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New Music | French Montana – Unforgettable ft. Swae Lee Inspired by Uganda’s Ghetto Kids

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 06/24/2017 - 23:47

The Source — Fresh off releasing his latest tracks “No Pressure (feat. Future)”, French Montana recently took to Instagram to tease the upcoming video for “Unforgettable (feat. Swae Lee).” Last March, Montana and Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd traveled to Uganda to film the visual for their melodic track. In Montana’s series of teasers, the video looks to highlight the youth of Uganda, as the Bronx rapper and Lee vibe out with the local community of Kampala.

French found the inspiration for the “Unforgettable” music video after watching a dance video of Uganda’s Triplets Ghetto Kids on Youtube. The kids’ joyous street dancing inspired French to travel to his motherland of Africa to witness their moves up close and personal. While there, he was completely moved and energized by them as they showed him around their village, reminding him of his childhood growing up in Morocco, North Africa before he moved to New York with his family at the age of 13.

The poignant return to his motherland in Africa is underscored by French’s strong connec­tion to the Triplets Ghetto Kids, and to the emotional crowds of Kampala locals who embraced him on his journey. The pure joy they take in their music and dancing transcends the extreme poverty of the region. The entire project, now the subject of a deeply uplifting documentary film as well, also pays homage to French’s parents, who’s wedding day photo­graph in Morocco graces the “Unforgettable” track cover artwork.

Watch the Official Video for “Unforgettable” Here —

College Fund | Disney’s Queen of Katwe – Real Life Characters Phiona & Benjamin Admitted to University

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 06/24/2017 - 08:13
Dear friends,   By now you probably have heard of the amazing real-life story of Phiona Mutesi, the young girl from the slums of Katwe, Uganda, who attends chess club because of food and ultimately becomes chess champion attending the world chess olympiads…a book the Queen of Katwe is written…Disney buys the rights and produces a live-action movie that premiered fall of 2016..   What you may not know is that in real life Phiona & Benjamin have been offered and accepted full-tuition scholarships at NorthWest University – NWU in Kirkland, WA and plan to attend this fall 2017! They are eager to move forward with the next step in their journey as they both have HUGE dreams for making a great positive impact in this world. However, the reason I am writing this, is that they do not have the means to cover the necessary living expenses…   If you would like to learn more, or find it in your heart to help support or know someone who would be willing to help out, please simply go to the gofundme page that we’ve setup to read more of the story and ways you could help out.    Go Fund Me – college fundraiser link for direct donations – https://www.gofundme.com/QueenOfKatweAtCollege   To learn more about the Robert Katende Initiatives visit — http://www.robertkatende.org/   Please do help spread the word!   Blessings, Elliott Neff Founder & CEO, Chess4Life

The Washington Post | Why is Uganda more welcoming to refugees than the United States?

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 06/24/2017 - 06:48

In recent years, the West has become obsessed with the problem of refugees — and generally not in a good way. The United States and other wealthy countries have been unkind at best, and hostile at worst, to refugees. Politicians and voters fixate on security threats, economic costs, the challenges of integration — even though studies show that these risks are invariably overblown.

Largely unnoticed in these agonized discussions is the fact that it is poor countries, not rich ones, who bear the brunt of responsibility of providing safe haven for refugees. Yet despite their lack of resources, some of these nations are doing an extraordinary job of coping — to an extent that puts the more privileged parts of the world to shame.

Consider the surprising example of Uganda. At a time when the U.S. government in particular seems determined to treat refugees as a nuisance and a risk, Uganda has emerged as an example of compassion and generosity toward refugees. Wealthier nations could learn much from its example.

In November 2010, I visited southern Sudan as its population prepared for a historic vote on independence that many hoped would represent a new beginning and an end to violence that had plagued its people for so long. A hard-won peace agreement ended the country’s long-running civil war, which had pitted the authorities in Khartoum against the southern Sudanese people of the sub-Saharan region of the country. In January 2011, the people of southern Sudan voted overwhelmingly to become the independent state of South Sudan.

To be sure, there was pervasive uncertainty about the future during my visit. South Sudan embarked on independence as one of the poorest countries in world, and there were deep concerns that divisions in the south that had been subsumed in the common effort against northern domination would escalate after independence.

This fear was tragically realized when terrible conflict broke out between forces loyal to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar in 2013.

As that conflict has unfolded over the past six years, the violence in South Sudan has been horrific, with grave humanitarian implications for the South Sudanese people, who have left and are continuing to leave the country in droves. South Sudan is now the fastest-growing refugee emergency in the world, with nearly 1.8 million people seeking asylum in neighboring countries — in dire need of food, shelter, water and other forms of humanitarian assistance. This places tremendous strain on host countries and organizations trying to assist them.

Uganda, with a population of about 40 million, now finds itself hosting nearly 1 million refugees from South Sudan. (Just imagine: The equivalent proportional number for the United States would be around 8 million.) And yet Kampala has opted to maintain open borders, despite the enormous flow of men, women and children fleeing the crisis in its neighbor. Even more remarkably, the country’s generous policies allow refugees access to land, health care, education and employment, all critical humanitarian measures that ease the burden of refuge for those fleeing for their lives. It is worth noting that Uganda’s policy allows humanitarian agencies to focus on what matters — serving refugees’ needs.

