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Daily Monitor | Opinion | If Eala Aspirants Have to Bribe MPs For Votes, What’s Left? By Charles Onyango-Obbo

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 04:36

Opinion — When I read in Daily Monitor that money was changing hands in the campaigns for what it called “the much coveted East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) seats”, I wondered why it took so long. The report said “votes in Parliament are up to the highest bidder with legislators demanding cash and other inducements in exchange for their vote.” That is what corruption and transactional politics leads to. People in power and influential positions steal elections and money, buy votes, bribe opponents to cross to their side, and when they are caught, they pay off the police and courts.

When the government or ruling party wants support for, especially, an unpopular measure, it bribes MPs. These monies come from funds that would have improved schools, health, infrastructure, or been invested to create jobs and all sorts of economic opportunities. The result is that the voters get nothing after elections. So they wisen up. With every other election, they demand to be paid upfront by the politicians, before they can vote for them.
The politicians now need even more money to win, so they borrow heavily, sell their precious property, and by the time they get to Parliament they are broke, and need to pay back their debts, build up funds to keep paying voters to remain behind them, and to run the next election.

If to pass every contentious Bill, and to amend the Constitution to give the President some president-for-life pass, MPs charge, it is not surprising that they would levy a fee on an Eala vote. The matter, Daily Monitor reported, is so serious that it has reached the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), prompting the party’s electoral commission chairman, Tanga Odoi, to wag a warning finger.
Though Tanga didn’t say it, he must know the wider political dangers of money entering into such things. Political parties have ideological goals, and use these positions in Eala to reward key constituencies, or to appease aggrieved groups, so that they can preserve the alliance that enables to win the next election. Money, messes all that up. The Eala member or parliamentarian with the money to buy votes, might not be the one who helps the party’s cause most.

For example, after the Rwenzururu “massacre”, the government might want to take a candidate from the area to Arusha as a peace gesture, but he could be broke. However, the one from Fort Portal, where it has no major political problem it needs to solve, might be the one with the money, and could win if you don’t force him to stand down (and make an enemy of him and his supporters), or raid State coffers and outspend him. The result is that you are spending money you never intended to, but also ensured that at the next vote in five years, the price of the Eala vote will go up. The cure to all this is not to commit the original sin. Not to eat the forbidden fruit, in the first place. For the NRM, that was 31 years ago. But all these corrupt goings on, should worry the leaders because it affects them the most, and perhaps in ways they didn’t expect.

Consider this. When the former Cuban leader Fidel Castro died last November, one of the stories that got so much play was that he survived more than 600 assassinations and coup attempts, most of them engineered by the US. That’s more than any leader in human history, some claimed. How was that possible? Broadly, because though Cuba was a poor country, and people needed money, their ideological and national commitments to the revolution were higher. If Castro had driven around in gold-plated cars and had six luxury jets, he wouldn’t have survived long. The thing is that when corruption is rampant like in Uganda, and money can reach the most unlikely places, national duty, loyalty, patriotism, and political commitment all soon come with a price.

Anyone entrusted with the safety of MPs, ministers, and even the President can easily betray or harm them, if their adversary pays enough. Soldiers guarding a critical dam, can look the other way if a terrorist wants to blow it up, as long as he pays them enough to make it worthwhile. That is the final stage in which corruption, becomes a national security threat. A country cannot be led by demons (figuratively speaking), and expect that its gates be guarded by saints, and its citizens will forever remain angels. The only question now is whether Uganda still has time to turn back, and avoid that final fall over the cliff.

Onyango-Obbo is the publisher of Africa data visualiser Africapedia.com and explainer site Roguechiefs.com. Twitter@cobbo3

Source — Daily Monitor

Ugandan Diaspora | Editorial | February 2017 | The Hypocrisy Of Trump’s Travel Ban

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 02/04/2017 - 17:07

Dear Readers,

Greetings and Welcome to February — Black History Month.

After just a couple of weeks in office President Trump has been true to his promise to shake things up, issuing executive orders whose ripple effects are bound to be felt across the globe.

In a pure departure from Obama’s appeasement policy, Trump is pandering to his conservative base which he knows won him the election and brought him to the White House. The latest political victory for the conservatives has come in form of the Supreme Court nomination that some see will be a compromise pick following the death of Justice Scalia last February. It largely expected that many of Trump’s nominees will be filibustered by the Democrats as a way to frustrate Trump but the Republican majority is expected to confirm many of these appointments.

While running for office Trump promised to “drain the swamp” but his appointments for Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of Education (as yet unconfirmed) have all been billionaires that have spent huge sums in support of Republicans.

Here are some facts that will help those following American politics to appreciate the issues behind the news. Rarely has a party been able to hold on to the White House following a two-terms presidency. This feat has only been accomplished once since 1950, when George H.W. Bush succeeded the highly popular Ronald Reagan in 1988.

In 2008 Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States, perhaps the most liberal President of modern times, after defeating Sen. John McCain. After what some felt was a tumultuous two terms for Bush 43 Americans were prepared for change. President Obama’s presidency came with some major policy changes that included greater rights for the LGBT movement. With Obama’s liberal agenda came consternation by the opposition over some of his policies on guns and healthcare. The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare has seen more than 20 million Americans get insured. However most Republicans seem determined to revoke this and fulfill a major campaign promise by President Trump.

The recent executive order on immigration put President Trump on a collision course with the Acting Attorney General and career diplomats in the State Department, some of who have now quit. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, appointed under Obama, was fired for refusing to implement the presidential ordinance and many immigration rights groups are up in arms over these anti-immigration policies.

The travel ban to the US for nationals of 7 Muslim countries appears to arise from recent terrorist massacres in Europe. Such incidents also helped to sway the Brexit vote and their effect has spread to the North America. A tweet by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau urging those rejected by the US to come to Canada, a country that derives its strength from diversity, was answered with a shooting at a Quebec City mosque.

For some the immigration ban seems a contradiction, coming as it does from a man who has had two foreigners for wives. Social media sites and other forums have pointed to the fact that the majority of the 9/11 terrorists came from madrasas in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan yet those countries, notable as breeding grounds for terrorism, are not included in Trump’s travel ban. But in breaking news as of February 4, a federal judge in Seattle has placed a has placed a temporary hold on the ban, marking the third time that a federal judge has interceded in the matter in less than a week.

Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the US border with Mexico and finance it with a 20% tax on imports from that country has created a fierce backlash that could degenerate into a trade war and even lead to an economic slump. Canada and Mexico as two of the top three US trading partners, ahead of the European Union, and many of the jobs in the US that pay a low wage, e.g., picking and processing fruit and janitorial work, are done by minorities and immigrants. Although President Trump pushes for Made in America his Trump fashion brand and that of his daughter Ivanka have been largely Made in China.

http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2017/01/29/press-release-department-of-homeland-security-statement-on-border-security-and-immigration-enforcement/

America is still coming to terms with all the changes that have dominated the first two weeks of the Trump Presidency. With the nomination to elevate 49-year-old conservative Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Trump, if the nomination is approved, would be fulfilling a major election promise sure to please many evangelicals, pro-lifers, pro gun rights and anti-LGBT supporters as such a new Supreme Court Justice will end the deadlock that has seen the Court evenly split on some issues following the vacancy left by the death of Justice Scalia.

Obama’s nominee for the vacant seat was never confirmed but with the Republicans controlling the White House, Congress and the Senate a confirmation for Gursuch would deal a bitter blow to the Democrats, who are still regrouping after the DNC Wikileaks scandals and Hillary’s defeat. A more Republican-aligned Supreme Court will also mean that some cases could be appealed to reverse previous rulings.

And so as we ride this wave of the Trump Presidency over the next four years we await to see the real impact of his decrees that are largely meant to appeal to his base of supporters and perhaps win him another term in the White House. A large part of the electorate however is fearful of Trump and his advisors in the West Wing. His lack of diplomacy and run-ins with world leaders has many on edge, as they feel that the leader of the free world is not living up to the standard befitting the POTUS.

Only time will tell if the radical views and the constituency driving the Trump presidency will be sustainable beyond the usual Fox News paranoia. Some have said Obama’s shoes would be hard to fill but it looks like Trump came to town with a new approach. Among other things, he is trying to shake up things in an attempt to impose term limits on Congress. Let’s buckle up for an era that is bound to be riddled with controversy and could change America forever.

As for the Dems, it remains to be seen if they can deliver a midterm shellacking to the Republicans that will slow or stop Trump’s momentum. With issues of race relations, immigration, healthcare, gun control and violence still looming Democrats will need some redemption and a new leader to steer the ship now that minority leader Nancy Pelosi looks more like a leader whose season has passed.

Turning to things back home, Uganda has a new list of ambassadors featuring the usual familiar political appointees whose political fortunes have diminished. Many career diplomats have largely been phased out in favor of cadres that support the regime, too often not qualified to serve as ambassadors. The time has come for the Uganda Parliament to reassess the impact and individual contributions of each of the previous ambassadors. We have continually been short-changed by these appointments, few of which help sell our image or result in tangible business opportunities for the Ugandan people.

http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2017/01/27/daily-monitor-museveni-appoints-dr-kiyonga-ugandas-ambassador-to-china/

Finally, wishing all my people a Happy Black History Month!

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” — Booker T. Washington

— Ronnie Mayanja Ugandan Diaspora News | www.ugandandiasporanews.com |
Ugandan Diaspora Network | Event website | www.ugandandiaspora.com |
US | +1-978-235-2459 | UG +256-773-212-007 | +256- 794-999-898 |
Skype | ronnie.mayanja | Twitter | @rmayanjahttp://www.linkedin.com/in/ronniemayanja

Press Release | Department of Homeland Security Statement on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 01/30/2017 - 05:59
Release Date: January 29, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security will continue to enforce all of President Trump’s Executive Orders in a manner that ensures the safety and security of the American people. President Trump’s Executive Orders remain in place—prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety. President Trump’s Executive Order affects a minor portion of international travelers, and is a first step towards reestablishing control over America’s borders and national security.

