tested through various cases.

Uganda can pick a leaf from there. For instance the 1988 Malicious Communications Act criminalises any action of a person who sends electronic communication which is “indecent, grossly offensive, or which is false, or which the sender believes to be false if the purpose or one of the purposes of the sender is to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient”. The offence is one of sending. There is no requirement for the communication to reach the intended recipient.

Tightening the law is, however, only one step. Eventually, it is the courts of law to give a verdict on whether accused individuals have stepped beyond the line of constitutionally guaranteed free speech. It is likely that the courts will interpret the laws in a manner that expands the boundary of free speech.

In the 1992 case of Sunday Times v UK, the court was more emphatic in its defence of freedom of speech. It said “freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society; it is applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also as to those that offend, shock and disturb…”

So as we grapple with the seemingly uncontrollable power of social media the debate will increasingly be about whether prosecution is in the public interest or the silencing of critics of dereliction of duty by government.

Source — Daily Monitor

Uganda | An Economy of Per Diem By Timothy Kalyegira

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 04/16/2017 - 08:07

By Timothy Kalyegira — In the late 1980s, Rakai District in southern Uganda became the epicentre of the Aids pandemic. At the height of the crisis, the entire young adult population of homes and villages was wiped out.

Children as young as 10 or 12 were left to fend for their siblings as young as three or five. Both parents as well as uncles, aunts and neighbours had all died. For those more fortunate, grandparents came in to act as parent. It was one of the saddest tragedies to ever afflict Uganda.

As I travel around Uganda and monitor the news and national mood, I feel that Uganda as a country has become in political terms what Rakai was in the late 1980s. Something about Uganda feels like a bereaved society without an adult presence.

Uganda is a society that strikes me as being like an orphanage. It is a country of nearly 40 million children but who don’t have parents, leaders, mentors and guardians. We were neglected by our parents and left to fend for ourselves as street children.

The comforting, protective shield we had until the time of independence in October 1962 has long been torn away from us. There is very little conviction among the leadership, from the ruling NRM to the Opposition, from civil servants to the business community, from the media to civil society.

Everyone seems to be going through the motions, their main motivation limited to finding any avenue to earn that extra Shs100,000. The monthly salaries for most people, from Member of Parliament to journalist, Cabinet minister to LC5 chairperson, no longer feels enough to meet their needs.

So a supplementary salary comes through allowances — out-of-station per diem, transport refunds for attending press conferences or workshops, acting as MCs at events and in general hustling.

When per diem becomes more important as a source of income than one’s monthly salary, you know a country is in serious and structural economic crisis.

It means an officer or employee cannot, by virtue of that, put in his or her full eight hours of dedicated work at the desk. Extra income has to be sought in activities and places outside of the workplace.

That’s why Cabinet ministers, MPs, senior civil servants, academics, journalists and others cannot dare pass up an opportunity to travel upcountry or abroad for a workshop or conference, no matter how irrelevant or boring the conference is.

They need that per diem which is essential as additional income. The amount of productive work time Uganda loses every year to these redundant workshops and foreign trips is enormous, but there is no choice available for most workers.

Basically, the Ugandan workforce, both government and private, is like businessmen pretending to be civil servants and corporate employees. Uganda on the face of it is peaceful and stable but at a deeper level very little works, except for parts of the capital city Kampala.

The way President Museveni spoke as he addressed mourners at Andrew Felix Kaweesi’s home last week, lent further proof to my view of Uganda as an orphaned country.

His tone was very much like that of a layman, even though he was trained in his youth as an intelligence officer. He talked off-cuff and in very general terms. He did not seem to have much to say. His solution to the rampant crime today was the installation of surveillance cameras along the streets and other parts of Kampala.

For any violent criminal listening to the President speak, his remarks were reassuring. There was nothing about his warnings and threats to bring Kaweesi’s killers to book that would have worried any criminal.

The lowest point, a clear indication that he had reached the stage of layman helplessness, was when he advised high-ranking government and security officials that if they suspect that a boda boda trailing them might be suspicious, to stop, get out, and engage the boda boda man.

For a former intelligence officer, former minister of Defence, former guerrilla leader and for the last 31 years Head of State to not understand the implications of such a reckless statement on public order and security, simply reinforces my argument.

By spending most of the last 31 years consolidating his personal grip on power, Museveni has managed out of his self-interest to give Uganda its longest stretch of internal stability since independence.

In some way, that can be given as credit to the NRM government for those who remember what life felt like from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s.

But stabilising a country mainly because all effort, time and resources are invested in making sure a government is not toppled, is not the same thing as developing that country and now we are starting to see the full fruits of this erroneous approach to affairs of state.

Apart from the senior layer of the officer corps of the Special Forces Command, I don’t see any other section of Ugandan society that is fully motivated in the work they do. By motivated, I mean people who when push comes to shove, when we hit critical time and the government is starting to fall apart, who will put in the extra effort to prevent that happening.

The way the Iraqi army simply surrendered en masse when the American forces entered Iraq in March 2003 or, recently, when the hard line militant group ISIS approached the outskirts of the city of Mosul, is the way I see the Ugandan establishment, from the army, police, intelligence, civil service and business community melting away should any sustained pressure be applied to the Ugandan State.

The Ugandan State now hangs on the person of President Museveni, a person whom as we saw last week, is increasingly sounding as much a layman as the rest of the public.

And so I don’t see the Uganda police investigating Kaweesi’s murder and arriving at a factual conclusion. I could be wrong, but I don’t know if we still have a police officer corps with anything like inner conviction about what they are doing and the need to do it.

Suspects (or purported suspects) will be arrested, some perhaps presented to the public to give the impression of the police doing its work. But I don’t see circumstances under which our police will arrive at a crucial conclusion.

I don’t see a single police officer who, three years from now (or even six months from now) will still be reading through Kaweesi’s file, piecing together the evidence and puzzling over who his killers might be. That Uganda ended in 1962.

Source — Daily Monitor. 