My colleague Francisca Vigaud-Walsh traveled to the South Sudanese-Ugandan border in December 2016, where she witnessed the ongoing exodus of those fleeing unspeakable acts of violence — and, perhaps most notably, sexual violence. Francisca collected dozens of testimonies from women who had been subjected to rape and other forms of gender-based violence. Indeed, that same month, U.N. human rights investigators said that rape was being used a tool for ethnic cleansing, and that sexual violence in the country had reached epic proportions. The women Francisca interviewed expressed tremendous gratitude for the security that Uganda’s open borders, positive support and generous refugee policies provided.

It is true that Uganda’s record is not spotless. It has been accused of playing a destructive role in the internal affairs of South Sudan, and the large movement of refugees into the country has caused plenty of internal tensions. And other practices in Uganda, such as harsh discrimination against the LGBT community, are very disturbing. But that doesn’t alter the simple fact that the Ugandan government has taken measures that have benefited hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese. And by declaring recently that refugees are “an important part of the Ugandan national development plan,” and are treated “as an opportunity rather than a threat,” Uganda’s refugee commissioner offered a valuable lesson to governments of the world that have taken a far more negative approach.

No matter the progress that governments may make in addressing root causes of conflict, the challenges — and opportunities — presented by refugee flight will continue into the foreseeable future. For those governments and citizens feeling the effects of compassion fatigue, the actions of the government of Uganda demonstrate that all is not lost, and that compassionate policies can offer a better and more hopeful way ahead.

Eric Schwartz is president of Refugees International.

Source — The Washington Post

UCCB | Celebrating the Life of St. Charles Lwanga and the Feast of the Uganda Martyrs Day Boston

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 18:23

By Ronnie Mayanja — It what has now become tradition, the Uganda Catholic Community in Boston commemorated their annual feast of the Uganda Martyrs on June 11th at Saint Mary’s Parish in Waltham, Massachusetts. The main celebrant this year was was Bishop Robert Kasaija Muhiirwa, the Bishop of Fort Portal diocese in Western Uganda. In his sermon, Bishop Muhiirwa encouraged those attending to emulate the life and sacrifices made by the Uganda Martyrs. He noted how many had been close to the King’s Court yet still made the ultimate sacrifice for their new found faith.

Today he sighted examples and vices that control us and prevent the family unit from being fully functional, blaming the modern technologies that have both parents and children addicted to gadgets. He therefore encouraged all celebrants to emulate Christ at home, reminding them that the lives we lead will always bear witness to those around us.

The Bishop was then followed by Rev. Father Michael Nolan of Saint Mary’s Parish in Waltham, who encouraged those present this year to follow the legacy of Charles Lwanga and his companions who died defending their faith. He then noted that their struggle and victory should always be a source of inspiration for us to overcome the fears we face in the world today.

The new chaplain of the Uganda Community in Boston was also welcomed, having taken over from Father David Martin Ssentamu who during the eight years of his leadership helped to grow the Martyrs Day event to its current status.

Other notable attendees at the church ceremony included a representative from the Archdiocese of Boston, the Mayor of Waltham Jeanette McCathy and the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda Stanley Ntagali, along with other leading community elders from both the Buganda and Central Government.

On his part, the incoming Chair of the Uganda Catholic Community of Boston, Mr. Ronnie Kabuye Ssebunya, congratulated Father Godfrey Musabe Apuuli on joining priesthood, a milestone he said inspired all Ugandans living here in North America to pursue their faith in God and devote themselves to the service of Christ and the Church.

After what was a very beautiful colorful service attended by believers from across the USA and Uganda, the service came to an end, having been punctuated by spiritual hymns, a thanksgiving ceremony and holy communion.

Following this year’s Uganda Martyrs Day service in Waltham, celebrants were treated to a sumptuous dinner at the Burlington Marriott Hotel, with a ceremony to recognize the various dignitaries present, followed by entertainment.Special recognition and mention was made of the outgoing leadership and the organizing committee led by Mr. Emmanuel Kivumbi.

Other speakers included Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of the Church of Uganda, Uganda Community Church representatives and the Kabaka’s representative in Boston, Owek Kato Kajubi. Bishop Ntagali was happy to see the life of the Uganda Martyrs commemorated many miles from home and encouraged believers to continuously emulate the lifestyle and testimony of the Uganda Martyrs. He also celebrated the harmonious relationship that exists between the Catholic and the Anglican Church in Boston.

Various entertainers took to the stage led by the Carolinas, an excellent Boston-based traditional dance troupe.. It was then time for the grand finale and here, Mesach Semakula, the renown Ugandan singer, did not disappoint, treating his audience to both past and new ballads.

Overall. the Uganda Martyrs Day 2017 was a hugely successful affair, thanks in part to the Boston Community that continues to support and turn out in big numbers. We salute the Uganda Catholic Community of Boston for the spirit of togetherness and unity.

About the Uganda Martyrs — The Uganda Martyrs are a group of 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic converts to Christianity in the Kingdom of Buganda, now part of Uganda, who were executed between 31 January 1885 and 27 January 1887. They were killed on orders of Mwanga II, the Kabaka (King) of Buganda. The deaths took place at a time when there was a three-way religious struggle for political influence at the Buganda Royal Court. The Catholic Church beatified the martyrs of its faith in 1920 and canonized them in 1964.

Ugandan Diaspora News now brings you both the highlights from the Church and the Reception in pictures. All photos appear courtesy of Ronnie Mayanja — enjoy!