Approximately 80 million international travelers enter the United States every year. Yesterday, less than one percent of the more than 325,000 international air travelers who arrive every day were inconvenienced while enhanced security measures were implemented. These individuals went through enhanced security screenings and are being processed for entry to the United States, consistent with our immigration laws and judicial orders.

The Department of Homeland Security will faithfully execute the immigration laws, and we will treat all of those we encounter humanely and with professionalism. No foreign national in a foreign land, without ties to the United States, has any unfettered right to demand entry into the United States or to demand immigration benefits in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security will comply with judicial orders; faithfully enforce our immigration laws, and implement President Trump’s Executive Orders to ensure that those entering the United States do not pose a threat to our country or the American people.

See below — President Donald J. Trump’s White-House Executive Order.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/25/executive-order-border-security-and-immigration-enforcement-improvements

Source — Department of Homeland Security Press Statement.

Daily Monitor | NRM Day January 26th 2017 | I am not anyone’s servant, says Museveni

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 10:23

By GEORGE MUZOORA — MASINDI. President Yoweri Museveni yesterday declared that he is not a servant or an employee of anybody but a person who fights for himself and his beliefs.

“I am not an employee. I hear some people saying that I am their servant; I am not a servant of anybody. I am a freedom fighter; that is why I do what I do. I don’t do it because I am your servant; I am not your servant. I am just a freedom fighter; I am fighting for myself, for my belief; that’s how I come in. If anybody thinks you gave me a job, he is deceiving himself. I am just a freedom fighter whom you thought could help you also,” he said. The President made the remarks in Masindi Town yesterday while presiding over NRA/M Day celebrations to mark his 31 years in power.

Dr Kizza Besigye, a four-time presidential contestant, has repeatedly said Mr Museveni, by the virtue of being president, is a servant of the people. Such views are misplaced, Mr Museveni said, backpedaling from his 1986 inaugural speech in which he said the government must be a servant of citizens.

Yesterday, the President cautioned teachers and health workers to stop being money-minded and scouting for jobs. Citing a Nakawuka Health Centre IV employee he said stays in Jinja, about 90 kilometres away over lack of staff housing, the President said:

“For us we stay in grass-thatched houses and work. Lack of good accommodation is an employee mentality, personally I am not an employee…,” Museveni said. He also said the government’s priority in the coming years is to concentrate on reducing imports, worth $7b, and increase exports that currently fetch only $5b.

“It does not make sense to import products which can be made locally,” he said. He said government is committing money into the Innovation Fund, Uganda Development Bank and Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOs) to support local processing and manufacturing.

“Imagine Uganda is importing furniture from China yet we have timber from Budongo. Such items can be made locally,” Mr Museven implored. The President promised to build a shelter to house a workshop and showroom for furniture dealers in Nsambya, Kireka and Ku Bbiri suburbs; all Kampala city suburbs.

“All those people are manufacturers who need to be assisted with common user machines and showrooms so that we can eliminate importation of furniture,” he said. The President also said pumping oil from the ground is another government priority. He said Uganda discovered oil in 2006 before Ghana which has now moved ahead and is already pumping their oil.

He, however, said government and other key players have agreed on major points including how much oil will be pumped, construction of the refinery, revenue sharing and the oil pipeline and where it should pass. According to President Museveni, government has implemented 10 per cent budget cuts in all sectors to facilitate infrastructural development mainly roads which will support oil production.

“There should not be any argument on that because we must do all the roads and railway to facilitate oil production,” he said, adding when Ugandans starts producing oil, the begging for foreign aid will stop. The President said he wants to build the country’s financial base using revenue from oil. He said once Uganda begins selling oil, it will earn over $2 billion when the price of oil is down and $4 billion dollars when the prices go up per year.

“Please everybody, let us get our oil and gas out. Let us do anything possible to achieve that,” he said. Mr Museveni also highlighted on Operation Wealth Creation programme, saying it was not meant to handle all problems in agriculture but to promote food security and commercial farming.

He however said in the urban areas, there is need to promote small-scale manufacturing to increase exports and reduce on imports. On education and health, Museveni said there is need to reform the curriculum. He admitted there is a big gap in education.

“We pledged one primary school per parish, one secondary school per sub-county, one technical school per constituency which we have not yet fulfilled,” he said in regard to the health sector. He commended the people of Masindi for their contribution during the NRA guerrilla struggle. “You gave support by giving us your children, food and information which helped us win battles in Masindi, Hoima, Biiso and other areas,” he said.

Earlier, he had commissioned his ruling party’s monthly newsletter code-named NRM Lense. “It is my pleasure to launch an NRM paper because many people are calling our party dumb,” he said, adding that NRM has now come out and will start speaking through its newspaper.

Museveni’s Qoutes
“I am just a freedom fighter; I am fighting for myself, my beliefs,..If anybody thinks you gave me a job, he is deceiving himself.
January 26, 2017

“The sovereign power in the land must be the population, not the government. The government should not be the master, but the servant of the people.”
January 29, 1986

Source — Daily Monitor.

Read President Museveni’s Full Liberation Day Speech January 26th 1986 —  http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2015/01/26/liberation-day-revisiting-president-musevenis-inaugural-fundamental-change-speech-29-years-later/

Reuters | Uganda’s Crane Bank Assets, Liabilities Transferred to DFCU – Central Bank

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 07:33

Reuters — Jan 27 The assets and liabilities of Uganda’s Crane Bank, which was put into receivership, have been transferred to dfcu, another mid-tier institution, the central bank said on Friday.

The Bank of Uganda said in October it had taken management control of Crane Bank because it lacked sufficient capital and posed a systemic risk to the financial system.

Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile told a news conference an external auditor found Crane Bank’s liabilities exceeded assets, rendering it insolvent.

“Bank of Uganda has now transferred the liabilities, including the deposits, of Crane Bank to dfcu Bank Limited and in consideration of that transfer of liabilities has conveyed to dfcu Bank, Crane Bank’s assets,” he said in a statement.

dfcu Bank reported profit before tax of 46.92 billion shillings for 2015 and total assets of 1.651 trillion shillings ($460.53 million) at the end of 2015.

The bank, which was listed in 2004, says its core businesses are consumer banking, development and institutional financing and treasury.

Crane Bank, set up in 1995, offered corporate and retail services, with a focus on micro, small and medium-sized businesses. Its 2015 report said the bank was controlled by businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, who had 48.67 percent of voting rights. Forbes listed him as one of Africa’s 50 richest men.

See full statement from the Bank of Uganda website below. https://www.bou.or.ug/bou/bou-downloads/press_releases/2017/Jan/DFCU-Bank-Limited-takes-over-Crane-bank-Limited.pdf

($1 = 3,585.0000 Ugandan shillings)

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; writing by Edmund Blair; editing by Susan Thomas)

Daily Monitor | Museveni Appoints Dr Kiyonga Uganda’s Ambassador to China

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 01/27/2017 - 16:13

Dr Chrispus Kyonga has been appointed new Uganda’s ambassador to China

By Job Bwire — President Museveni has appointed 37 new ambassadors, including former defence minister, Dr Chrispus Kiyonga who has been sent to China. Dr Kiyonga replaces Charles Wagidoso.

According to a statement issued by senior presidential press secretary Mr Don Wanyama, the list of names of newly appointed ambassadors/heads of mission will be sent to parliament for consideration and approval.

“Pursuant to Article 122 (1) of the Constitution, the President has appointed the following Ambassadors and Heads of Diplomatic missions,” reads part of the statement.

See full list below;
1. Brig. Ronnie Balya – JUBA
2. Kibedi Zake Wanume – COPENHAGEN
3. James Kinobe – KHARTOUM
4. Prof Sam Turyamuhika – MOGADISHU
5. Mubiru Stephen – ANKARA
6. James Mbahimba – KINSHASA
7. Onyanga Aparr Christopher – GENEVA
8. Nelson Ocheger – ABUJA
9. Dr Kiyonga Chrispus – BEIJING
10. Hyuha Samali Dorothy – KUALA LUMPUR
11. Wonekha Oliver – KIGALI
12. Sam Maale- CAIRO
13. Olwa Johnson Agara – MOSCOW
14. Nimisha Jayant Madhvani – ABU DHABI
15. Nduhura Richard – PARIS
16. Nsambu Alintuma – ALGIERS
17. Betty Akech Okullu – TOKYO
18. Katende Mull Sebujja – WASHINGTON
19. Maj Gen. Matayo Kyaligonza – BUJUMBURA
20. Moto Julius Peter – LONDON
21. Blaak Mirjam – BRUSSELS
22. Solomon Rutega – GUANGZHOU
23. Grace Akello – NEW DELHI
24. Phoebe Otaala – NAIROBI
25. Tibaleka Marcel – BERLIN
26. Napeyok Elizabeth Paula – ROME
27. Dr Kisuule Ahmed – RIYADH
28. Rebecca Otengo – ADDIS ABABA
29. Ruth Aceng – OTTAWA
30. Prof. Joyce Kikafunda – CANBERRA
31. Nekesa Barbara Oundo – SOUTH AFRICA
32. Dr. Ssemuddu Yahaya – TEHRAN
33. Ayebare Adonia – NEW YORK
34. Richard Kabonero – DAR ES SALAAM
35. His Highness Gabula William AMBASSODOR-SPECIAL DUTIES – OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT.
DEPUTY AMBASSODORS:
1. Ocula Michael
2. Mohammed Kezaala

Source — Daily Monitor

Ugandan Diaspora | Editorial | January 2017 | Lets Buckle-Up For The Age of Trump and What Could Be The Rise of Fascism in America?

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 01/25/2017 - 06:44

Dear All,

Greetings and a Happy New Year. President Donald J. Trump assumed the Presidency of America as its 45th Commander in Chief in a country bitterly divided by race and politics. In what some viewed as a repudiation of President Obama’s policies Republicans turned out en masse to elect their man who has refused to make his tax returns public and has never held public office.. But the Dems are now regrouping and Saturday’s march of several million women in Washington and other cities may mark the beginning of a series of moves by the Dems to reorganize at the grass roots levels. Critics have been quick to ask why these crowds did not turn out in similar numbers last November to vote for Hillary Clinton, but they probably did, since Clinton won the popular vote by a considerable margin. Trump has already signed orders defunding Planned Parenthood and barring international non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortions from receiving US government funding. Next will be an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare and his promise to rebuild the wall and restrict immigration to the US.