Special Report | Official Statements From Bulange Mengo and Bobi Wine on The One Love Beach Demolition

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 09:46

Bobi wine with Buganda premier Charles peter Mayiga during the Etoffali fundraising at One love beach Busabala. Courtesy photo

April 11, 2017 For Immediate Release — Bobi Wine was occupying Kaazi-Busabala land illegally
Bulange, Mmengo: On Friday April 8, 2017, Nkuluze, an organ of Buganda Kingdom exercised its rights by taking possession of its land in Kaazi-Busabala. This land is adjacent to local singer Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s (commonly known as Bobi Wine) One Love Beach.

In December 2011, Bobi Wine deposited UGX20,000,000 (Twenty Million Uganda Shillings Only) with Nkuluze together with an application to occupy 0.5 acres of land. The UGX20m was his own valuation.

On several occasions, Bobi Wine was informed that the lease application for this land had not been approved and should therefore not carry out activities beyond the confines of One Love Beach. Previously, Nkuluze had agreed to sub-lease 6.25 acres of land to Bobi Wine and there is no contention on this land.

On September 17, 2014, Bobi Wine was informed in writing that the land he applied for wasn’t available for the sub-lease. He was requested to personally attend a meeting on September 29, 2014 with Nkuluze regarding this transaction. Bobi Wine didn’t turn up for the meeting.

On January 18, 2015, Bobi Wine was again informed in writing that the sub-lease of 0.5 acres he had applied for in Kaazi-Busabala will not be permitted as the land lord intends to use the land for different purposes. Bobi Wine was informed that the UGX20m he had deposited would not be refunded since he owed the same office UGX18m (Eighteen Million Uganda Shillings Only) as part of the sub-lease for the 6.25 acres of his One Love Beach. The 6.25 acres of One Love Beach were leased to Bobi Wine at UGX103, 370,000 (One Hundred Three Million Three Hundred and Seventy Thousand Uganda Shillings only) which he had been paying in installments. It is Nkuluze that sub-leased him the 6.25 acres and nothing was demolished on these 6.25 acres.

Bobi Wine was informed that the balance of UGX2m (Two Million Uganda Shillings Only) on the UGX20m he had deposited would be used as part payment of ground rent. At that time, Bobi Wine was in arrears of UGX16,800,000 (Sixteen Million Eight Hundred Uganda Shillings Only) and was informed that his ground rent arrears now stood at UGX14,800,000 (Fourteen Million Eight Hundred Thousand Uganda Shillings only) for the period ending December 31, 2014.

On June 26, 2015, Bobi Wine was informed in writing by the Kingdom that he should cease carrying out activities on the 0.5 acres piece of land as the sub-lease application had not been approved. By this time, Bobi Wine was illegally occupying this land and using it as a parking lot for his One Love Beach. He was advised to concentrate all his activities within the 6.25 acres whose lease had been approved.

Instead, Bobi Wine didn’t only occupy the 0.5 acres, he further encroached on the land by approximately another 1.5 acres. This means that Bobi Wine was now occupying approximately two acres illegally. On July 1, 2015, Bobi Wine was informed in writing to stop any activities he is carrying out on this land and advised to shift his One Love Beach parking lot within the legally leased 6.25 acres. Bobi Wine refused to adhere to all these instructions.

Finally, on March 27, 2017, Nkuluze informed the O/C Police of Kaazi-Busabala that they will take possession of this land on March 29, 2017 to enable the land lord use his land at his discretion. Bobi Wine was duly informed and got a copy of the letter to O/C Police of Kaazi-Busabala. Bobi Wine didn’t contact Nkuluze upon receiving this letter. From 2011 to March 2017, Bobi Wine was informed in writing regarding this land and requests to meet him and solve the issue amicably fell on deaf ears.

It is, therefore, surprising that Bobi Wine is now using the media to put the good name of the Kingdom in disrepute when it is him who occupied the land illegally and forcefully. Some members of Bobi Wine’s family have made phone calls threatening Kingdom employees regarding this issue. We advise Bobi Wine to restrain his family members from making such threats.

Ssaabasajja Kabaka Awangaale
Owek Noah Kiyimba
Minister of Information, Protocol and Kingdom Spokesman

Bobi Wine Rebuttal — On Friday 7th April, 2017, people working under the direction and authority of Nkuluze (The Royal Treasury) of Buganda Kingdom trespassed on my land, illegally razed it and destroyed a lot of valuable property at ‘One Love Beach’ in Busabala where I and my family conduct business.

I had decided not to release a press statement on this grave injustice committed to me by Buganda Kingdom officials. However, I am prompted to respond after reading the statement from Owek. Noah Kiyimba, the Kingdom’s Minister of information. In that statement, there were many deliberate lies, inconsistencies and misinformation intended to portray me as someone who was illegally occupying the land in question and who had been warned several times to vacate it and refused.

It was disturbing that in his statement Owek. Kiyimba decided to reveal my transactions which I considered confidential. Even then, he did not give full facts but rather tilted them to favor one side. I was disheartened to see that statement shared on Owekitibwa the Katikiro’s facebook page without hearing my side on this issue, despite my relentless efforts to reach him. I would request the Katikiro to take some time out of his busy schedule and read the file concerning this land so that he gets the true facts. I have therefore, in this statement, decided to set the record straight and point out the glaring injustices that are being perpetrated by Buganda Kingdom officials not only to me but perhaps also to many people in Uganda who have either bought land from or lived on land belonging to Buganda Kingdom but are being blackmailed and cowed into silence.

Let me therefore clarify the following.
1. I am a very strong believer in Nyaffe Buganda and I have for all my youthful years used my talents and energies to support the Kingdom activities and rally people to love it and support it. I hold my Kabaka- His Highness Ronald Edward Frederick Kimera Muwenda Mutebi II in the greatest esteem. I revere him and I believe all Baganda should! Even in these trying times, my allegiance to my King and Buganda Kingdom remains unshaken!

2. I am a peace loving man who believes in hard work. As an entrepreneur, I have over the years participated in various transactions in trying to buy and develop land from Buganda Kingdom officials not only for my benefit but also for the benefit of many young and old people who I offer employment, promote their talents and economically empower them. In most cases, those officials were acting for and on behalf of His Highness the Kabaka under the institution of ‘Nkuluze’. In most of the transactions I was treated unjustly and unfairly by those officials, but I decided to keep quiet in reverence of my Kingdom.