[See image gallery at www.ugandandiasporanews.com]

UK Election | Hung Parliament for Britain as Theresa May’s Gamble Backfires

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 06/09/2017 - 09:27

The UK election has returned a hung parliament, with the BBC reporting no party can win a majority. Incumbent Prime Minister Theresa May has declared the UK needs “stability”, but has stopped short of saying she will stay on as leader of the Conservatives after the party lost seats in a general election meant to give her more authority in Brexit talks.

Source — ABC News

UCCB Event | The Uganda Martyrs Day Boston Celebrations – Sunday June 11th 2017

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 06/09/2017 - 08:20

News Flash — Ugandan Catholic Community of Boston will host its annual Uganda Martyrs Day Feast Celebrations in Waltham on Sunday June 11th starting with Sunday Mass at 1pm. The main celebrant this year will be the Most Rev. Robert K. Muhiirwa, the Bishop of Fort Portal Diocese who will be assisted by father Pastor Michael Nolan of St. Mary’s Church in Waltham and Father Michael Senfuma the Chaplain of the Uganda Catholic Community of Boston.

Venue for the church service will be Saint. Mary’s Church, located at 133 School Street, Waltham, Massachusetts. Other expected invited guests include the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali who will be visiting the Uganda Anglican community Boston.

Following the Church service this year’s Uganda Martyrs feast will be celebrated at dinner reception in the magnificent Marriott Hotel and Resort — located at One Mall Road Burlington, Massachusetts. Some of the main entertainment headliners will include Uganda’s renown artist – Meshach Semakula and some local talent from the Boston community. Ugandan Diaspora News is a proud partner of this annual event and will be in attendance to document the highlights of this year’s Uganda Martyrs Day Festivities!   Tell a friend and together lets show up in big numbers in support of the Uganda Catholic Community of Boston this Sunday.

CGTN Africa | China Officially Hands Over the SGR – Railway to Kenya

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 07:30

China officially handed over the Standard Gauge Railway to Kenya and President Uhuru Kenyatta was joined at the Port of Mombasa by dozens of top officials from the Chinese companies that helped build and fund the railway project. The handover ceremony included traditional dancing and singing to mark this momentous occasion.

The railway which started in Mombasa will eventually link up to the entire East African region. It’s been called a potential game changer for Kenya and the region. President Kenyatta left Mombasa station on Wednesday morning to take the inaugural train to Nairobi. Well, our team in Mombasa has been getting us more on the SGR, the projects that go with it, and the potential benefits. Here’s Ramah Nyang with more.

Source — CGTN Africa

Qatar Airways | Diplomatic Crisis – How it Affects Air Travel

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 06:45

Major airlines have suspended travel to and from Qatar amid diplomatic row – here are the details.
Al Jazeera — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain have cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar and say they will suspend air, sea and land transport with Qatar. The diplomatic rift has wreaked havoc with airlines in the region, with major long-haul carriers such as Doha-based Qatar Airways and Dubai’s Emirates suspending flights, leaving many passengers stranded at airports in the Gulf.

Several people have expressed concern on social media over disrupted travel, with images posted of travellers stranded at airports. Twitter user @FahadBuwazir posted a photograph which he said showed Qatari citizens stuck at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport.

How travel will be immediately affected?

Qatar Airways, on its website, said it has stopped flights to Saudi Arabia, starting at noon on Monday. A spokeswoman said it was unclear if the suspension would be extended. Qatar Airways flies to nine cities in Saudi Arabia. Qatar’s flag carrier has not yet said if there would be changes to flights to cities such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Cairo. Dubai’s Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways are suspending all flights to and from Doha, starting Tuesday morning.

Emirates, in a statement on its website, said its flights to and from Doha on Monday will operate as normal. Its last flight from Dubai to Doha will depart as EK847 at 02:30am on Tuesday. The last flight from Doha to Dubai will depart as EK848 at 3:50am on Tuesday.

Etihad Airways’ last flight from Abu Dhabi to Doha will depart as EY391 at 9:35pm, while the last flight from Doha to Abu Dhabi will depart as EY398 at 10:50pm on Monday, the airline said in a statement.

Both airlines are offering full refunds on unused tickets and free rebooking to alternate cities to customers booked on flights to and from Doha. The carriers operate four daily return flights to Doha.

FlyDubai, a Dubai-based budget carrier, said it is cancelling its flights to Qatar beginning on Tuesday.

Air Arabia, a Sharjah-based carrier, said its last outbound flight from Sharjah to Doha will depart at 6:30pm on Monday, while the last inbound flight from Doha to Sharjah will depart at 7:25pm local time.

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), in a Twitter post, said it has cancelled all flights to Qatar from Monday morning onwards.

Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national carrier, said its daily service between Manama and Doha will be suspended until further notice. Its last flight from Bahrain to Doha, GF530, will depart at 8:55pm and its final flight from Doha to Bahrain, GF531, will depart at 10:40pm local time on Monday. 

Egypt’s flag carrier, Egypt Air, has delayed its flights to and from Doha on Monday. The country’s ministry of aviation said it will “halt all flights between Egypt and Qatar and close off Egyptian airspace to Qatari aircrafts that seek to land or pass through” beginning on Tuesday at 04:00GMT. 

At the time of publishing, it was not clear whether airlines of the Maldives, which also joined the measures against Qatar, planned to suspend flights. Its main opposition party, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), in a statement warned any restriction “will cause huge disruption to the tourism sector”. 

What are the likely implications of the new restrictions?