For those watching Trump’s inauguration it became apparent that he, together with his movement were going to follow the Bush doctrine of you are either with us or against us. Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, spoke about crowd size, one of his bosses’ favorite topics during the campaign. In his first White House briefing, Spicer stated that Trump had attracted the biggest crowd of any inauguration (but video and panoramic images of the crowds seem to disprove this). For a man whose show ‘The Apprentice’ enjoyed good ratings for over ten years it will take alot to deflate Trump now that he has defied the Washington establishment and his own party political elite.

There is already talk that Trump’s presidency represents the rise of modern-day fascism, recalling Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. who rose to power riding a wave of populist views that shut out dissenters. With Trump and his angry supporters, who questioned Obama’s birthplace, claiming that he was not eligible to serve as president, we need to buckle up for a bumpy ride ahead. After witnessing first hand how Bush 43 dragged America in two senseless wars, depleting the budget surplus left by his predecessor, we need to pray that a Trump presidency will indeed “make America great again” and not result in a third world war or the apocalypse!

After 8 years in the White House Obama and his administration can be credited with departing scandal-free, even though some of his policies on same-sex marriage and the LGBT movement divided America. Trump is now under increasing scrutiny when it comes to his taxes or business practices. Even after the groping scandals were made public, many did not question whether Trump was morally fit to lead the world’s superpower nation. Trump’s inaugural speech was regarded my most as a radical departure from those made in the past as it did not inspire and rally a nation to unify under new leadership during major crises. His call for putting ‘America First’, is an answer to Globalization!

In my view, the Dems handed Trump this presidency when they blocked Bernie Sanders. The scandals at the Democratic National Committee showed what was wrong with the establishment and Democratic Party as a whole. Wikileaks later exposed these underhand methods that have largely been blamed on Russian hackers. Coupled with all this came talk that Hillary lost in states like Wisconsin that are traditionally democratic because she overlooked the electorate and never bothered to engage the electorate or visit these key democratic constituencies. These blunders would come back to bite Hillary and the Dems resulting in a shellacking at the electoral college though she would win the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes. Hillary won big in California and New York, both heavily populated liberal states, but Trump held his own in rural America, mostly conservative states, allowing Trump to lock in the magic number of electoral votes way ahead of Hillary in the country as a whole. Trump owed his victory of 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227, to wins in the swing states of Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2016/10/30/opinion-the-october-surprise-and-why-this-us-election-will-shock-the-world-by-ronnie-mayanja/

Trump would do well to realize that he is also President for those who did not vote for him. America is a divided nation and after losing the popular vote by almost 2.9 million votes he needs to build bridges, not walls, if he is to succeed. Others fear that his trigger-happy twitter politics and war with the media might cause his impeachment, given his continued blunders and alignment with extreme right-wing groups. The obsession to repeal Obamacare, overturn NAFTA, get rid of section 8 and make changes to the tax code might be greeted with disdain and result in a loss for the Republicans during mid-term elections. He will need to let his press secretary do the talking instead of relying on his Twitter feed that many have described as an accident waiting to happen. And so we wait to see if, just like his rise to the presidency, Trump will prove us wrong by becoming a great leader for these entire United States!

As we start the new year the story of the defeat of Yahya Jammeh the Gambian leader who was forced out after losing an election and refusing to step down, should put African despots on notice. The resolve of regional institutions like ECOWAS and the UN that have come out to defend emerging democracies is a sign of hope for Africa that has seen leaders overstay their welcome and manipulate electoral processes to keep themselves in power indefinitely. More recently, it was Kabila of the DR Congo who called off elections, deciding to stay on but Jammeh’s unceremonious departure should be a wake up call to those African leaders entertaining the thought of lifting term limits or changing constitutional laws to perpetuate their stay… Why some will prefer to be smoked out of power, as happened to Laurent Gbabo of Ivory Coast is beyond understanding– indeed power corrupts and some of these leaders become so consumed with their egos that nothing they hear or see moves them.

http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2017/01/18/the-new-york-times-yahya-jammeh-presidents-term-running-out-gambia-shudders-as-he-refuses-to-quit/

Finally Uganda Cranes needs to be applauded for putting up a good fight. Although we were the first team to be disqualified at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon our boys did try against all odds. After nearly 30 years of international drought Uganda made it and this time put on impressive performances against Ghana and Egypt. If only our leaders devoted more resources to the sport we would be back to the top were we belong enjoying the same level of success that saw the Cranes reach the 1978 Africa Cup finals that they lost against Ghana in Accra. But we are still happy that Dennis Onyango, Uganda’s goalkeeper, at least scooped the African footballer of the year award for players based on the continent.

Now that Uganda is out of the Africa Cup its time to refocus on the presidential handshake that has many divided over the ethics of rewarding a few public civil servants who are paid hefty salaries while teachers go unpaid and healthcare facilities are collapsing. Some are willing to defend such payment in public institutions, comparing them to private companies where CEOs are rewarded with bonuses for good performance.

http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2017/01/14/daily-monitor-presidential-handshake-is-a-sign-of-the-oil-curse/

This is one of the things that is wrong with Uganda,. When some defend such actions and justify wanton corruption and the failure of government to build institutions and follow proper procurement procedures it points to the politics of Animal Farm. I cannot wait to see the complete list (including the ghosts) of the 46 civil servants that were the beneficiaries of this $1.6 million dollar handshake when its finally becomes public. If I were among the civil servants named I would return this money to avoid the semblance of any wrongdoing.

http://www.ntv.co.ug/news/local/23/jan/2017/revival-national-carrier-hits-snag-uganda-airlines-name-now-owned-private#sthash.JWdnSCVo.dpbs

The talk of reviving our national career is also back for debate in Parliament. The problem however is during a recent committee probe the Works State Minister alluded to the fact that after liquidating the Airline, the name Uganda Airlines had been sold off and Air Uganda is not available. So what will the new airline be called? Hopefully the airline routes were not divested the same way the ground handling services – the airline cash-cow was sold off to ENHAS!

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man — Benjamin Franklin

Happy New Year!

— Ronnie Mayanja Ugandan Diaspora News | www.ugandandiasporanews.com |
Ugandan Diaspora Network | Event website | www.ugandandiaspora.com |
US | +1-978-235-2459 | UG +256-773-212-007 | +256- 794-999-898 |
Skype | ronnie.mayanja | Twitter | @rmayanjahttp://www.linkedin.com/in/ronniemayanja

Charity Events | Robert Katende and Phiona Mutesi Hold Successful Fundraisers In Bellevue, Washington State

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 01/22/2017 - 05:01

Two of the real life characters portrayed in Disney’s “Queen of Katwe,” are in Bellevue this week from Uganda.   Robert Katende and Phiona Mutesi — attended a lunch fundraiser at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue Tuesday, Jan.17, to benefit Ugandan-based SOM Chess academy, an outreach started by Katende that teaches chess to street kids there; and Bellevue-based, non-profit America’s Foundation for Chess, also known as First Move.

The first $25,000 will go directly to SOM and will be matched by Disney. The rest of the proceeds are going to First Move.

“Queen of Katwe,” which comes out on DVD and Blu Ray on Jan. 31, chronicles the story of Mutesi, when she was a 9-year-old girl living in the slums and on the streets of Katwe, Uganda. She hears from her brother about a chess club that is giving out food and she goes there.

The man spearheading the club, Katende, a Christian outreach worker, sparks her interest and mentors the young chess prodigy, coaching her to become the chess champion of Uganda and beyond to win international tournaments.

The film about Katende and Mutesi has created much buzz in Hollywood and in film festivals around the globe, and has ties to Bellevue’s Elliott Neff, a chess National Master and founder of the for-profit, Bellevue-based Chess4Life, a business which teaches children ages 5 -12 life skills through the game of chess.

Neff became involved in 2013 when he heard about the story of Ugandan children being empowered in life by this program and learned that Mutesi and Katende were coming to town to speak at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He quickly organized a fundraiser chess tournament for the Ugandan program and met the two Ugandans at that time.

Since then he has been in touch with Mutesi and the Ugandan program. He has helped mentor and teach long distance, and even made a trip to Uganda to help Mutesi and others prepare for the World Chess Olympiad. Neff was on the red carpet when the film premiered in Hollywood Sept. 22, seated with his friends Katende and Mutesi because of his major support for them.

Continuing to cheerlead, Neff says two local universities have offered Mutesi full tuition scholarships, including Seattle Pacific University and Northwest University. In addition, one of the other young people portrayed in the movie, Benjamin Mukumbya, is here as well and has been offered a full tuition scholarship to Northwest University.

However, the scholarships for each of these young adults do not include living expenses like room and board, which could amount to more than $10,000 a year.

Neff’s Chess4Life, which, since its founding in 2005, has reached more than 25,000 children and has also grown beyond teaching kids directly in schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, and in its own four locations throughout King County.

Through specially developed, proprietary Chess4Life curriculum and online tech tools, Neff’s expanded vision is now to reach more than a million kids a week. These tools train educators and others to teach this all-important strategic game. “Those tools are in use in Washington; Arizona; California in Los Angeles and San Diego; Texas; and now in the launching phase in Florida, and in a school in Boston and Uganda as well,” says Neff. “ I believe these tools can take children from beginners to national champions.”

Robert Katende and Phiona Mutesi were named Uganda’s Tourism ambassadors on Friday January 6th 2017 by the Tourism State Minister, Godfrey Suubi Kiwanda, at the ministry’s head offices in Kampala. He said the dual will enjoy diplomatic privileges, including a red passport, VIP protection while on official duty.

Ugandan Diaspora News is proud to celebrate Robert and Phiona’s accomplishments as Uganda’s goodwill ambassadors abroad. We now bring you some of the images from Bellevue, Washington State were the duo has held successful fundraisers for SOM Chess academy during these past two weeks. The article above was first published in the Sound Business Journal and the images below have been provided by Chess4Life and Mr. Robert Katende.