3. For example, in 2009, I bought 4 acres of land located in Mulago, Kibuga, Block 29, Plot 315 from the Kabaka of Buganda (Copies of the agreement are all available.) I paid the full agreed amount of 150M UgX. I even had to acquire a bank loan to pay for the land! I started compensating the tenants on the land. In 2010, 11 months after I had bought the land, I was informed by Mr. Nsereko David, the same person who had communicated the acceptance of the sale on behalf of the Kabaka, that the Kabaka had changed his mind about the sale of the land. I lost that plot without payment for all the expenses I had incurred while compensating the tenants. Without any consultation, I was given a refund of only the 150m UgX I had paid as if the value of the land had not accumulated. I also had to individually meet the bank interests and all other expenses. Despite my obvious disappointment, out of respect for my Kabaka, I let it go peacefully. At that time, I had started buying land from ‘bibanja’ holders in Busabala with the intention of setting up a beach and recreational facilities. The Kingdom officials convinced me that if I let go of the land in Mulago, they would grant me a lease on the land in Busabala. I had already started developing the land (approximately 6.25 acres) where the beach is located currently.

4. In 2010, with a desire to expand, I applied for a lease in Busabala – Kaazi, Plots 7060 and 7065- from the Buganda Kingdom Treasury- “The Nkuluze”. In April, 2010, I paid the requisite application fees, and with approval of Mr. Nsereko David – “Omuwi wamagezi kutaaka lya Kabaka”, I remitted the survey fees. On 6th February 2014, I officially received the grant of a forty nine (49) years sub-lease on plots 7060 and 7065 curved out of the Kabaka’s land in Busabala. I further paid the stipulated premium of UgX 20,000,000 (Twenty million shillings) and took great care to compensate all the tenants on the land.

5. I developed the land and have continued to do so to this very day. I have incurred a lot of expenses extending electricity to the area which was relatively isolated from the grid as well as constructing an access road to the area. Not only were Nkuluze officials aware of all these activities on the two plots by 2010, but they also sanctioned these projects eagerly and appreciated me for working hard and making Buganda proud. By the time the place was razed,i had developed it, imported and planted several tree species, set up electricity poles for lights and put in place several other valuable structures that were destroyed by the graders under supervision by police officers.

6. The Katikiro has visited the beach several times and also been to this parking area that the officials say I encroached upon. Several Kingdom activities have taken place on this land including; “empaka za amaato” preparations as well as some fundraising events for “etofaali” which were all officiated by Buganda Kingdom officials. Even some of the trees in this place were planted by the Katikiro!

7. In 2015, four years after fulfilling all conditions for the sub-lease, including payment of the twenty million shillings premium, remittance of Busuulu for four years and, compensation of the squatters on the land, I received an unfortunate communication from Mr. Nsereko David informing me that the Kabaka had cancelled his offer to grant me the sub-lease. I was informed that the Kabaka had once again changed his mind after selling me the two plots. I was disappointed and up to now I am not sure if His Highness the Kabaka is aware of this clearly unjust treatment. Without consulting me, they arbitrarily wrote to me saying that they had diverted the money which I had paid for this land to clear my outstanding balance on another plot from a different transaction!

8. I expressed my concerns to Nkuluze officials and told them that it was illegal and unjust to simply cancel my sub-lease four years after I had paid the money, compensated the squatters and developed the land. However, I indicated that as a humble son of the Kingdom, I was open to resolving it amicably, even if it meant paying more money for the same land I had already fully paid for and invested in heavily. I was advised by Mr. Nsereko David as well as Owek. Kitenda John- “Omuwanika W’enkuluze” that His Highness the Kabaka wanted to use the land and that if I created some room for Him, I would be allowed to retain my land. I went ahead and did as advised and as a loyal subject of the Kingdom, gave up a portion of my land, compensated the squatters on the adjacent land (approximately 1.5 acres) and cleared it of all the structures I had installed, to enable His Highness the Kabaka use it. It is therefore NOT TRUE as stated in Owek. Kiyimba’s statement that I refused to meet Nkuluze officials over this matter. In fact in 2015, I was asked to pay survey fees for the second time, over the same land, which I did.

9. Therefore, the sudden eviction and forceful grading of my land without notice or any Court Order; land which I acquired legally and have invested heavily in, jointly perpetuated by Buganda Kingdom officials and Uganda Police under the supervision of ASP John Garvin, came as a shocking surprise. While the destruction took place, I tried to reach out to Kingdom officials for help but they made themselves unavailable. Even when I requested to remove some of my valuable assets before they could destroy other structures, that request was denied. It was highhandedness and impunity on display!

10. The events above have affected me and my family and whereas we have kept quiet for a long time, anti ebyomunju tebitotolwa and out of respect for Buganda Kingdom, I believe that what is happening to me is also happening to many other local people who are occupying His Highness the Kabaka’s land. I believe that such violations of people’s rights and impunity on the part of Mengo officials should not continue- our Kingdom stands for values which include justice and respect. We have for a long time been condemning injustice in our country. We cannot condone it in the affairs of OUR OWN KINGDOM

11. I wish to also STATE CATEGORICALLY that as a humble man who believes in empowering common people, I cannot be the same person illegally evicting them from their land or destroying their property. I have seen those allegations being made. As a matter of fact, officials from Mengo have often sent people who park their vehicles at One Love Beach during the day and in the night go and carry out demolitions and evictions around Busabala. Some people seeing that the vehicles came from the Beach falsely accused me of evicting them and I kept quiet out of humility and respect for my Kingdom and its officials. Therefore, I have never illegally evicted anyone from land in Busabala. To the Kingdom officials- please stop committing injustices on your own people, while you hide behind His Highness the Kabaka.