Many analysts and experts have said the current travel disruptions are “unprecedented”.  John Strickland, a UK-based aviation consultant, told Al Jazeera the announcement “came as quite a shock” to the industry. “There’s been disruptions in the region before, such as during the Gulf War,” Strickland said. “Flights had to be re-routed, but I cannot think of anything comparable to the current events.” Alan Peaford, editor-in-chief of Aerospace Magazine, like Strickland, said Qatar airways will see greatest impact. 

“The real problem would be if airspace closes. Not just for Qatar Airways passengers, but also for cargo, like food and fresh fruit that is flown into the country,” Peaford told Al Jazeera.  He added that there are two main air routes in and out of Qatar – over Saudi Arabia and Bahrain with the latter controlling most of the Gulf air space. 

“If Qatar is banned, I can’t see a way out of the country for Qatari aircraft,” he added.  Saj Ahmad, an analyst with London-Based Strategic Aero Research, told Khaleej Times that the “damage here isn’t a one-way street”.  

He said that airlines “like Emirates, FlyDubai and Etihad out of Abu Dhabi will end up reeling from the sudden collapse of traffic rights”. 

The long term-effects “are far from clear”, Ahmad said. “This has the potential to be a long and drawn-out affair.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Buganda Bumu Day Two | BBNAC Atlanta Convention Resolutions and Highlights in Pictures

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 06/04/2017 - 22:20

Day Two of the Buganda Bumu Convention was underway on the Sunday starting with a church service led by  Dr.Rev. Alex Kasirye-Musoke of the Anglican church of Uganda – Boston.  Later it was back to more cultural panel discussions that included Kojja and Ssenga sessions. The youth also held their breakout meetings led by John Ssemanda of the Breaking Barriers initiative. 

Other highlights including a BBNAC executive meeting that also voted the U.S. Capital of Washington DC as the next Buganda Bumu convention host city in 2019.  As the evening set it it was time for the grand finale dinner that saw the official closing ceremonies led by the Omumbejja Joan Nassolo Tebattagwabwe who had delivered the Kabaka’s message to the convention attendees the day before officially close the event.  

 

She was then followed by the Kingdom Premier Owek. Charles Peter Mayiga who delivered an hour long speech articulating the changes and progress in the Kingdom of Buganda today.

Among those traveling with the Prime Minister were heads of royals institutions like the Majestic Brands, Buganda Land Board, Buganda Investment Body,  Nabagereka Foundation, Clan heads and those responsible for the royal Kingdom protocol. The government Chief Whip — Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa also attended the event and was accompanied by members of Buganda caucus in Parliament.

After a series of speeches and introductions it was then time for dinner and the evening entertainment. Uganda’s jazz maestro Isaiah Katumwa treated guests to some soulful jazz tunes before renown kingdom loyalist Meshach Semakula took to the stage with the his royal kingdom anthem ‘ka nyimbire omutanda’ that had every one on the dance floor. DJs Core and Benazo did not disappoint treating the audience to some old skool ballads.

 

 

We salute the Agali Awaamu Atlanta chapter together with the BBNAC executive for successful organizing the second Biennial Buganda Bumu North American convention that attracted more than 500 delegates.

As the organizers plan to host the next convention in Washington DC areas of opportunity should include better time management, a reduction in the number of panels, inclusion of feedback sessions, add kiganda cultural foods, cutting edge entertainment, a better marketing strategy that involves aggressive social media campaigns and the introduction of a Buganda Diaspora Sacco/Development Fund.

The following resolutions were adopted after the successful conclusion of the Second Buganda Bumu North American Convention (BBNAC) held from May 26th through the 28th 2017, in Atlanta Georgia.

  • We, the people of Buganda and all of our friends who have attended the 2017 BBNAC convention here in Atlanta Georgia, are grateful to Ssaabasajja Kabaka, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, for his inspiring message supporting the objectives of BBNAC and wishing all of us a successful and productive convention.  Ssaabasajja Kabaka’s message was delivered by Princess Joan Nnassolo Tebattagwabwe.
  • We are very grateful to Ssaabasajja Kabaka for his leadership and support for BBNAC causes, through his representatives (Ababaka) in North America.  Ssaabasajja Kabaka’s representatives play a very important role in strengthening our communities here in North America.
  • It is our humble request and wish that Ssaabasajja Kabaka to participates in our next convention scheduled for Friday May 24th through the 26th, 2019, in Washington DC.
  • We are very grateful for the leadership of Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga and the great work that he has done and continues to do for the continued holistic development of Nnyaffe Buganda and her people.
  • We are very grateful to the leaders of Agali Awamu Atlanta for hosting the 2017 BBNAC convention.  We are also grateful to the leaders of BBNAC for working closely with Agali Awamu leadership to make this event a success.
  • We pledge to continue working hard to educate the Youth and children in our community about our cultural norms, customs, and our language, — Luganda.
  • We also pledge to encourage the Youth to participate in all endeavors and projects planned for the continued development of our homeland, Buganda.
  • We in the leadership of BBNAC pledge to strive to educate everyone in our communities about the benefits of obtaining life insurance, and participating in productive investment for the future.
  • We welcome and support the Buganda government initiatives and programs relating to land ownership in Buganda, which have been explained to us in this convention by Buganda government officials.

Opinion | The Cost of the Peace – Why Bribing MPs to Lift Age Limits is Not a Hare-Brained Idea

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 06/04/2017 - 19:20

By Angelo Izama — The purging of age limits from the Uganda constitution will cost approximately $50 million. This is what MPs are demanding from the NRM according to several interviews – and the gravy rumour mill at Parliament Avenue. Divided up, most MPs will take home at least $100K with regional political kingpins and fixers raking in as much as $300K says one source.