[See image gallery at www.ugandandiasporanews.com]

The New York Times | Yahya Jammeh | President’s Term Running Out, Gambia Shudders as He Refuses to Quit

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 01/19/2017 - 06:24

BANJUL, Gambia — President Yahya Jammeh once predicted that his rule could last a billion years. Now, the fate of his nation is hanging on one more anxiety-filled day.

After acknowledging defeat in an election last month, Mr. Jammeh abruptly changed his mind, refusing to step aside for the inauguration of the new president scheduled for Thursday and threatening to drag the nation into a bloody standoff.

Mr. Jammeh, who has long been criticized for human rights abuses and grandiose claims like being able to cure AIDS with little more than prayer and a banana, has insisted on a do-over election. He declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, warning the nation not to engage in any “acts of disobedience.”

West African nations are preparing to enter the country and force Mr. Jammeh’s ouster if he does not leave. In response, Mr. Jammeh has threatened that his own military is prepared to defend Gambia’s sovereignty.

Senior officials in his government have resigned in protest or left the country. At least 26,000 Gambians have fled to across the border into Senegal, the United Nations says. Hundreds of tourists on beach vacations were also being evacuated.

Now, his opponent in the election, Adama Barrow, who has retreated to Senegal but has the overwhelming support of Gambians and international leaders, is forging ahead with plans for an inauguration ceremony on Thursday, throwing continental Africa’s smallest nation into uncertainty.

“What we are simply and rightfully asking for is to return to the polls and allow Gambians to elect who they want to be their president,” Mr. Jammeh told the nation, rejecting the previous vote as riddled with irregularities.

Parliament added to the confusion on Wednesday, voting to extend Mr. Jammeh’s term for three months, state television reported, although it was not clear whether the move was binding.

“Right now all we want is for Jammeh to go,” said Lamine Ceesay, a taxi driver. “Even if they inaugurate Barrow in Jamaica or America, he is already our president. We want change. That’s all”

Dueling claims to the presidency have upended nations in the region before, coming to a violent end in Ivory Coast in 2010.

Back then, Laurent Gbagbo, the president, refused to step down after the challenger, Alassane Ouattara, won a presidential election. Mr. Gbagbo declined to vacate the presidential palace, while Mr. Ouattara was forced to hide in a hotel with United Nations peacekeepers watching over him.

The standoff led to months of turmoil and the deaths of more than 3,000 people as armed groups swept across the country and battled for control. Finally, France, the former colonial power, attacked Mr. Gbagbo’s compound and helped drive him out, culminating in his arrest in April 2011.

Many Gambians are worried about a repeat in their country. Samsudeen Sarr, Gambia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, predicted that military intervention in Gambia would lead to a similar civil war if foreign forces intervened.

“Starting a war may be easy, but the aftermath of the war is what should be our major concern,” Mr. Sarr said. “The Gambian Army has been very loyal to President Jammeh, and it should not be underestimated.”

At first, Gambia seemed on track for a surprisingly simple transition. Mr. Jammeh has stiffly ruled the nation for 22 years since seizing power in a coup. His government has prosecuted and imprisoned critics, some of whom wound up dead. Thousands of citizens have fled the country amid soaring unemployment. Threats of imprisonment have been a fact of life for years.

Without warning, the country cut off telephone and internet service around the time of the election, raising fears of government repression to hold on to power. But after election results showed that Mr. Jammeh had lost, he suddenly conceded in a polite, jokey phone call to Mr. Barrow. Gambians erupted with relief that his rule was over.

Behind the scenes, Mr. Jammeh was fuming over the results. His advisers eventually persuaded him to concede to avoid unrest. Then talk of his prosecution for human rights abuses began. Mr. Jammeh announced that the vote was flawed and appealed to the Supreme Court.

Since then, Gambia’s election drama has unfolded with strange twists. Regional leaders flew in but failed to persuade Mr. Jammeh to accept the vote. A hashtag circulated on social media — #GambiaHasDecided — with citizens calling for him to step down. The court effort stalled, largely because Gambia has not had a full panel of Supreme Court judges in more than a year, after Mr. Jammeh fired justices and refused to refill the bench.

A court hearing on the case was recently rescheduled, but not until May, potentially leaving the fate of the country uncertain for months.

Mr. Jammeh called Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is also the chairwoman of the Economic Community of West African States, appealing for help in assembling a panel of Supreme Court justices to hear his case immediately. Mr. Jammeh broadcast the phone call to the nation, unbeknown to Ms. Sirleaf, who apparently thought the conversation was private.

Mr. Jammeh’s cabinet is showing cracks. His information minister, who for years had staunchly defended him, fled the country. This week the minister of finance resigned, and a day later his replacement also resigned. The minister of tourism and the health and social welfare minister have also quit.

Mr. Jammeh has fired others who have called on him to respect the election results. Sheikh Omar Faye, Gambia’s ambassador to the United States, was called back from his duties after publicly appealing to Mr. Jammeh to step down.

Mr. Faye said it was morally difficult for him to remain silent while Gambians were in a state of uncertainty.
Alhaji Moamar Njai, the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, also fled the country, citing fears for his safety.

Joining them are tens of thousands of citizens who have run to the countryside or poured across the border in fear of bloodshed. Even the election winner, Mr. Barrow, has left the country. Last week, he flew to Mali to meet with other regional leaders who pledged their support.

For now, he is in Senegal, planning his inauguration ceremony and avoiding security risks that might emerge in Gambia. Over the weekend, his 7-year-old son back home died of a wound from a dog bite. The funeral took place without Mr. Barrow, who had been advised to stay in Senegal for his safety.

In recent days in Banjul, the capital, shops in the main markets have stayed closed out of fear. Food prices have shot up, tripling in some areas.

Gambia’s intelligence officers have arrested several opposition sympathizers and have shuttered three independent radio stations. At least six people have been detained for wearing or selling T-shirts bearing the #GambiaHasDecided logo, according to Amnesty International.

The huge presence of security forces across the city is making everyone uneasy. Amy Sakho, a resident of Serekunda, said she went out on Monday to buy a Barrow T-shirt for inauguration day but backpedaled when she saw the police on the streets.

“I went back home without the shirt,” she said. “I am really worried about Gambia. I don’t know what to look forward to.”

Jaime Yaya Barry reported from Banjul, and Dionne Searcey from Dakar, Senegal.

Source — The New York Times

Uganda Adventures | My Visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kasenyi Safari Camp!

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 08:49

By Ronnie Mayanja — In 1907 Winston Churchill embarked on an African safari, setting off from Mombasa and traveling through Kisumu to Uganda. At the end of his sojourns he would write a book, My African Journey, and coin a phrase that would later be used to describe Uganda to the outside world.

For magnificence, for variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life — bird, insect, reptile, beast — for vast scale — Uganda is truly “the Pearl of Africa.” The Kingdom of Uganda is a fairy tale. The scenery is different, the climate is different and most of all, the people are different from anything elsewhere to be seen in the whole range of Africa….what message I bring back….concentrate on Uganda.

Churchill’s descriptions came to mind as I headed to Western Uganda from Kampala on a 6-hour, 400 km journey to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park includes the Maramagambo Forest and borders Kigezi Game Reserve, Kyambura Game Reserve and Kibale National Park in Uganda, as well as Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and occupies an estimated 1,978 square kilometers (764 square miles). I had last visited the area as a youngster when my dad took us along on his many safaris.

For this trip I had received an invitation from a friend and old Budonian diaspora returnee, Philip Kiboneka, who moved back to Uganda with his son after more than 30 years in the US where he worked for a biotech company. Philip left a successful life, choosing to return home to help tourism in Uganda live up to its potential.

Without a concession from the Uganda Government or the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Philip managed to buy some land outside the park boundaries and construct Kasenyi Safari Camp, which sits on about 40 acres of land in a prime spot frequented by tree-climbing lions in close proximity to Lake George, huge volcanic craters, lakes and various ecosystems of the African savannah.

I arrived with my niece Angela her best friend Anita around midnight and were greeted by Philip and his crew who had stayed up to direct us at the edge of his camp. It was quite interesting driving this stretch of vast savannah in the dead of night, the natural setting only interrupted by the security checkpoints that dotted the way till we got to the National Park. Security has been beefed up in the Rwenzori region due to sectarian unrest in recent years. After exchanging some pleasantries, Philip moved us to our cottage that had been built in an area I could call “lion alley”, being a popular spot for lions and their prides in the area.

I was pleasantly surprised to find, after driving many miles from Kampala, a hot shower and a flushing toilet on the fringes of a protected national park. Following a long day of travel I soon fell asleep, only to be awakened a few hours later by our host, who wanted us to experience the morning game drive at 6am., this being the ideal time for animals to do their hunting before going into seclusion to escape the savannah heat.

The view was spectacular and those doing hot-air balloon safaris must have enjoyed the panoramic sky view of the lakes and craters.The first night in the camp went smoothly but on Day 2 in the dead of night I startled from my slumber to a sound like no other– a male lion calling its pride to go hunting. It was then I knew why they call lions the king of the jungle.

Nothing can prepare you for the roar of a lion and it is no wonder all the animals tremble in fear when they hear it. I was stone-faced when I realized that our tent was the last one and perhaps most vulnerable to lion attack (later Philip would tell me that this adds to the adrenaline rush for some tourists). Later that morning I would learn that this was one of the biggest pride sightings, resulting in more than 100 vehicles driving down to the edge of Kasenyi Safari Camp to get a look.

The drive around this vast savannah was also the most interesting and the view a spectacle to behold, even exceeding my experience at Murchison Falls. I was able to see craters that were filled with thick forest and those that perhaps have not been disturbed by civilization since their formation.

This must be part of the underground forests that define the western Rift Valley and stretch down to Kyambura Lodge. We also drove 40 kilometers to Kazinga Channel, a body of water around Mweya Safari Lodge, rich in hippos, buffaloes, Nile crocodiles, elephants and a wide array of bird species.