12. I love peace, and I am still open to peaceful resolution of these issues and although the Kingdom Officials have denied me audience, I hope it may please Ssaabasajja Kabaka to hear my pleas and those of the common person, intervene and restore sanity at Mengo. I HAVE NOT AND WILL NEVER encourage or support anyone, family members or otherwise, to threaten Mengo Kingdom officials as was portrayed in Owek. Kiyimba’s statement. I also take this opportunity to once again encourage all people- relatives, friends, fans, and all those concerned about my plight to stay calm in the midst of all these challenges, be patient and desist from using foul language. To my fellow Baganda, especially the Youth, we should not let this incident divide us but rather unite us and cause us to think deeply and work hard for the Buganda and Uganda which we want our children to inherit.

13. Although it was not my intention to pursue this matter any longer, Owek. Kiyimba’s statement has left me with no option but to seek justice and clear my name through all available legal avenues. This decision comes after long and deep thought, and I hope it can be a step towards pursuing justice for many people and improving relations between the Kingdom and the common person.

Sabasajja Kabaka awangale!
Kyagulanyi Sentamu (Bobi Wine)
Magere- Kyadondo
13 April 2017

Bribery | Former Ugandan Minister Kabafunzaki Implicated by Political Assistant

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 08:04

The State minister for Labour Herbert Kabafunzaki, was yesterday implicated by his own political assistant for having allegedly received a bribe of Shs5 million from Aya Group chairman Mohammad Hamid at the weekend.

The implication of the minister in the scandal came shortly after his political assistant, Mr Brian Mugabo, pleaded guilty to a charge of being an accessory after the fact when they appeared before the Anti-Corruption Court.

Under this charge, it’s alleged that on that bizarre afternoon last Saturday, Mr Mugabo attempted to aid his boss to escape the law when he ran away with a khaki envelope, knowing that it contained a bribe from Hamid to the minister.

Pleading guilty — Mr Mugabo accepted the brief allegations read out by senior state attorney Barbra Kawuma detailing how the junior minister, while at Kampala Serena Hotel, purportedly asked him to keep the bribe money of Shs5 million in the right hand side pocket of his trouser.

The alleged bribe was intended to “clear” Hamid of a related matter where he has been accused of sexually harassing a female former employee at his Hilton Hotel located in Nakasero, Kampala.

The prosecution submitted that when police detectives demanded for the said khaki envelope, Mr Mugabo tried to hide it. Court heard that it was only after the police had reviewed footage off the hotel’s CCTV cameras that it was possible to pinpoint and retrieve the money from where Mr Mugabo had hidden it.

“After about 30 minutes, he (Mugabo) was summoned by the said A1 (minister) at the table where they were seated with the complainant (Hamid). He saw a khaki envelope on top of the table. It’s then that the minister told him to pick the envelope and fix it in his right side pocket of the trouser,” the state attorney told court about what happened at the hotel.

“At this point, he realised that the envelope he had in his right side pocket trouser was the envelope they were looking for, he, therefore, rushed to the corridor and threw it behind the curtain and came back and sat at the table where he had sat originally,” Ms Kawuma said.

“He (Mugabo) then left shortly to go to the washrooms, which were just around the corner and when he came back, he found the minister still seated but this time with two strange men. The complainant (Hamid) had already left.

“These men were in plain clothes but he heard them saying they were police officers and were demanding for the envelope given to the minister. They were asking from the minister the bribe that he had received,” the state attorney quotes Mr Mugabo as having revealed.

Ms Kawuma said that there was a scuffle between the policemen and the minister with his political assistant. She said the minister and his political assistant were eventually subdued and arrested.

She further informed court that after the scuffle, a search certificate was prepared where the said bribe money was listed after being serialized and photographed for use as evidence. Court also heard that Mr Mugabo appended his signature on the search certificate, which was also signed by a police officer.

After reading out these allegations, Chief Magistrate Agnes Alum asked Mr Mugabo, 21, whether they reflected the events as they happened last Saturday. Mr Mugabo answered: “Yes, the facts are true…”

Following the arrest and implication of the Hon. Herbert Kabafunzaki  — The President has since asked the embattled State Minister to step aside to allow for investigations to proceed unhindered. 

Source — Daily Monitor Report and NBS News Video.

MTN Uganda | Response to Diaspora Concerns Regarding the Sim-card Verification and Mobile Money Deposits

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 06:32

Following inquiries about the 7 day deadline to deactivate unregistered or validated sim-cards by UCC. Ugandan Diaspora News Online got several inquiries from some Diaspora community members with active Mobile Money accounts who wanted to know the fate of their deposits since they might not be local to meet the verification deadline. We made an effort to reach out to the MTN head office in Kampala and below is a statement we received on the ongoing exercise and how Diaspora members should respond.  See UCC highlights below and the MTN response.

All mobile phone sim-cards must be verified and validated within seven days or risk being switched off, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has warned. The warning is the latest among many previous ones from the regulatory body, where it has severally threatened to deactivate unregistered sim-cards.

During yesterday’s stakeholders meeting with National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura and representatives from various telecommunication companies, UCC directed mobile telecommunications service providers to verify all sim card subscriber details using their national identity cards or passports (for foreigners) within seven days starting on April 12.


Dear Diaspora Community,

We understand that the government and UCC are making provision for our subscribers in the Diaspora to register via the embassies.

Our customers in the Diaspora should be re-assured that their Mobile Money is safe because under the law it is protected. Even in past exercises relating to Mobile money, subscribers are still always able to access and withdraw their money even if the other telecom services are disabled.

MTN is still engaging the government and the UCC regarding the deadline that has been given for the registration of all numbers using National ID for nationals and passport for foreigners.

MTN is of course very concerned that all customers should continue using all the services. We urge all customers to use the string *197*3#  to send their National ID Number (NIN) to have their records updated in accordance to the new directive

Best Regards

Dorcas B Muhwezi
Chief Customer Experience Officer (CEX)
MTN Uganda

Feature | Floods and landslides are not God’s will By Muniini K. Mulera

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 02:29

Omugurusi Ezra Kisigo Mulera in Mparo, after the rains (late 1980/early90s). Photo by Edward Nobel Bisamunyu

By Muniini K. Mulera In Toronto — After the dry season, the rains. That is how things worked in my childhood in Mparo, Rukiga, Kigyezi. The rains of Katumba (March) soaked the hills and mountains, with millions of liters infiltrating the rich soil. The runoff was slowed down on its steep descent by the verdant blankets of thick bushes, grasses and Blackwattle trees. Weakened sheets of water arrived in the V-shaped valleys and gently found their way into the large streams and rivers, and headed down to the enormous swamps that were everywhere.