This of course is not about money. It is about the peace.

The purging of age limits from the constitution is the latest ruse to extend the status quo under President Yoweri Museveni in the face of many poor alternatives. They include an on-and-off “process” of national dialogue and the prospect of another disruptive election in three years time.

Not one of these alternatives promises a peaceful root and branch reform of Uganda’s top-heavy personalized political system of government. Most proposals are designed as short-term relief to prevent potential chaos.

It is against this cast of options that the money for lifting of age-limits should be seen.

Even some of the rumoured proposals for constitutional review (through a review commission that may be chaired by Hon. Mwesigwa Rukutana) such as the abolition of adult suffrage for president to allow a fully fledged parliamentary system may not go as far as Uganda needs to go.

This is partly because the conditions for an orderly transition are absent. They may include a civilian political culture, meaningful political competition that goes beyond the scramble for privileges amongst the elite, a non-partisan state security apparatus, an effective civil service and finally leaders who are willing to put the national interest beyond their own careers.

Personally I rather no more elections are held save for a constituent assembly to conduct the deep reforms the country needs to set it on a new path. Faced with such bad choices one must look rationally at if $50 million to secure the peace longer is such a bad idea.

There are undeclared but real uncertainties that could follow a departure of President Museveni as head of state and government, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Our history of violence bears witness to what disorderly transfers of power entail.

Aside from a potential full breakdown of public order the underlying ethnic tensions – the bane of political violence in the country are barely hidden today on the street exacerbated as they have by slow economic growth since 2008. In the ensuing period inequalities have been laid bare as privileges become concentrated on a state based elite whose power as been drawn partly from securing the presidency and expanding it.

Yoweri Museveni is, as Gen. David Tinyefuza now Sejusa once put it, the centre of gravity of the state. Since the return of multi-party politics, the entire enterprise that is the government has been renewed every five years by his re-election. At every election by returning him to office Ugandans are effectively renewing the license under which the current peace prevails.

Since the return of parties, which coincided, with the lifting of term limits the government has been even more centred on the presidency. That he does not rule by decree (and he has issued many directives with similar effect) is the contradiction that is Uganda’s hybrid democracy.

It is neither fully autocratic nor fully democratic. The country is divided along the lines of those who think democracy is weighed down by the imperial presidency and many who genuinely feel that is the democratic system itself that is weighing down a decent form of personal rule under President Yoweri Museveni.

This is the state of the peace.

Either way- if the centre of gravity shifts, the resulting weightlessness will cause a bloody collision between Uganda’s incomplete parts. For $50 million we get to pretend a little longer that we are governed by consent and put on our democratic lipstick like pigs dodging the slaughter on market day.

The inevitable will eventually happen.

However the option of cash for peace, as morally questionable as it is represents, a realistic anesthesia for Uganda’s broken political system. There have been attempts to at a puritanical revival of the civil service by weaponizing evangelical professionals vetted politically by elite networks keen on purging the state of its lethargy and inertia. However these islands of intervention though effective in some sectors like revenue collection, roads and others look more like an extension of political patronage with clear political ends – hardly for God and Country.

Today the ideological bankruptcy of the centre, which governs, is matched only by the idolatry of money in politics. It is a perverted wealth gospel that is hard to escape and summed up in the nationally declared goal of “ middle income”.

It may help to note that indeed there is no real ideological competition in the country. What exists is a single establishment that straddles both the elected government and its opposition.

The symbolism of a single, if divided, political family could not have been stronger than the gathering at the funeral of the late Boniface Byanyima. There was his daughter Winnie, a one-time supporter of Yoweri Museveni and close confidant who was accompanied by her husband Dr. Kiiza Besigye, the man who has led the charge that Museveni must go for nearly 20 years.

Also present amongst the many representatives of the government and the opposition was Foreign Affairs Minister – a key figure in state-business relations who is also the father-in-law to President.

The establishment is today homogenous not simply in terms of geography or because most of its leaders are from the west of the country or that it is made up of compatriots with the same worldview. It is also homogenous because it occupies a historical moment where money has never been as important to Ugandan political life.

Over the past three elections, especially since terms limits were controversially lifted from the constitution in 2005 for a fraction of what is being mooted here, Uganda went from money in politics to politics of money.

Perhaps it was what Dr. Ezra Suruma, former Finance Minister, said to me (in 2005) as being the new ideology of ‘pragmatism” or put differently that the end justifies the means.

Aspiring candidates for Member of Parliament calculate their chances of winning at the poll in terms of spend and can be expected to view their service when in office in terms of earnings. The average constituency seat cost about $100 thousand in the last election though in some heavily contested races deep-pocketed competitors may have dropped as much as $400-500K.

One survey of 113 MPs from the 10th Parliament about campaign funds done before the 2016 elections estimated their collective spending for primary and general elections at Shs 24, 745, 700,000 (approx. $7 million). Once in office MPs whose chances to stay for a second term have been reducing by over 60% every election since 2006 have a choice – to build a war chest for the next race or cash in now.

A recent leaked parliamentary payroll showed many MPs – in both the NRM and the rest struggling with debts with some going home with less than Shs 15,000 of their over 20 million gross takings. Some ministers took home less than Shs 100,000 in March 2017.