The hippo boat ride provided some cool refreshments and a closer look at some of the amphibious life and scenic beauty of Kazinga Channel and Lake Edward. For the birders this would be described as ground zero given the many species of birds you will find in this area.

Whether we have done justice in marketing this part of Uganda is a story for another day but for those living in the diaspora and have not experienced Uganda’s wildlife, Queen Elizabeth National Park will help you understand why many have described Uganda as “gifted by nature”. I was impressed by the UWA staff and the patrols there to enforce park regulations.

If you are looking for a safari that will allow you an opportunity to see lion prides up close and experience the sprawling savannah grasslands, you need to book a safari with Kasenyi Safari Camp. The professionalism of Philip Kiboneka, his son Wasajja and staff, along with the amenities offered, will leave a lasting impression when touring Queen Elizabeth National Park, the most visited national park in Uganda.

A night at the Kasenyi Safari Camp will range anywhere from $288 dollars for singles and $390 dollars for doubles. For details on how to book a Safari experience in Queen Elizabeth National Park call +256756992038 or +256791992038 or please visit www.kasenyisafaricamp.com or https://www.facebook.com/kasenyisafaricamp/

Photography by Ronnie Mayanja and Phillip Kiboneka.

Diaspora Returnee| The Courage To Return Home By Jaffar Tonda

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 01/15/2017 - 09:17

By Jaffar Tonda — From inception, the plan was never to settle in the USA. A similar feeling resonates with most diaspora immigrants – the typical plan is to achieve a target and return “home.” I staged a plan to graduate from University, work for one or two years to get international experience and return to my motherland. Being coined an immigrant/foreigner was never appealing. After graduating with a degree in Accounting at Brigham Young University (BYU) Utah USA in 2006, I received numerous job offers from all the leading accountancy firms I applied to, thanks to BYU’s highly ranked accounting program.

My stint in formal employment entailed working as a treasury analyst with Morgan Stanley, New York and thereafter with Ernst & Young in Boston. However, despite the glamour that came with working at renown top firms, I chose to stick to the plan to return to Uganda. I chose to be proactive and remained committed to my return strategy. In this regard I encourage those towing with this idea — to avoid procrastinating their intended return home. Set a target, and execute it despite the general fear that may abound.

In 2008, Synergy Partners – a real estate development company was born. Why real estate? The numbers in the real estate sector were/are glaring: according to the National Planning Authority, Uganda faces a housing shortage of 8 million units. Therein I saw an opportunity to work towards bridging the housing gap. I did not have adequate resources when I embarked on becoming a real estate developer – it is a capital intensive business.

In all honesty I had no money. I chose to overcome the self-limiting belief that you cannot start a business if you do not have capital. Instead, I worked towards being knowledgeable, hardworking, and honest/trustworthy in my business dealings. I formulated concepts and like most entrepreneurs undertook the difficult patient task of prospecting capital until I found investors who believed in me.

Network, network, network. To aid my transition to home, I actively sought to expand my contacts/circle of friends. I encourage returnees to join various groups for example: health clubs, rotary, health clubs, business and professional associations, religious groups, and harness varied volunteer opportunities. I made an effort to not only join as many groups as I could, but also sought advice from established business leaders/mentors. If people trust you, they are typically willing to share their experiences. Learning from past experiences of others can help encourage, and/or help you avoid potential pitfalls/mistakes that you would otherwise make.

Uganda being a developing nation presents numerous opportunities for self-driven individuals to create additional value – both through formal employment and self-employment. I have discussed various tenets like planning ahead (and saving as a result versus “buying” that nice car on credit), being proactive, persistent/dedicated, overcome self-limiting beliefs, and networking.

Above all the aforementioned, I will close with persistence! From the inception, you will find challenges returning home – right from the airport! Eight years after my return, I am still saddened by the under development I see right from the airport to Kampala. You will face challenges finding a job that adequately rewards your skill set. You will face challenges registering and operating your business. However, remain positive by the reminder that the challenges you face are OPPORTUNITIES to add value!

This article was first published in the Ugandan Diaspora Event Magazine — 2016 edition as a way to inspire those wishing to return home but find themselves in the valley of indecision — Here is a story of someone who walked away from a successful accounting career in the US and is now doing well back in Uganda.

Email — jaffar@synergypartners.co.ug, Website — http://synergypartners.co.ug/

 

Daily Monitor | Presidential Handshake Is A Sign Of The Oil Curse

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 01/15/2017 - 01:49

By Expedito Olimi — It’s close to a fortnight that Uganda is filled with utterances against the action of presidential handshake which saw the government’s treasury lose Shs6 billion. The money in question was given as appreciation for the contribution of the 42 officials towards winning a tax dispute that was a protracted legal battle in different courts, including a Ugandan Tax Appeal Tribunal and a commercial court in London.

After a deep reflection on the animal farm story, I am derived to say that Uganda is in a comparable situation of a once united farm built on the seven commandments of animalism. Now, the seven commandments that defined animalism have been corrupted by the “pigs” as defined in the context of the Animal Farm book. Esteemed readers who have come across this universally respected book clearly know how Mr Napoleon changed the game of politics and inequalities escalated the daily miserable life at animal farm.

This story in whatever scenario but to a greater extent in an abused political environment finds its application inevitable. In a Ugandan context, the application of this script is beyond the scope of the wanainchi because the drama going on is past what even Hollywood stars can offer.

Everyday, a scandal crops-up and all that is done is to defend the thieves of the home. Corruption which is total theft has been coined sweet names as handshake to justify dignified theft. The Shs6 billion cash handshake as it is called was an unconstitutional offer and more over the parties engaged such as the Attorney General as an advocate for government and his team in their respective jurisdictions were obliged to defend the country in the case where the government was engaged with the multinational oil company.

They did this as a constitutional mandate of serving the country as vowed during the State oath taken by each of the implicated parties upon assumption of their official roles. The positive results of winning the case would have been well celebrated if the compensation made was put into the national treasury to support government budget.

Quite a number of Ugandans have made exceptional contributions to the State but such handshakes are never made, except the decoration with a medal if one is lucky and close to the awarding sources. Since this case emanates from the oil treasure, it is sorry to state that the oil curse as it was coined is at conception stage. However, this oil curse could well be avoided if proper government accountability and zero tolerance to corruption in all its forms is enforced in Uganda. For God and my country.

Expedito Olimi,
olimicls2015@gmail.com
Centre for Life sciences

Source — Daily Monitor

Events | Ugandan Diaspora Social Networking Gala Highlights — 2016 Edition

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 01/14/2017 - 18:42

As Ugandans prepared to end the year Friday 30th December 2016 all roads led to Kampala Serena Hotel Victoria Ballroom — Venue for the 6th annual Ugandan Diaspora Social Networking Gala. The event officiated by the H.E The Vice President, Hon. Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi recognized the continued positive impact on the economy by Ugandans living and working in the diaspora whose remittances now total 3.6 trillion shillings annually.

The Vice President further noted that the revenues remitted have empowered many people to start their own business investments resulting into further employment and generation of taxes for government.

Ssekandi thanked the sponsors of the event which he said is noble since it recognizes the work and services of Ugandans in the diaspora who are undertaking professional and semi professional activities that are not only marketing them as individuals but the country in general.

The Vice President later presided over the annual Diaspora Recognition Awards ceremony that saw this year’s Uganda Diaspora Lifetime Achievement Award jointly go to the King and Queen of Katwe — Coach Robert Katende and Ms. Phiona Mutesi where recognized for their role in marketing Uganda abroad through their new film ‘Queen of Katwe’, representation of the country at the international chess tournaments and rehabilitating a number of street children by giving them hope through chess.

Other 2016 awardees included Mr. Henry Kerali Rupiny, in absentia, who is the World Bank Country Director Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Ambassador James Mugume, retired Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs who was celebrating 46 years as a foreign service official and under whose tenure the Diaspora desk in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was established, Dr. Nadaula Kanyerezi Mutema founder of the Village Mall Clinic who has ploughed back her professional expertise to treat Ugandans, Dr. Stephen Kaddu Deputy Director Dermatology and Dermatopathology Medical University and State Hospital in Graz, Austria.

The Patron Uganda Diaspora Network, Dr. Maggie Kigozi appealed to Diasporas to shift from giving money to their relatives but source for them appropriate machinery like hand tractors, produce millers that add value to commodities and which will enhance self sustenance.

Ronnie Mayanja, the coordinator of the Uganda diaspora network encouraged government to address the loopholes within dual citizenship and allow for Diaspora voting rights given the annual remittances. He also pointed to the negative tone and wrong mindset harbored by Ugandans back home who refer to the diaspora as nkuba-kyeyos, abasamma etc despite comprising a sizable number of professionals who are marketing the country positively.

The night was characterized by performances from artists Winnie Nakanwagi (Nwagi) Michael Ross, Jackie Akello, Kenneth Mugabi, Comedian Daniel Omara and fashion designs from Arapapa led by Santa Anzo and K. Raphael.

Event Production was done courtesy of DVI company and a special thank-you to Kampala Serena Hotel and all our partners for the continued support. See you at the next diaspora business breakfast and gala meet — Dec 29th and 30th 2017.

Source — Inside Report. Ugandan Diaspora News Photo Gallery appears courtesy of Guilio Molfese

MTN WebPhone App For Diaspora | Make Calls to Uganda From Anywhere In the World at Local Rates

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 20:34

Make Calls to Uganda from anywhere in the world at local rates

  • MTN introduces WebPhone app for smartphones, easing international calls to Uganda
  • Customers need to sign up for the service prior to travelling

Kampala, Uganda: – MTN introduced a new mobile and web app called WebPhone that is an alternative cost-effective way of communication for frequent travellers and those living in the diaspora.

The app is ideal for business travelers and those doing business outside the country that make frequent calls back home; and offers the same call rates as local call charges, to any network in Uganda.

Users can make calls over the internet either from a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone, by signing up for a virtual “WebPhone number” (032), which then becomes the username that is used to sign in to the mobile or PC application.

The mobile app’s sleek interface offers the user quick access to their phone contacts, as well as the option to make calls using either the WebPhone number (Phone Call) or the number of the SIM used in the mobile device (Regular Call).