From Noozi to Nyakarambi, from Sindi to Ibumba, from Rwakijabura to Rushebeya, seemingly endless swamps stood proud, home to an ecosystem that was not there by accident. Cyperus papyrus, the dominant plant in these swamps, would sway gently in the breeze after the rains. When night fell, the call of the frogs was a sweet symphony of a thousand, albeit unnerving to a young lad walking in the dark.

These papyrus swamps were part of a nearly continuous system of public wetlands stretching from Lakes Mutanda and Murehe in Bufumbira, through OmuRubanda south of Orugano, Mafuuga and Kiirima forests, continuing south through Omuruhita and Rwakaraba, along the River Kiruruma.

At Kabaare (Kabale), the swamp branched southwest, along River Mwisi to Kitumba, all the way to Rubaya and Rwanda. The main swamp at Kabaare continued down through Kyanamira to Maziba, hugging the Kiruruma, whose name perfectly described the power of its roar as it hurried towards the waterfalls downstream.

From Muhanga to Rushebeya was all swamp. Here it would rendezvous with its sister from Mparo and head north to Kashambya and Nyarushanje, feeding the River Rushoma, along which the 30-meter waterfalls at Kisiizi lie. The swamp continued to Kebisooni in Rujumbura.

The swamps were not just beautiful things to look at. They controlled floods, provided moisture (therefore rain), cleaned, purified and stored consumable water. They retained sediments, absorbed potentially harmful substances and detoxified the water. They recharged our underground water sources.

They were habitats for various fishes, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and numerous insects. They were holiday homes for migratory birds that flew south during the European winter, and were favorite breeding places for crested cranes. They were a source of raw materials for ebirago and emikyeeka (mats), ebitukuru (baskets), ebishakaazo (thatch) and other building needs.

Things changed from the 1970s onward. Progressive overpopulation increased pressure on the land. According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, whereas the population density in Kigyezi in 1969 was 170 per sq. km., it was 314 per sq. km. in 2014.

The mountain tree cover was cut down for firewood, charcoal and construction. Every meter of soil was viewed as cultivable, resulting in cutting down of precious trees, and the grass and shrubs along the terraced edges, and outright destruction of terraces as farmers tried to maximize arable land.

Tired and bare hillsides became the perfect accelerators for torrents cascading towards the valleys. Weakened and unprotected hillside soils were easily brought down as landslides. In some areas, hillside rock and iron-ore mining created huge holes that became potential sources of rocky landslides during the rainy season.

Huge swathes of swamps were drained and turned into farms and private ranches. The one in Bubaare near Kabaare has now been turned into an airfield, celebrated by educated Banyakigyezi as development. Experts report that up to 70 percent of the swamps in Kabaare District have been drained! The remainder are being encroached upon, one meter at a time, with local leaders watching, perhaps participating in the desecration of our heritage.

The symphony of the frogs is long gone from Mparo, their sweet nocturnal song replaced by an oppressive silence that mourns the madness of man. The occasional mooing of a cow and the bleating of a goat remind one that even these animals have been deprived of watering places.

Meanwhile, silting and blockage of streams and rivers has reduced their ability to serve as drainage channels. Once great rivers like Kiruruma, Mwisi, Mineera, Rushoma, Ncwera, Birira, Ishasha and Noozi have become smaller, with some downgraded to streams. The future of Kigezi’s main lakes (Bunyonyi, Mutanda, Murehe, Chahafi, Rwitanzigye (Edward) and Kanyabaha) worries conservationists.

Whenever the great rains come, the river water often overflows, flooding riverside farms, destroying crops, animals and other property. Human lives are lost on a painfully regular basis. The latest such occurrence was last week. Severe flooding hit parts of Kabaare District, including Kamuheesi (Kamwezi), Rwamucuucu and Kyanamira sub-counties. The Kabaare-Mparo road via Omurukiri was closed.

Some people declared it an act of God. Others prayed for God’s intervention. Yet others called upon the Uganda Government to rescue the people.

We sympathize with those who have suffered as a result of the flooding. We urge the Government and others who can, to assist them with emergency support against hunger, disease and homelessness.

However, we believe that this and similar disasters are a result of human greed and folly, not an act of God. It is urgent that citizens recognize and abandon the behaviors that have caused environmental degradation. This should be immediately followed by action to restore and protect what God so carefully and purposefully created for the benefit of all generations, not just for the super-greedy lot that passed through Planet Earth in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Terraced hills and mountains, Kigyezi, Uganda

Five key roles that the Government should play are:
(1) mass education about environment restoration and conservation;
(2) legislation of mandatory return and restoration of the drained swamps and the deforested hillsides;
(3) escalation of family planning programs to slow down population growth in areas like Kigezi;
(4) abandonment of policies that put industrialization and other economic pursuits above environment protection;

(5) creation of a national Tree Planting Day.

God gave us a verdant Earth, complete with great wetlands that serve many functions. Humans altered it. Only humans can restore the Earth to what God meant it to be.

The author is a blogger and resident of Toronto, Canada —


Developing Story | The Observer offices broken into again

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 01:36

More than 20 computers, laptops, cameras among other items were stolen

Unknown people have broken into The Observer offices at Tagore Crescent, carrying away more than 20 desktop computers. They also made off with a yet-to-be established number of cameras, laptops, TV screen among other items. They dismantled the CCTV surveillance system and also made off with the company’s servers.

It is the second time the offices have been broken into in less than 6 months. The first time in October last year, when more than 20 computers and other items were stolen. A case was filed and the trial is still on-going.

It is unclear when exactly the latest raid and theft took place. It was first discovered by the departing editor, Richard Kavuma who had come in early (at about 6.45am) to collect his remaining items. Kavuma is this month, April joining the United Nations to work with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

It is also unclear what happened to the guard, Isaac Chebet of KPI security firm. His gun and the uniform he was last seen in were found abandoned at the office premises.