The commodification of public service through the commercialization of public service is near complete. So should it really be offensive that for $50 million this restive peace can be extended for a bit longer?

Source — Angeloizama.com 

World Remit | Diaspora Instant Mobile Money Transfer Made Easy

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 07:07

World Remit recently partnered with the Buganda community in the Diaspora to allow for easy transfer funds between families both at home and abroad. When you want to send money home to your friends and family in Uganda, WorldRemit makes it easy for you. We also make it fast, safe and low cost. Plus, we offer you a choice of ways to send money there: DIASPORA PROMO CODE – UGANDA17

Cash pickups – send to any branch of:

Bank transferssend to any bank account in Uganda

Mobile Money transfers – send to:

Airtime top-ups – top-up prepaid mobile phone credits to a variety of mobile operators

From Arua to Kabale, WorldRemit has Uganda covered.

  • The fast, simple way to send money to friends and family
  • Industry-leading payment security

How to send money to Uganda
1. Choose how you want to send: select mobile money, cash pickup, bank deposit or airtime top-up, and enter the amount you want to send. You’ll see our low fees and exchange rate up front.
2. Enter your recipient’s details: choose from a list of people you’ve sent to in the past, or add a new recipient.
3. Pay for the transfer: both you and the recipient will get notifications by SMS and email when the money is sent and received.

Visit our Help page for more info on money transfers to Uganda —  https://www.worldremit.com/

Events | The Ugandan Diaspora Award Nominations For 2017 Now Open

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 05:34

The Uganda Diaspora Network is a forum aimed at bringing together Ugandans who live and work abroad by celebrating their individual contributions overseas and encouraging them to give of their time, talents, ideas, expertise whilst inspiring the next generation of Ugandans to achieve and accomplish greater success. (www.ugandandiaspora.com)

Now in its seventh year the network has recognized and celebrated notable Ugandans that have included the first African American flight director for NASA, the CEO of SABC TV in South Africa, the Executive Director of OXFAM International, a Lady Justice from the International Criminal Court, the Managing Editor VOA’s English to Africa Service, the Regional Director of the World Bank in charge of Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia all of whom hail from Uganda.

The Ugandan Diaspora Network under the patronage of Dr. Maggie Kigozi organizes an annual Diaspora Social Networking Gala and a Diaspora Business Breakfast that airs on NBS Television a media partner station. The Next Diaspora Social Networking Award Gala will be held on Friday 30th December 2017 starting from 7pm at the Kampala Serena hotel Victoria ballroom. The gala is always proceeded by a Diaspora Business Breakfast on Thursday Dec 29th 2017 starting from 10am at Katonga Hall.

For more information please email – ugandandiasporanews@gmail.com or  info@ugandandiaspora.com 

BBNAC | Buganda Bumu North American Convention Day One Pictorial – Atlanta, 26th – May 29th 2017

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 05/28/2017 - 19:43

BBNAC Atlanta 2017 – The long awaited second Buganda Bumu Biennial convention kicked off in Atlanta, Georgia on friday with the arrival of a powerful delegation from the Buganda Kingdom led by Owek. Charles Peter Mayiga and Princess Joan Nassolo Tebattagwabwe.

The Kabaka’s message was delivered at the opening ceremony by Omumbejja Joan Nassolo Tebattagwabwe after the welcome remarks from the Katikiro of Buganda. The convention this year attracted more than 450 registered attendees many of these kept after arriving after major flight delays on one of America’s busiest holiday weekends.

After various panel discussions, a working lunch and evening presentations the night ended with great entertainment line up from artists Roy Kapale, Saava Karim and Mesach Semakula. This year’s event attracted sponsors from World Remit, UAP Diaspora Insurance, Waves Housing and Turkish Airlines.

Ugandan Diaspora News Now brings you the first batch of the day one in pictures. Full report to follow soon all images appear courtesy of Ronnie Mayanja and may only be used by express written permission.

[See image gallery at www.ugandandiasporanews.com]

UAP DIASPORA CONNECT | HEALTH INSURANCE FOR YOUR LOVED ONES IN UGANDA

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 22:10

How do I sign up for cover?

Let UAP-Old Mutual know your dependents’ names. age and contact. Ages 0-65 years are covered. If on cover at 65 years. it can be extended to 70 years.

How can my dependents access Coverage:

Each insured member would be issued a Smart card, which they can present at the Health facility to obtain treatment. The card is biometric and no photos required.

Where can I get Treatment?

The Clinic At the Mall for dependents in Kampala. In addition a panel of trusted service providers across the country and in East Africa

What Happens in case of an emergency and there is no UAP appointed provider nearby?

Your health is our priority. Visit the nearest hospital or clinic and then inform us within 48 hours.

How do I pay premiums?

Premiums are payable through our bank account. Online payments using major credt cards will also be available.

Other related benefits?

A funeral expense coverage available through APLUS. Quarterly utilization updates

For more information and detail contact:

Dr. George Mutema

513-884- 5774

gmutema@gmail.com 

See details below to learn more about the Clinic at the mall.

http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2015/02/04/q-a-meet-dr-nandawula-kanyerezi-mutema-m-d-a-diaspora-returnee-who-recently-opened-a-state-of-the-art-clinic-at-the-mall/

The Observer | Museveni extends Sim card Registration to August 30th 2017

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 20:44

President Museveni has ‘agreed’ to have the Sim card verification exercise extended by at least an extra 3 months. Since Saturday last week, May 20, telecoms switched off unverified Sim cards following the expiry of the registration exercise. The registration exercised has been marred with controversies.