The benefit of using the WebPhone number while calling from outside Uganda is that it is significantly cheaper than any of the currently available alternatives for making international calls to Uganda, making it the ideal solution for the business traveller

“We are pleased to introduce a product that offers convenience to our customers outside Uganda while dramatically reducing the cost of communication. This is inline with our commitment to offer our customers more value on all offers,” said the General Manager, MTN Business, Mr. Reginald Kafeero.

Ability to call non-smartphone users

While WebPhone relies on the Internet, its users have the unprecedented advantage of making calls to people without smartphones. This offers a key difference between WebPhone and other existing Voice over IP (VoIP) apps.

“With MTN WebPhone you can use the Internet to make calls to any Ugandan number from anywhere in the world at local rates, allowing you to spend only as much as you would spend while calling from an MTN fixed line in Uganda,” she added.

To get started, contact talkbusiness@mtn.co.ug to sign up for your 032 number, register and then start using the service. Alternatively you can visit the MTN Businesscentre at Plots 1 – 4 Nyonyi Gardens, Kololo to get signed up for the service.​

The MTN WebPhone app can be downloaded from http://mtn.co.ug/mtnwebphoneand is available for Windows PC, Android and iOS devices.

About MTN Uganda
Launched in 1998, MTN Uganda is the leading communications operator in Uganda, offering Mobile and Fixed telecommunications, Mobile Money Services and Internet Service Provisioning. As of 31st December 2015, MTN Uganda recorded 8.9 million subscribers across Uganda. Visit us at www.mtn.co.ug and for our football fans www.mtnfootball.com. Customers can also follow us on www.youtube.com/mtnug and www.twitter.com/mtnug for assistance.

About the MTN Group
Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator, connecting subscribers in 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN.” As of 31st December 2015, MTN recorded 232.5 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. Visit us at, www.mtnbusiness.com, www.mtn.com  andwww.mtnmmo.com

For more information, please contact:

Wendy Angu’ Deyo

0312120762

mediadesk@mtn.co.ug

DR Congo Politics | Kabila to Step Down After Elections In New Transitional Deal

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 12:02

Joseph Kabila will step down as president of the Democratic Republic of Congo after elections held before the end of 2017, under a draft agreement reached by political parties, according to a lead mediator from the Catholic Church.

Under the deal, reached on Friday but not yet signed, Kabila will be unable to change the constitution to extend his mandate and run for a third term, said Marcel Utembi, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in the Congo.

A transitional government will be put in place by March next year, said Al Jazeera’s Fahmida Miller, reporting from neighbouring Kenya.

“During the time of the transitional government, they will be looking at appointing a prime minister from the opposition. That was vital for the opposition because it needed a bigger stake in the government,” she said. She said politicians in exile may also be allowed to return without a fear of prosecution.

However, “there seems to be a number of questions around opposition politicians within DRC who have been arrested. They won’t necessarily be freed anytime soon,” she said.

“What this agreement is talking about is a sort of commission to be set up that would look at these political prisoners case-by-case and determine their fate.”

If the deal is finalised, it will be Congo’s first peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1960. Kabila’s two-term mandate ended on December 19, but authorities have effectively extended it until 2018. His actions led to demonstrations, with security forces killing about 40 people just last week alone.

Western and African powers feared the failure to secure a peaceful transition of power could lead to a repeat of conflicts seen between 1996 and 2003 in eastern Congo in which millions died, mostly from starvation and disease.

Source — Al Jazeera

The Observer | Oil Should Not Over-Dominate Uganda’s Economy, World Bank Regional Chief – Henry Kerali

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 10:55

Written by Richard M Kavuma & Ronnie Mayanja — HENRY RUPINY KERALI hails from Erussi in Padyere county, Nebbi district, but was born in Arua hospital in 1957. Now the World Bank country director for Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia, Kerali was born to a forester father and a teacher mother. He grew up ‘around the country’ – as his father was transferred from one place to another.

He recalls attending primary school in Moroto, secondary school in Teso College, and then going to Makerere University to study civil engineering. After a teaching-assistant stint at Makerere, Kerali did his master’s and PhD at the University of Birmingham in England.

He would spend 20 years in Birmingham, rising to professor of transport economics – with more than 100 publications. In 2002, Kerali joined the World Bank in Washington, before becoming a regional director for the South Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan) and then going to West Africa in mid-2015.

As one of the highest-ranking Ugandans in the World Bank, Kerali is this year being recognized by the Uganda Diaspora Network for helping to promote the country abroad, Richard M Kavuma & Ronnie Mayanja spoke to Kerali about his journey from Erussi to the oil-exporting country of Ghana, and about the economics of oil and development

Henry Rupiny Kerali
Let’s start at home, what kind of environment did you grow up in?

Home kept shifting; we moved as dad was moving and also as he moved up the ranks, until he became a regional forestry officer based in Gulu.

So, yes, home kept shifting, although our home village in Erussi was where the real home was. We visited every year for holidays. That’s where the grandparents lived and you know, the African sense of home is the home village.

What are your earliest vivid boyhood memories?

I think running around in the village. We had big market days – Thursday and Tuesday. It is a small trading centre but particularly for the Thursday market, the population almost tripled because everybody came to sell their produce to buy something from the village market.

The whole area was coffee-growing; it’s high altitude; so, we had Arabica coffee as the main cash crop as we used to call them. And of course it’s very fertile; so, we had lots of food – bananas, sweet potatoes…

If you look back at the little boy in Erussi, did you have an early sense of what you wanted to be?

Probably it was too early to think of what I wanted to be. But I know I wanted to be successful in school. I was one of those who were studious. I would study. I wasn’t talented in sports, but I played a lot of squash and badminton [from secondary school]. I was good with rackets in general.

Your parents?

We were very close. I would put them on the strict side, but not very strict. Very religious. God-fearing, Catholics. So they imbued in us that sense of being God-fearing, righteous, upright. Every day we had a prayer at home and every Sunday we went to Church. So in that sense, a very strict Christian upbringing.

You have been away for some 30 years, do you still feel Ugandan or do the ties loosen over time?

Very much so. Despite being away for so long, I have maintained a home. I have a house in Kampala. I visit every year once or twice. In those 30 years, I may have missed two or three years when I didn’t come, but I maintain… and every time, I make it a point to go to the home village to recharge the batteries – my feeling of belonging to Uganda. To me it’s home. As the old adage goes, home is where the heart is.
As a high-level Ugandan expatriate, do you feel there are enough of you, or could there be more at that level?

We definitely could be more – when I look at other African countries and I see the numbers – for example, Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon. Particularly Senegal and Cameroon where the population numbers are [not very different from] Uganda, then the answer is yes, we could have a few more.

Is there anything that could help to make Ugandan professionals more competitive internationally?

The one thing that comes to mind immediately is language. When I look at why Senegal or Cameroon or even Ivory Cost nationals have been successful, it is that they speak both English and French. I think it is very important for international jobs holders to have that ability to speak another international language.

So, I would encourage young Ugandans to always take advantage when you have an opportunity to learn another language. I speak French. I can’t say I am very fluent but I do speak a bit of French. But I think our young generation should take this as a cue. We do have a number of Ugandans at the World Bank and IMF that are on the up and I do hope that they too will rise up to that level.

You are here with your family…

Yes. My wife and son are here. My daughter who is a medical doctor in the UK will be coming. The third one, unfortunately, cannot make it this time. She works in the United States.

Do they share your sense of home?

A little bit, maybe not as much. The unfortunate part of being part of the diaspora is that the next generation, your children, don’t have as much attachment as you do to your home country.

It is a common theme for most of us in the diaspora that we always lament about how to ensure that our children, and maybe grandchildren, will have the same level of attachment. I have tried to always come with them to Uganda but I don’t think they will ever have the level of attachment that I do. They may develop it gradually but it will take time.

Let’s now turn to issues related to your work at the World Bank. Ghana is an oil economy, and Uganda is preparing to pump oil; give us a sense of how oil in Ghana has impacted on the ordinary person.

Ghana discovered oil about [15] years ago and it’s only [in 2011] that they started to produce oil. The fortunate thing is that they have had time to prepare for it, to [make] laws on how to use revenues from oil and gas, and how to invest some of that revenue in future.

But they have also agreed to be part of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). All that has helped Ghana because it is a much more transparent system than we have in other [oil-producing] countries in Africa.

In terms of how it has benefitted the ordinary person, it is still too early because it’s only in the last five years that they have really gone into producing oil and gas. And then you have had the impact of the downturn in commodity prices. So, the revenue stream from oil and gas has not been as much as probably expected.

But it has also had a negative impact because there was so much expectation that oil and gas would produce revenues. [And] in a way, the government started to spend on the expectation [of those high] revenues. So, this effectively resulted in very high debt levels in Ghana – now close to 70 per cent of GDP. The unfortunate side is that this has driven a lot of the macro-economic and monetary policies in Ghana at the moment.

Because of such very high debt levels, they have had a very high base rate or policy rate by the central bank – [around] 20 percent. This means interest rates at local banks are also going to be high; inflation is now coming down but it has been high – just under 20 percent for over two years.

In view of that, if you were to advise Uganda as regards oil, what would you say?

First and foremost is transparency, regarding the revenues from oil and gas. Second, diversification; let’s not get into the trap of what is commonly called the Dutch disease, of having one single commodity dominating the economy to the extent that all the other productive sectors are overshadowed.

It is very important for Uganda to maintain its levels of production – in fact increase its levels of production – in agriculture, tourism and so forth. Oil should not become the single most dominant factor in our economy. That would be putting ourselves in a very straitjacket – which is what Ghana is going through at the moment in that there was overdependence on oil that was beginning to creep up.

And so the drive in Ghana is to diversify. They are lucky they have land, and most of it is fertile. They are not as lucky as Uganda; they don’t have as much rain [or] water.

President Museveni commissions a road. Such infrastructure can only help reduce poverty if it is part of a broader package of interventions
You mentioned tourism; do you think Uganda should be doing more to benefit from tourism?