Chebet’s gun and uniform were found abandoned at the premises

His known mobile phone number is currently off. According to KPI security officials Chebet may have been kidnapped. Chebet who hails from Kapchworwa has only been in Kampala for no more than a month according to his brother.

Source — The Weekly Observer

Boston Memorial | A Tribute to a Departed Dear Brother — Jehoash Mayanja Nkangi By Balam Luswata Namugera

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 04/01/2017 - 04:37

By Balam Luswata Namugera — Let me first of all take the opportunity to express our gratitude as a family to the central government of Uganda and to Ssaabasajja Kabaka of Buganda for the great support they gave to us during the funeral for our family leader and patriarch the late Hon. J.S. Mayanja-Nkangi. The funeral attended by dignitaries of both governments included Vice President of Uganda, Hon. Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi and the Katikkiro of Buganda, Owekiitibwa Charles Peter Mayiga and was conducted in a manner befitting a national hero and it made us proud as a family. Our small village of Kannyogoga became the focal point for everyone who knew my brother and every villager felt proud to hail from the same village as the great son Mayanja-Nkangi.

Observing all protocol here in Boston, again we acknowledge and appreciate the presence of the Kabaka’s representative in New England led by Omulongo Kato Kajubi, his deputy and Gwanga Mujje executive in helping us organize this memorial service in conjunction with Pastor Samuel Mutyaba and the leadership of New Life International Christian Center. Thank you so much for the love and affection to us in this time of bereavement. All pastors and everyone in attendance of this event, we value your time and effort to be here–it is of tremendous encouragement to the family.

Celebrating the Life of My dear brother

I first met Jehoash Sibakyalwayo Mayanja-Nkangi in 1959 when I was 5 and he was arriving back from Oxford University after graduating with a Masters in Economics and as a barrister at law. My father called him ‘Koyaasi’ shortened for Yekoyaasi–the Luganda version of Jehoash, which many people, including the media, mistook for ‘Joash’. He corrected this mistake with the media several times but gave up as they repeatedly wrote ‘Joash’, so to this day only the family and close friends, know his true first name. So I heard my father say “Koyaasi yafunye ddiguli” (“Koyaasi graduated with a degree”) and as a young mind I wanted to know and see exactly what was this intriguing achievement. My parents had gone to Entebbe Airport and had traveled in Gatamba’s green Peugeot 403 special hire to receive and bring back the graduate who had been abroad for a whole five years. The village was all excitement and drums with hired dancers as we waited for the arrival of Koyaasi the graduate.

With no mobile phones back then we had to keep gazing and tuning our ears for the sound of a car engine which after a while arrived with pomp, jubilation and ululations that had awaited the guest from a mile away with decorative banana leaves. It was already dark but everybody was stretching their necks in the crowd to have a glimpse of this heroic figure. With my small size I had to wait until the guest was seated and for the first time I saw my brother Koyaasi with a strange cap on his head–he had been the first university graduate in the entire district of Masaka! At the graduation party he looked like a Muvabulaaya (westerner style) attire with his Afro hairstyle that was unique and a handsome moustache. I tried to emulate him and ended up wearing a moustache too when I grew up.

After settling in Kampala as a law practitioner I saw him come home with a newly purchased British car–a DKW driven by his friend Kabali-Kaggwa, and I remember him introducing it to his father and the family. We all congratulated him for this was the first automobile to be owned by a family member and of course we went for a drive. When the struggle for independence in the early 60s was on, my brother’s name was no longer just Koyaasi Mayanja, but started appearing in newspapers like Uganda Eyogera, Taifa Empya, Munno and others (which my father commonly read) as J.S. Mayanja-Nkangi (for he had added to his name Nkangi the name of our great grandfather).

I remember my father asking him, “Did you change your name”? Then he answered, “I like that name of our great-grandfather”. My father simply said, “Kale, oba olyagala kirungi “, meaning “Fine, if you like it it’s ok”. And they went on discussing the political stuff that I couldn’t follow as a little boy but I continued to follow him for his progressive lifestyle. He was now commonly appearing in the newspapers in the political arena and I later learned that he had formed a political party: Uganda United Party, with his friend Apollo Kironde, who would later lead the party. His contemporaries like Amos Sempa, Abu Mayanja, Ben Kiwanuka, Grace Ibingira were in the political limelight as the educated elite of that time who challenged the British colonial rule and strived for independence. Most of them were young lawyers educated in England and understood the British system–its strengths and weaknesses.

By independence in 1962, my brother was one of those. Apollo Milton Obote, the new Prime Minister,  appointed him as a minister without portfolio and later of Commerce & Industry when the UPC/KY alliance won the elections for the first independence government. As a little boy I enjoyed seeing him come home with police guards and an official government car with the plate MINISTER. I used to enjoy seeing newsmen around him and reading the newspapers where stories about him and pictures appeared.

The 1964 Mengo Crisis

When the crisis in Mengo regarding the lost counties arose, the UPC/KY alliance fell apart because the Baganda were unhappy and suspicious with the way Obote was handling the Kingdom matters. The failure of the then Katikkiro of Buganda, Michael Kintu, to stop the loss of the counties to Bunyoro resulted in a vote of no confidence from the Mengo Lukiiko. My brother was a smart lawyer, politician and highly British-educated Muganda that was believed by the Baganda to handle the thorny political and legal issues that were between them and the central government. My brother told us, someone within Mengo asked him to stand for the position of Katikkiro which was now vacant. Mayanja-Nkangi declined for he believed not only was he too young for the position, but he had neither been close to the Kabaka nor been in the Mengo political or bureaucratic circles. However, he had gained much popularity, especially when Prime Minister Obote had sacked him as minister along with fellow Baganda ministers like Sempa, allegedly for undermining him in a KY political rally which had castigated Obote for treachery of the Baganda.