Several subscribers have complained that even validated Sim cards were switched off and unverified ones kept on. Now in a U-turn, Museveni said he has agreed to the extension following appeals from members of parliament of his ruling party, NRM.

Museveni, at the expiry of the May 19 deadline and the passing of a resolution by MPs that extended the deadline by at least a year that minister of information and communications technology, Frank Tumwebaze defied. Then Museveni said he did not support any extension and asked telecoms to switch unverified Sim cards in the interest of national security.

To verify their Sim cards, Ugandans were required to submit their national identity card number (NINs) while foreigners were required to use their passports. To avoid the switch off, some subscribers without national IDs have used other people’s NINs to register their Sim cards since the process of acquiring IDs had become too cumbersome.

The latest extension is the third following an earlier one-week deadline that was later extended by another month.

Source — The Observer

The Class of 2017 | Facebook Founder and Harvard Dropout, Mark Zuckerberg to Receive Honorary Degree From his Alma Mater

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 04:18

Harvard Gazette — Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, the social networking platform widely credited with transforming how almost 1.9 billion people interact, will be the featured speaker at the Afternoon Program of Harvard’s 366th Commencement on May 25.

“Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership has profoundly altered the nature of social engagement worldwide. Few inventions in modern times can rival Facebook in its far-reaching impact on how people around the globe interact with one another,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “And few individuals can rival Mark Zuckerberg in his drive to change our world through the innovative use of technology, as well as his commitment to advance science, enhance education, and expand opportunity through the pursuit of philanthropy.

“I greatly look forward to welcoming Mark back to Harvard on Commencement day,” Faust continued.

Born in White Plains, N.Y., in 1984, Zuckerberg grew up in nearby Dobbs Ferry. By the time he was in middle school he was already writing software, including a program called “ZuckNet” which he created for his father’s dental practice. Later, still a teenager, he built a platform called Synapse Media Player that used machine learning to analyze a user’s listening preferences. The program was recognized by PC Magazine and earned him job offers from Microsoft and AOL.

Zuckerberg went on to graduate from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, where he combined his talents for math and science with interests in classics and fencing.

He enrolled in Harvard College in 2002 as a member of the Class of 2006. While he was a sophomore in Kirkland House, he and a group of friends created a platform called thefacebook.com, initially designed as a social networking website for Harvard students and then expanded to other campuses. The website quickly gained widespread popularity, catching the attention of investors. Following his sophomore year, Zuckerberg and his cohorts moved to Palo Alto, Calif., to rebrand their fledgling company, now called Facebook, as a global service. Zuckerberg originally intended to return to Harvard, but the immediate success of the enterprise led him to devote his full energy to the company.

As the popularity of the network grew, it was expanded to universities outside the United States, and in 2006 was extended beyond educational institutions to anyone with a registered email address. Since then, Facebook has grown to become the top social media platform.

Since launching Facebook, Zuckerberg has received many honors. In 2010, Time magazine named him Person of the Year, and Vanity Fair magazine listed him among “the top 100 most influential people of the information age.” In 2016, Forbes magazine named him among its top 10 “World’s Most Powerful People.”

Zuckerberg has also emerged as a major philanthropist, having pledged to direct tens of billions of dollars to a range of causes. Over their lifetimes, he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician and 2007 Harvard College graduate, have pledged to donate 99 percent of their Facebook shares through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), which is committed to advancing human potential and promoting equal opportunity. Through their work with CZI, they have pledged to spend more than $3 billion over the next decade to work with scientists, doctors, engineers, and universities to cure, prevent, or manage diseases.

They have focused on bringing the power of personalized learning to students across the country and are working with governments and other policymakers to accomplish these ambitious goals. Zuckerberg and Chan’s philanthropy has also included donations to schools and educational organizations across the Bay Area, San Francisco General Hospital, and the Centers for Disease Control.

“Mark Zuckerberg understands the power of connection, and the importance of creating community,” said Martin Grasso, president of the Harvard Alumni Association. “Harvard alumni and students will be eager for this opportunity to hear from someone who through hard work and dedication has transformed the way we connect to each other and the world.”

Zuckerberg will speak during the Afternoon Program at the annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association, held in Harvard Yard’s Tercentenary Theatre between Widener Library and the Memorial Church.

For a full schedule of Commencement Week events, visit its website.

Source — Harvard Gazette!

Opinion | How Ugandans can become billionaires by 2021 — Prof. Samuel Sejjaaka

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 05/21/2017 - 08:10
By Samuel Sejjaaka — One of my favourite sayings is ‘do not ask for too much, the gods might just give it to you.’ Our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters asked for financial freedom and wealth and they became zillionaires! You see it never rains but pours. If you are feeling hard done by, you ask for rain and viola, the gods will send floods to wash away your troubles. The problem with the gods answering your prayers is always the unintended consequences.

We Ugandans have been trying out different efforts to get us to middle income status. The most recent ones include ‘bonna bagagawale’ (let them all grow rich) and ‘Operation Wealth Creation’. What all these schemes have in common is they call for hard work. Now that is not a very Ugandan ethos and those schemes seem to have run into the ground. So how then, how can we Ugandans become billionaires by 2021, without breaking sweat? We can do this by practicing a little populism. Add in a bit of praise for the powers above and we will be on the way to using wheelbarrows to carry our cash around.