Definitely a country like Uganda has a lot of endowments which at present are underutilized. But tourism is very much a private sector-driven industry. It will require that there is the business environment – the regulatory framework, the licensing, permits, etc – that encourages investment by the private sector.

The government’s role will be to regulate and provide that environment where businesses can thrive – particularly the small and medium enterprises. Tourism, when you look at it in terms of per capita, is one of the highest employers that you can get anywhere in the world.

So, I would suggest that Uganda should look at its tourism strategy, and try to see: what are the bottlenecks that the private sector faces in investing in tourism facilities? What are the factors that at the moment limit the numbers that want to come to Uganda? And then it is the role of government to address these factors.

In Ghana at one point, GDP per capita was growing by 43 per cent but poverty headcount was falling by only 10 percent. How best would a country ensure that the benefits of oil-driven growth are shared more equitably?

To be fair to Ghana, they have been successful in reducing extreme poverty – incomes less than $1.75 per day. The challenge is what the World Bank [calls] sharing prosperity: how do you make sure that those in the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution also see their income increasing as the economy is growing?

So, what kind of strategies would you recommend?

Making sure that the revenues are used to benefit the masses. So, public investments in infrastructure, for example, in health and education, are some of the things that these revenues should give a priority to. Those investments that will underpin growth that benefits the majority of the people.

The second aspect – all these extractives have a lifespan, 20 or 30 or 40 years and you run out. So, being able to create a reserve for future generations, a sovereign wealth fund, so that after you run out of oil, future generations can benefit from this.

You mentioned infrastructure, and we are big on infrastructure in Uganda. But when you do a road, for example, is it automatic that the new road will lead people out of poverty?

There are tools that we use to be able to assess whether a road or any other infrastructure will have a net economic benefit. The issue then is, is the investment implemented efficiently? In some cases you end up with the road costing two or three times more than was envisaged. So, what are the causes of those inefficiencies that result in doubling or tripling of costs? Some of it is pure and simple corruption – let’s not get away from that.

The second aspect is, if you build a road and you do not do anything else – you don’t help the farmers to increase their productivity; you don’t help the industries to improve their efficiency; that road will be there and you will have a few vehicles running up and down but it will never really generate the economic benefits that were intended. So, it’s not a question of just building [infrastructure] for the sake of it; it’s got to be a package of other things that have to be done in order to ensure economic returns.

What do you think about Uganda’s economic prospects?

I am not an expert on Uganda’s economy. But what I have observed is that we need to focus on and improve what is generally referred to as the business environment. How easy is it particularly for small and medium enterprises to thrive and to grow? Statistics show that most jobs are created by the private sector.

Out of that, the vast majority is small and medium enterprises. These are the companies, the shops, the small farms that employ anywhere up to 100 people. But if you have a million of these and each is employing just 20 people, that means you have 20 million jobs. So, Let’s think of it in those terms: what will it take for us to improve the business environment for small and medium enterprises to be able to expand?

You also mentioned agriculture, but how do you modernize and commercialise agriculture in a place like Uganda as you know it?

I see this as a significant potential and that leads me into what I hope to do when I retire. A part from tourism, we have an endowment in terms of land, very fertile land. We have a second endowment in terms of water in lakes and rivers and rainfall. [Let us] focus on increasing the productivity of our agriculture, particularly for the poor.

We have a major issue anywhere in Africa – not just in Uganda – where our inheritance system is such that the landowner divides the land among the children, and so you have an ever-decreasing parcel of land which leads to inefficiencies in production. So, let’s think of a way of helping particularly the poor and the rural communities to be able to aggregate the land.

And by so aggregating, they are not selling the land; they still own it but they cooperate in what they produce, which will then allow people to mechanize. And once you mechanize, once you have proper inputs, then you begin to increase productivity.

So, the concept of getting people to always sell their land [and] move out so that an industrial-scale farmer comes in, we need to revisit that. Don’t throw the [rural poor off the land] because if you do, they will end up in the slums in the towns and become another problem.

So, let’s work together. We are doing this in Ghana and Sierra Leone, where we help commercial farmers to work with individual smallholders and help them to aggregate the land and they all produce the same thing – whether it is rice, maize or cocoa. I know it’s working here, for example in the sugar industry, but let’s try and expand it to other crops.

What does it take to organize this?

It is getting people to understand what you are trying to do. If people misunderstand the concept, maybe they think you are trying to grab their land, then you get a lot of resistance. So, being able to get the people to understand, particularly the small farmers to understand that this is being done for their benefit and you are not here to steal from them, is the most critical part.

Then the second is being able to provide the inputs initially. The initial investments are quite high and farmers won’t have the kind of money. So, being able to assure them of that is very important.

Source — The Observer.

A related video interview was also recorded with Mr. Henry Kerali see link below — http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2016/12/23/diaspora-stories-mr-henry-kerali-world-bank-country-director-for-ghana-liberia-sierra-leone-talks-developmental-economics-and-uganda/

President Museveni’s New Year’s Message For 2017 – Full Text

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 10:26

Fellow Ugandans,

I greet all of you the people of Uganda and congratulate you on finishing the year 2016 and wish you a prosperous 2017. I extend condolences to the families who lost their dear ones in the year that is just ended.

During this year of 2016, we had successful general and local government elections. I congratulate Ugandans for voting their leaders peacefully. I also congratulate leaders who were elected. I call upon them to stay in touch with their communities as they will achieve alot when they work together.

At the beginning of this term of office, 2016-2021, I issued 23 guidelines/directives to government and so far in six months, the following have been achieved:

Finalized a plan for re-establishing the National Carrier (Uganda Airlines). This will reduce on the financial “haemorrhage” (donation) to other airlines by Ugandans and those travelling to Uganda.

Investment Climate Advisory and Management ─ Ministry of Finance has allocated Shs. 410 million to generating the statistical data for investors who wish to invest in the country. Availability of ready information will quicken decision making by investors.

Construction of more than 100 water schemes across the country in some of the following areas: Bukwo GFS; Bukedea, Parombo, Akoro, Olirim II, Bududa II, Bukwo II, Shuuku-Matsyoro GFS, Ogili GFS, Kiboga, Ruti/Rugando, Loro, Padibe, Pabbo, Rwashamaire TC, Nyamunuka TC, Amudat, Bibia/Elegu, Ovujo, Oyam, Nyahuka, Kasagama and Kaliiro, etc.

Provision of Water for Production: Expansion of Mubuku, Kibiimba and Doha schemes, completion of Kaharo gravity water scheme in Kabale. The following are planned: Andibo dam in Nebbi district, Rwengaaju irrigation scheme in Kabarole district, Ongole dam in Katakwi, Mabira dam in Mbarara, Olweny irrigation scheme in Lira district and Leyedam in Kole district and a number of small min-irrigation schemes will soon be under way to mitigate the current pattern of rainfall and stop depending on nature but use irrigation system. In order not to continue being dependent on nature, we are going to start with more irrigation schemes around mountain Rwenzori, Mt. Elgon and the Agoro hills. These are easier because we use gravity on account of the good gradient and just channel the water to the required points. With regard to the low-lands, we are encouraging the manufacture within country or, at least, assembling within country of affordable solar-powered water pumps.

I call upon individuals who have means to equip their farms with these pumps at their cost. Uganda Development Bank (UDB) should look into the possibility of using the money we give them to fund such acquisitions with low interest loans; may be 12% per annum or there about. Using government money, we shall slowly start equipping villages with communal solar-powered water pumps. We have, indeed, already started. There are already solar powered water pumps at Kandago in Rukiga, Nyadri in Maracha, Kololo in Adjumani, Inomo in Apac, Kabira in Rakai, Kibenyeya in Hoima, etc. These will be scaled up from being only water for consumption to irrigation this coming financial year (2017/18). 130 new water irrigation schemes are planned for FY 2017/18, across the country.

This is in order to immunize ourselves against the erraticness of the rains. This effort of irrigation, must, however, go hand in hand with the wetlands preservation and restoration as well as protecting all our fresh water bodies (Lakes and rivers). Where will, then, the water come from if we do not protect the water bodies?

Granting Oil Production Licenses:
Eight (8) production licenses were granted in August and these include: Mputa-Nzizi-Waraga, Kasamene-Wairindi, Kogogole-Ngara, Nsoga, Ngege fields operated by Tullow, Gunya, Ngiri, Jobi-Rii operated by Total.

Introduction of biometric registration of all small scale miners; Allocating location licenses to small scale miners; Expand the licensing regime that will streamline the small scale miners and the heavy investors in the mineral sector.

Government is in talks with the financiers of Bujagali to bring down the cost of power to affordable rates for industries. The other dams do not have that problem. The power from Nalubaale power station is now at 1.04US Cents, since the loan for constructing Nalubaale power station has been fully paid back. That of Bujagali is at 11US cents.

Right now, we, actually, have a surplus of electricity and we are building more dams as you know. Our plan is to build more and more dams, not only on all the sites on the Nile River (Ayago-840MW, Oriang-392MW, Uhuru-400MW, Kiba- 300MW etc.) but also to develop over 40 mini-hydro dams, already identified across the country. Some of them are already under construction. These are: Nyagak III 5.4MW, Nyamwamba 9MW, Muvumba 5.4MW, Achwa/Agago 83MW, etc.

With abundant and cheaper power, our pace of industrialization will pick up. We are going to provide electricity at the cost of 5 American cents per unit to manufacturers. More electricity and better network of roads will mean faster industrialization. As projected by the National Planning Authority (NPA), the middle income status will be attained by 2020.

I have told you before, how Uganda was bleeding on account of unnecessary and excessive importing (buying-kugula) and very little selling (kutuunda). What are called “rich people” in Uganda, specialize, not in building factories or hotels, but, in building shopping arcades that specialize in selling to our people all sorts of imported goods. As a consequence of this, Uganda donates to China US$ 875 million per year, to India US$1.154 billion per year, to EU US$637 million per year, to USA US$ 89 million per year, to South Africa US$ 257 million per year, to UAE US$406 million per year, etc. Yet our own exports to China are only US$54.7 million per year, to India only 24.8 million per year, to South Africa only US$4.7 million per year, to UAE only US$62.6 million per year.