Actually my brother had been out of the country on state duties and had not even attended said rally. Stronger candidates like Masembe-Kabali a son of Kabaka’s chief Kabali who was a treasurer, began campaigning for the position of Katikkiro. My brother did not bother to campaign because he felt he stood no chance against those powerful men who were already in the system of Mengo. However, he reluctantly accepted to stand as many people supported and rallied behind him. I remember as a little boy reading for my father the Taifa Empya newspaper indicating the progress in the race for Katikkiroship. My brother was leading and finally, he won the elections, beating out Masembe-Kabali. Little did he know that Masembe-Kabali was later to become his in-law since Ruth Nakiggwe Nsubuga, the girl my brother was to marry later in exile in London, was Masembe-Kabali’s niece.

Jubilation again filled our small village Kannyogoga and many people came to congratulate my father on his son winning the highest political office in Buganda and I remeber was going to Mengo Butikkiro, the official residence of the Katikkiro, to wait for him to receive the Damula (governing scepter) from the Kabaka Edward Mutesa II. The tradition is that after receiving the Damula, the Katikkiro-elect must securely run off with it and must be surrounded by strong men to do so, for if he ever loses it to contenders he loses the position of Katikkiro too.

I saw the ceremony myself and witnessed the scuffle for the Damula. Had it not been our in-law, the late Kopoliano Kintu Serubambula who was a muscular guy and an ex-serviceman, holding both my brother and the Damula and pushing away anyone coming closer, Mayanja-Nkangi may not have been strong enough to hold the Damula up to Butikkiro . The next ceremony was the banquet the Katikkiro threw and we ate our fill. From then on, the fame of my brother Mayanja-Nkangi excelled and I continued to be his fan and follower. However, his Kaikkiroship was short-lived when the Mengo and central government conflict grew deeper and the central government special force police attacked the Kabaka’s palace and ousted him, forcing him to go into exile and followed by brother who also had to flee to London in 1966.

The period that followed was one of suffering for our family, for we had to run away from home since my father was also being hunted. Supporters of the Kabaka in our area were being killed and I remember taking my two smaller sisters to our grandparents’ home at Kabungo as my mother instructed. Then, without warning, shootings in the neighborhood of Kiwaawo started. I was quite scared and hid with the kids under a bushy coffee tree by the path. Our father had already gone into hiding and we did not even know where my mother was. I was told to go to another relative nearby after delivering my small sisters–Nanziri and Namyalo.

Fear gripped us as a family and one night in 1967 under a heavy rain shower, I was awakened by heavy boot steps around my bed. I saw an armed policeman checking every corner of our bedroom and my mother was seated in the living room under guard. I later learned that my father was questioned in the heavy rain at the matooke plantation and was asked where he had hidden Mayanja-Nkangi. My Auntie Esther denied that my father was her brother when the armed guys interrogated her.

Finally, my brother stayed in exile in England where he struggled but later secured a job as a lecturer in Lancaster University. While in England he met Ruth Nakiggwe Nsubuga and married her in 1968. I learned of that by reading it in the newspapers and continued to follow Mayanja-Nkangi.

When eventually he returned from exile in 1972 after the military takeover by Idi Amin, I was in O-level in Kampala and he now started living with his family at Bulange village. I got the opportunity to know him more now that I was part of his family. I admired his wisdom, love and commitment to his people–Buganda and Uganda at large. I never felt so proud in my life as being brother to Jehoash Sibakyalwayo Mayanja-Nkangi. Rest in eternal peace my brother, father, mentor and friend. I had promised him a biography and I will write it in his honor some day.

Balam Nkangi Namugera Luswata

The author is a younger brother to the Late Jehoash Mayanja-Nkangi. He worked in Ugandan Airlines before relocating here in the USA. He currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Photography and Edits by Ronnie Mayanja.

Opinion | Here is the naked truth about trying to silence Stella Nyanzi By Daniel K. Kalinaki

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 05:21

By Daniel K. Kalinaki — I have never met Stella Nyanzi in the flesh, not even when she, uh, laid bare her frustrations – and a lot more than just the proverbial pound of flesh – in her infamous fight with Prof Mahmood Mamdani.

But I have met Dr Nyanzi through social media platforms where she uses sexual allegory, some of it dripping with sarcasm, a lot of it marinated in a phantasmagoria of crude and vulgar vignettes, to argue socially uncomfortable topics.

Initially Dr Nyanzi’s posts had a cheeky adventurousness about them, as if they were merely an extension of her academic research in gender, sexuality and social attitudes towards them. Soon enough, however, and as was to be expected, they became more political and more aggressive, showing a sticky middle finger to the entrenched social-political order and becoming both a means to an end, and an end in themselves.

Left to her own devices, Ms Nyanzi might have been little more than a social media personality, her risqué posts, to misquote Chinua Achebe, the palm-oil with which conversations are eaten over cold cheap brews by bored middle class folks after long, sweaty days.

Yet our government has never seen a puddle of water it did not want to dip its boots in, and in early March Dr Nyanzi was summoned by no less than the deputy CID director over posts that appear to have upset high-ranking government officials. When she tried to leave the country for a conference in the Netherlands recently, Dr Nyanzi was told she was on a no-fly list and had to seek permission to go abroad!

Why put a cheeky but harmless academic on a no-fly list, alongside terrorist masterminds, while well-known criminals saunter through the airport VIP unmolested? What threat could she pose? Flash air traffic control and blind them? Smack the pilot with her breasts and commandeer the aircraft?

It is still unclear what the specific complaint is but Dr Nyanzi has alluded to her posts criticising a government flip-flop on providing sanitary towels for teenage girls to keep them in school throughout the term. Not one to keep her gloves – let alone the rest of her clothes – on, Dr Nyanzi has ratcheted up the criticism and expanded the charges against senior government figures to include incompetence and nepotism.
There are two broad aspects to this matter: the form and substance of Dr Nyanzi’s comments on the one hand, and the nature of the response to them on the other.

We need neither repeat here the substance of Dr Nyanzi’s criticisms nor reproduce the naked rhetoric with which they are delivered, this being a family newspaper and all that. But it is sufficient to note that a few of those seen by your columnist fall in the ‘common sense’ category. Keeping girls in school, for instance, is one of the best investments money can buy, and should be a national priority, not a footnote in our national budgets.