This billionaire project started innocuously but is gathering pace. First, our honourable MPs legislated not to charge rent in dollars. This sounds logical, especially since most of us don’t earn in dollars. Next the good minister of Trade proposed price caps on sugar. Another good move, because sugar is critical to national development. But government doesn’t produce sugar, so why would she try to impose price controls on producers and importers? Because they are ‘cheating’ the voters, stupid!
These things have a way of snowballing.

The first victim is always the truth. But we live in a ‘post-truth world’. The popular always trumps (pun intended) the logical. Now MP Muhammad Nsereko intends to draft a private members Bill to; a) cap bank interest rates, b) provide financial bailouts, c) impose rent restrictions on land lords, d) decriminalise commission of judgement debtors to civil prison and e) regulate repatriation of profits by foreign investors. To borrow the language of the Speaker of Parliament, if this Bill is ever written, it will have to be called ‘stupid’.

But we are in the age of stupid. Hardheaded economics has given way to political expedience. This ‘stupid’ Bill may yet gain mileage for purposes of getting past 2021. We have been here before. During the 1972 ‘economic war’, Amin’s government imposed artificial price controls on the economy. The net effect of these controls was the creation of the black market (‘Kibanda’). Consumer goods disappeared and queues/chits became the order of the day. Amin and his henchmen launched an operation for find Mr ‘Forex’ and imprison him. The rest is history. But again as they say, ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’.

While there have been serious issues with liberalisation, it is absolutely unconscionable that we would be proposing retrogressive measures to address these issues. We need to be addressing the causes of these economic hardships as opposed to the symptoms. Capping interest rates in the midst of fiscal indiscipline won’t work. Rent restrictions are in total disregard of demand and supply factors. Bailing out failed businesses is akin to choosing winners and losers.

These failed businesses should be buried and bulls roasted at their funerals. If you don’t want foreign companies to repatriate profits, build Ugandan businesses and give them a piece of the action. But never say never. These things may come to pass. In the process of their passage, the Shilling will depreciate, dollars will become scarce and foreign direct investment will dry out. Before you know it, we like our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters, will become billionaires. Nice you might say but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Another of my favourite sayings is that ‘life is stranger than fiction’.

Prof Sejjaaka is country team leader at Abacus Business School. sejjaaka@gmail.com
@samuelsejjaaka

Source — Daily Monitor

Travel Advisory | Buganda Bumu Memorial Day Weekend Convention Count Down – Atlanta!

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 05/20/2017 - 22:52
Convention Theme The Theme of the Convention is: “Strengthen Luganda and invest in health and economic development.”
“Tunyweeze eby’Obuwangwa, eby’Obulamu, n’Okwekulaakulanya.” The City – Atlanta, GA  Come experience Atlanta’s rich cultural history and world-class attractions. Some of these sites include the World of Coca-Cola museum, the MLK National Historic Site, the CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park, and the Georgia Aquarium. The Venue The Convention will be held at the Westin Perimeter North, situated on a private lake less than 30 minutes from downtown Atlanta, just minutes from Perimeter area businesses, shopping and dining. Booking and Registration

Register Early and take advantage of early pricing. Click here to book a room at a special rate. You can also register by downloading and filling out this form:

Mesach Semakula will be one of the Convention headliners in Atlanta

Major Headliners — Mesach Semakula and Isaiah Katumwa

The BBNAC has arranged two guided bus tours of Atlanta at a cost of $25/person.  These tours will take place on Friday, May 26, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. and Monday, May 29, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. 

Based on participant desires, there will be stops made at 2 or 3 of the attractions noted above.  A nominal charge for entry will be extra.  Please book your seat in advance by calling one of the following contacts or send us email;  BBNAC Secretariat — bugandabumu.BBNAC@gmail.com
Contacts:

   Margaret Kanyike        (706) 528-7094      Damali Lwanga        (678) 662-0630     Wycliffe Lule-Musoke        (908) 591-9965 
 

The Observer Editorial | Kudos to Parliament for passing law ending payment of rent in dollars

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 06:18

Last week, parliament passed a piece of legislation that did not get a lot of media attention but must have, nonetheless, put smiles on the faces of many tenants of commercial properties, especially in the capital Kampala.

This new law, which is formally called the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2017, has sections that bar property owners in any part of Uganda from charging rent in foreign currency.

According to the law, which is awaiting President Museveni’s signature before it can be implemented, all rental agreements must be executed using the Uganda shilling.

If President Museveni assents to this law, then it will bring to a halt the now- prevalent tendency by property owners in Kampala to charge rent for commercial space in foreign currency, of which the most commonly preferred is dollars.

This practice works against the economy on both micro and macro levels. At the micro level, tenants lose money on a monthly basis since they have to change their earnings from shillings to foreign currencies such as dollars in order to pay rent, in most cases, to fellow Ugandans.

Secondly, the practice constantly weighs down the Uganda shilling in its battle to keep up with foreign currencies. This contributes to regular depreciation of the shilling, thereby reducing the purchasing power of our currency at home and its value on the global stage.

Although the passing of this law is likely to boost the shilling and, by ripple effect, the whole economy, some sections of our society are already up in arms against it.

Prominent property owners in Kampala say they will petition the president not to assent to the law, so that they can continue with a practice that benefits a few and negatively affects many.

It is important, however, that President Museveni stands up to these property owners, respects the well-considered decision of parliament and signs a law that will take away some of the burden that tenants have faced for a long time.

Source — The Uganda Observer Editorial

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