It is only to the EU that we export US$433 million per year and to the COMESA-EAC that we exported goods and services worth of US$2 billion (in 2015). In this hemorrhage, textiles take US$888 million per year, cars US$568.7 million per year, leather goods US$0.22 million per year, alcohol and beverages took US$ 68 million (2015), foods and food extracts took US$612 million (2015). This is not only hemorrhage of money but also of jobs. Building up our textile industry, which we have already started on in modest ways, would not only save the US$888 million in imports but would also create for us a total of 45,000 jobs from about 25- 30 factories, each the size of Nytil, fully operational. As a result, KACITA group was sent to Ethiopia by me to study and came back converted. They are now ready to work with government in establishing factories for exports instead of imports.

Industrialization is, therefore, both an instrument of liberation and a means of achieving prosperity. Additionally, using our comparative advantages, we would also export to other countries, thereby earning even more money and creating even more jobs. We cannot blame our importers. Until recently, the basics that are needed to support manufacturing were not in place. Today some of them are: electricity, better roads, a more educated workforce, etc. It is time to, therefore, launch a massive effort for industrialization.

Fast tracking of Standard Gauge Railway to reduce the cost of transport. As you know, we are working with our relatives in Kenya to modernize the railway by building the Standard Gauge Railway. This will bring the cost of transport for a 32 metric tonnes container to Mombasa from US dollars 3500 by road, to US dollars 1650 by railway and it will only take one day compared to the present railway which takes 21 days. It will also save our roads from damage caused by the huge lorries carrying what should be ferried by the train.

This is all to do with manufacturing. As I repeatedly tell you, manufacturing is one of the four sectors that comprise our economy. The other three are: agriculture, services and ICT. Peace, electricity and improved road network are stimulating the process of manufacturing. The same stimuli influence services to some extent. Agriculture is, of course, linked to industry through agro-processing.

However, the biggest challenge we have in agriculture is cultural and historical. According to the census of both 2001 and 2014, about 68% of our homesteads are still in subsistence agriculture (only working for food but not working for money). Only 32% of the homesteads are in the money economy. Through Operation Wealth Creation, we are determined to change this. Coffee, fruit and/or tea seedlings are being given to all the homesteads with land of two acres and above. Our ideal model, as you know, is four acres.
Two acres, however, can also do something. In some areas, they grow cocoa. Each home must have, at least, one acre of food crops especially, drought resistant crops (cassava, bananas, Irish potatoes, rice etc). As far as coffee is concerned, a tissue culture laboratory is going to be built at Kituuza so that we can multiply high quality, disease-free seedlings industrially and quickly. OWC has been stopped from being everywhere and ending up being nowhere.

We are concentrating on, initially, the four cash-crops ─ coffee, cocoa, fruits and tea. As time goes on, we shall get them to distribute chicken, dairy cattle and pigs. The homesteads with one acre or less, will be helped with poultry for eggs, mushroom growing, onions, pigs and zero-grazing dairy cattle. Every homestead must be involved in money making. We cannot accept spectators in this effort. Maintaining 68% of our homesteads in pre-capitalist modes of production is a wrong form of conservation. Let us conserve other assets such as wetlands, forests, national parks, etc., but not under development.

The services sector is growing very well spurred on by peace and better roads. It is growing at the rate of 5.3% per annum. Especially for tourism, what is now lacking is publicity.
The Tourism Board will aggressively inform the world about our unique climate as well as flora and fauna. Services money is easy money for us, especially tourism.

The ICT sector has been facilitated by the building of the ICT backbone and the undersea cables to Kenya and Tanzania. This has lowered the cost of internet bandwidth from US$1,200 per month to US$ 300 per month and is expected to reduce further to US$150 per month within the next 12 months.

Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) should, therefore, use this new capacity to attract new investors in this sector.

With our brothers and sisters in Africa, through EAC and COMESA, we have already built regional markets for our producers. They can export to the region. We have also negotiated for external markets such as AGOA, EBA, the access to the Chinese and the Indian markets, etc.

All these efforts will translate into more jobs for our youth. Uganda already has 3,100 factories and 3,475 tourism related companies and assets. The two are already employing about 1.1 million people. This has been achieved in spite of the bottlenecks of lack of electricity and high transport costs in the past. Now that we are addressing the issues of electricity and transport costs, our progress will be faster.

Conclusion
Uganda has been at peace for the first time in 500 years, for many years now. Uganda will remain at peace. Nobody has the capacity to disturb this, however hard they might try. Therefore, my dear Ugandans, I can confidently tell you that the future is bright.

If we love one another, celebrate our diversity, resist division and stay united, we will achieve greatness. Let us all join hands and declare the New Year to be our year of prosperity. The year of building on the strong foundation we have laid to secure Uganda’s future.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year Two Thousand and Seventeen.

Bank of Uganda | Investing In Government Securities Now Easier And More Accessible To The Public

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 12/27/2016 - 16:25

KAMPALA – Monday December 27, 2016 The Bank of Uganda (BoU) hereby announces that all licensed commercial banks now have direct access to the primary market for Government security operations. This means all 25 commercial banks licensed by BoU are now eligible to open CSD accounts at BoU for their clients, issue and accept bid submission forms on their behalf, settle their clients’ successful bids and buy their clients’ securities if the client wishes to sell.

This is part of Bank of Uganda’s ongoing commitment to make investing in government securities easier and more accessible to the public. BoUhas been working with various stakeholders on reforms to the Primary Dealership system toimprove the distribution mechanism for Government Securities.

Now prospective investors who want to open a CSD account in order to trade in Treasury Bills or Bonds can now pick account opening forms not only from the Bank of Uganda banking hall and website, but also from any branch of their commercial bank around the country.

Instead of filling in multiple forms to open a CSD account, there will now be a simplified two-page CSD account opening form. Also, investors who wish to participate in an auction where Government securities are first issued can now pick and submit bid submission forms at any branch of their commercial bank.

After the closure of a Primary auction, an investoris free to trade Government securities they already own in a market known as a secondary market. A client can now go to any commercial bank where they have an account if they want to sell their securities in the secondary market before they mature. Furthermore, if a client fails to sell their securities in the secondary market, they can sell them to Bank of Uganda through a process called re-discounting of Treasury Bills and Bonds.

In the case where clients want to find out whether the price they are selling or buying their securities in the secondary market is reasonable, they can visit the Bank of Uganda’s website under the Financial Markets tab for a guide to pricing in the secondary market.

Governor — Bank of Uganda.
GOVERNOR – Tumusiime-Mutebile (Prof.)
Website:www.bou.or.ug E-mail: info@bou.or.ug

Diaspora Events | Gifted Songwriter & Soulful Performer Kenneth Mugabi to Feature at the Diaspora Gala 2016 Edition

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 12/27/2016 - 13:29

Kenneth Mugabi is a gifted songwriter and a soulful performer. His rich unique voice and his ability to write beautiful afro-soul music make him a unique and enjoyable performer to watch. Kenneth Mugabi’s music is an African version of neo soul. He blends his guitar and tube fiddle playing into his music to create a unique background sound for his rich vocals.

Kenneth Mugabi first caught public attention as one of the top contestants in the Coke rated Next Uganda competition. He has since been featured in many performances on a national platform. From serenading the country on National TV for the valentines show to doing performances with top local acts like Qwela and performing on same stage with international acts like Joel Sebunjo and Ali Keita.

Kenneth Mugabi released his debut album Kibunomu to a full house at Kampala Serena Hotel on 8th May 2016. It has been well received, selling hundreds of copies in the first week and enjoying massive airplays on national radio. Performances • Blankets and Wine UG • Bayimba Festival • Milege Festival • Doa Doa Festival • Qwela Junction Crooners edition. Kenneth Mugabi will be a featured artist an the 6th annual Ugandan Diaspora Social Networking Gala 2016 edition.
Tickets now on sale at the Kampala Serena gift shop.

Diaspora Awards | Ambassador James Mugume Retires After 43 years in Foreign Service

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 12/26/2016 - 09:37

Amb. James Mugume – Will be a Diaspora Award Recipient for 2016 for his role in creating a Diaspora desk at MOFA

On December 30th 2016 Ugandan Diaspora Network will recognize a number of notable Ugandans whose contributions have made a difference both at home and abroad. One such individual will be Amb. Mugume whose tenure as PS – Foreign Affairs saw the creation of the Diaspora Services Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Amb. James Mugume” retired  end of November, 2016 as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs after  a 43 -yr successful career in Uganda’s Foreign Service.

Before his appointment as PS in 2007, Amb. Mugume served as Director for International Cooperation at MoFA Headquarters (2000-2006) and as Deputy High Commissioner and AG. High Commissioner in Pretoria., South Africa (1994-2000). He also served at the Uganda Mission to the UN in New York in New York (1986-90) and the Uganda High comission New Delhi (1974-80)

When HE President K Museveni mandated MOFA to handle Diaspora matters in 2007, Amb. Mugume was more than prepared for the job. He had been part of the Ugandan Diaspora in Boston in  mid-1980s . He was  also instrumental in mobilizing the Ugandan diaspora in South Africa when he opened the Uganda High Commission in Pretoria in 1994.

During his tenure as PS/FA, Amb. Mugume put Diaspora issues at the Centre of Uganda’s foreign policy. He establish a Diaspora  Service Department which  has worked with various stakeholders to develop a National Diaspora Policy, support Diaspora Associations  around the world, create investment Compendium and develop proposals for a Diaspora Investment Bond. Amb. Mugume has championed conclusion of bilateral labor exchange agreements , especially with countries in the Middle East  with strong monitoring Mechanisms to protect Ugandan workers abroad.

Amb. Mugume was personally involved in the launch of the Annual Diaspora Activities in Uganda including the ‘Home is Best’ and the Annual Diaspora Dinner both of which take place in December.

Amb. Mugume a graduate of Makerere University’s Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics (1973) and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Boston, USA (1986). He also took sabbatical studies  as Foreign Policy Fellow at University of Maryland at College Park, USA (1992)and Ecole Nationale d’Administratio in Paris (2003)

Amb. Mugume is married with two sons.”

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