So what are we to do if Dr Nyanzi and others, in calling for the right things, use coarse language that offends our sensibilities? How should leaders respond to insults and acerbic criticism?

Here things become doctrinal. Those who offer themselves for leadership generally present themselves as reluctant and sacrificing to better society. They must, at once, be able to explain themselves and their actions to citizens who hold opposing views while also developing the thick skin required to ignore criticism or insults that they consider to be unfair or vile.

Where such criticism or insult is deemed defamatory, civil law allows leaders to seek redress in the courts of law. To lean on the coercive instruments of the State to criminalise dissent and disagreement is a sign of weakness, not strength. The alternative is to tip over the cup of suffering and resign from the thankless ‘sacrifice’ of public service.

We can disagree with Dr Nyanzi’s views. We are perfectly within our rights to turn our noses at the language she uses. But we must be willing to defend to death her right to speak, and her right to be heard. The right to free speech is to protect not those who say what we want to hear, but those who say what we don’t want to hear.

Using the law to silence those we disagree with is intellectual cowardice, not brave leadership. If there is any merit in the arguments made by Dr Nyanzi and others like her let us debate the substance; otherwise let’s ignore them. It is one thing for Dr Nyanzi to undress herself in order to reveal her inner feelings. It is madness for us to undress ourselves in an attempt to keep her quiet.

Mr Kalinaki is a Ugandanw journalist based in Nairobi. &Twitter: @Kalinaki

Source — Daily Monitor

Memorial Service | For The Late Owek. Jehoash Mayanja-Nkangi Medford, MA – Time 2pm Sunday March 26th 2017

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 04:23
 The family of Pastor Balam Nkangi Luswata, The New Life International Christian Center & Ggwanga Mujje Community in Boston hereby inform the Ugandan Diaspora community that there will be a Memorial Service for the late Owek. Jehoash Mayanja-Nkangi on Sunday March 26th 2017 starting at 2pm.   Venue will be the New Life Christian Center in Medford, Massachusetts   For driving directions407 Rear Mystic Avenue; Room 21, Medford MA.   For more information contact: Pastor Sam Mutyaba-617 852 9766 Fred Katende-781 266 8245, Mrs Mildred Luswata-617 817 2636; Jennifer Musoke 781 354 1688; M/s Nakalanzi-857 753-7642 Betty Ssali-781 354 0745 Pastor Balam Nkangi Luswata – 617 817 9153   See link below for Obituary

The Guardian | No African citizens granted visas for African trade summit in California

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 08:23

The US customs and border protection office at Los Angeles International Airport in California. Photograph: Patrick T Fallon/Reuters

The Guardian — An annual African trade summit in California had no African attendees this year after at least 60 people were denied visas, according to event leaders.

The African Global Economic and Development Summit, a three-day conference at the University of Southern California (USC), typically brings delegations from across Africa to meet with business leaders in the US in an effort to foster partnerships. But this year, every single African citizen who requested a visa was rejected, according to organizer Mary Flowers.

Some are now questioning whether the denials to the Los Angeles event could be tied to the anti-immigration policies of Donald Trump, who is pushing forward with a travel ban against six Muslim-majority countries despite ongoing legal challenges.

Flowers said roughly 60 to 100 people from at least a dozen nations were denied entry to the summit, which went on as planned with a much smaller group last Thursday through Saturday.

“I don’t know if it’s Trump or if it’s the fact that the embassies that have been discriminating for a long time see this as an opportunity, because of talk of the travel ban, to blatantly reject everyone,” Flowers said in an interview on Monday. “These trade links create jobs for both America and Africa. It’s unbelievable what’s going on.”

The problems for the trade summit mark the latest example of restricted travel to the US under Trump, whose controversial immigration policies and rhetoric have impacted a wide range of industries and communities. Soccer players, musicians, doctors, tech workers, protesters and others from across the globe have been denied access to the US, which has also experienced a slump in tourism since Trump’s inauguration.

Rejected participants at the trade summit came from Nigeria, Cameroon, Angola, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana, South Africa and more, according to Flowers. Trump’s travel ban covers Somalia, Sudan and Libya in Africa, and citizens from those countries did not seek visas for the event.

“This conference puts Americans in touch with real people so they can do real business,” said Flowers, CEO of Global Green Development Group, which does economic development work in Africa.

A spokesperson for the US state department declined to comment on claims of rejections for summit participants, saying in a statement: “We cannot speculate on whether someone may or may not be eligible for a visa, nor on any possible limitations … Applications are refused if an applicant is found ineligible under the Immigration and Nationality Act or other provisions of US law.”

This is not the first time the summit has struggled with visa problems, according to Flowers, who has been organizing the event since 2013. In past years, she said, roughly 40% of interested African participants were denied entry.

But the 100% rejections this year meant there were only 50 to 75 participants total instead of the 150 to 200 who typically attend, she said. “Financially, that’s a gaping hole – a whole bunch of people who would have contributed not just to the event and to USC, but to the city around.”

She said many of the applicants who were rejected had already registered for the event and paid initial visa fees, but then were denied after short interviews – even when they brought extensive documentation, such as bank statements and property records.

The long-term impact of the visa denials is a lack of new trade links and business partnerships between US entrepreneurs and African nations, said Flowers, who also represents southern California as a member of the District Export Council, a trade group affiliated with the US commerce department.

“This summit is designed to bring Africa to America’s doorstep for investments and trade,” said Flowers, who is now working on a power plant project in Nigeria, with a collaboration that emerged from a past trade summit.

“We can’t have the government telling us to go do business with Africa and then you slam the doors in their face,” she added, noting that Trump has been in contact with Nigeria’s president. “We can’t survive as an internal country. We have to operate globally or we won’t be powerful.”

Following the visa rejections, Flowers is now also in contact with US congresswoman Karen Bass, who represents Los Angeles and is the ranking member of the Africa subcommittee.

“When restrictive policies and practices are followed by US embassies when granting visas to Africans, it can hurt opportunities between US and African business entities,” Bass said in a statement to the Guardian on Monday. “I encourage the Department of State to make sure these policies are flexible enough to encourage the free flow of business ideas and opportunities.”

Source — The Guardian Online


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