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Opinion | Western neo-imperialism and Africa’s weaknesses By President Yoweri Museveni

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 11/25/2016 - 18:57

In recent months, two western ruling groups have suffered defeat in the elections. Although it is not the culture of Africans to talk about other people’s “houses” (internal affairs of other people), I feel compelled to comment on the events in the USA, Britain and Hungary in recent times because they are somehow connected with Africa and the Middle East.

In the month of June, our friend David Cameron suffered a defeat in the UK in a Referendum as to whether to remain in the EU or not. In the month of October, the Government of Hungary called a Referendum against immigration to the chagrin of elements of the elite in Europe where the voters rejected the refugee policy of the EU and, recently, Mr. Trump won the election in the USA against our longtime friend, Hillary Clinton. Although Hillary won the popular vote, Mr. Trump won the Electoral College vote. That is their system which we must respect.

Although there are other reasons that we outsiders cannot easily know, there is one factor that has turned into a curse for the perpetrators. This is the factor of conducting wars of aggression against Sovereign States that are, moreover, members of the UN. In the last 16 years, since the attack on the twin-towers, in New York in the year 2001, the USA and the other western countries have attacked Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Of these wars by the West against Independent and Sovereign States, two were clearly wars of aggression; they were unjust wars.
It is only the war in Afghanistan that was a just War because some confused group, called Al-Quaeda, intoxicated with religious chauvinism, had carried out aggression against the USA. It was correct that the USA responded and dislodged the Talibans and their allies, Alquaeda, from Afghanistan. We all supported this.
It is the other attacks that were wrong and unjust. These were the attacks on Iraq and Libya. In the case of Iraq, it was said that they had weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological and chemical). In the end, those weapons were not there. In any case, who is supposed to have the weapons of mass destruction and who is supposed not to and why? Why doesn’t the world concentrate on getting rid of those dangerous weapons rather than waging wars to maintain monopoly over those criminal and cowardly weapons? Why do some countries want to maintain monopoly over those criminal and cowardly weapons? In the case of Libya, it was because Gaddaffi was about to launch a counter-attack to recapture the City of Benghazi in an internal civil war. It was to “protect” the “people” against the “regime” ─ the same imperialist arguments that were used in the last-but-one century (“spreading civilization”, etc). Cameron was about to add Syria to the list, when the UK Parliament rejected his efforts in 2013. In the end, these wars of aggression against Sovereign States, have generated human catastrophes that have few equals in the history of the world. I, certainly, did not know that there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq (2003). Since the 2003 Iraq war, Iraq Christians have been relocated to Syria. Currently, apparently, there are 275,000 Christians in Iraq; 500,000 Yazidis in Iraq; 2.9 million Christians in Syria, etc.
Until the recent upheavals in those areas, these Christians and Yazidis were living in these areas. The authoritarian regimes of the area notwithstanding, those groups were living there quietly. Hundreds of thousands of refugees started heading for Europe. In the USA, there was talk of allowing in the Syrian refugees. Both the movement of refugees into the EU and the talk of them coming to the USA, generated a backlash from some of the locals, not without justification. With different and conflicting cultures, big infusion of refugees into countries, can, in the long run, create conflicts. In Uganda, we allow refugees from Africa because they are part of the Bantu, Nilotic or Cushitic communities that are already part of Uganda. In fact, you cannot easily tell the difference between these African refugees on the one hand and the Ugandans on the other. Middle Eastern and African groups flooding into Europe and the USA, could have a different impact.

Cynically speaking, though, the USA and EU should not complain about Africans and Arabs flooding into those countries as refugees. They are the ones that had invaded our countries as imperialists, in the first place. The USA was built by African slaves. Be that as it may, the promoters of attacks in the Middle East and North Africa, provoked a human exodus that has caused the backlash bringing down Mr. Cameron and Mrs. Clinton. Although immigration is not the only reason that brought down those groups, it is certainly one of them. The question then, is: “Were these deliberate imperialist designs or were they just mistakes?” The Western countries and Africa need to scrutinize this issue and come up with correct answers.

When I was in Germany in the month of June, journalists from the Newspaper Die Spiegal asked me the following question: “Last year, 1.3 million refugees came to Germany, mainly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, but also from Africa. Many believe this is only the beginning of an exodus to Europe. What do you suggest to stop this wave of migrants?” I answered the questioner that I could not answer that question at that time. I knew that it was a delicate problem for people like Mrs. Clinton who had been involved in the attack on Libya that had turned into such a disaster. I am now released from that obligation. That is why I have written this missive.

The present African leaders are, however, also co-guilty in this matter. We should never have allowed external powers to attack any part of the African soil without our permission. I had fought Gaddafi two times: 1972 and 1979. I needed no lectures on the positive and negative points of Gaddafi. However, to allow the former colonial countries to attack any portion of Africa without a response from us, was betrayal. To be fair to the African leaders, one could say that we were taken by surprise. Even me, I did not believe that Western leaders could be so reckless as to do what they did in Libya.

However, attack Libya, they did. What is the contingency for the future and how do we rescue Libya? We recently had a meeting in Addis Ababa and told all and sundry that AU intends to rescue Libya and we also made it clear that future attacks on African soil without coordinating with AU are not acceptable, to put it mildly. Can Africa defend African soil? Very much so. In the 1960s, a few frontline States ─ Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana ─ supported by the socialist countries and working with the Liberation Movements in the occupied African countries, defeated Portugal in Mozambique and Angola, Ian Smith in Zimbabwe and, eventually, the South African racist regime which had manufactured nuclear weapons to intimidate us, as well as its colonial government in Namibia (SWA). All these colonial dictatorships (in Angola, Mozambique, Rhodesia ─ Zimbabwe, Namibia ─ SWA and South Africa), were either supported or encouraged by some of the Western countries.

The other countries that stood with the Liberation Movements were Algeria, Egypt and Guinea-Conakry; even Nigeria, under the Military Government, took a patriotic position. Africa today, the weaknesses notwithstanding, is much more capable than we were in the 1960s. The problem is lack of consistent unity. Lack of cohesion is Africa’s problem. When the USA was still young, in 1823, one of their Presidents, James Monroe, in order to shield the Americas from the rapacious European countries, promulgated the Monroe doctrine which stated: “Further efforts by European nations to take control of any independent state in North or South America would be viewed as ‘the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States’. At the same time, the doctrine noted that the U.S. would recognize and not interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries”. The AU needs to put out a “Monroe doctrine” of sorts to all and sundry. Otherwise, the present African leaders will have let down Africa like the pre-colonial chiefs did between 1400 and 1900 when the European imperialists slowly penetrated Africa while these chiefs could not unite to defend us against the slave trade and colonialism.

Before the Western countries killed Gaddaffi, Libya, in spite of its small population of only 6 million people, had the second biggest amount of electricity in the whole of Africa after South Africa and was becoming a big source of investments for the rest of Africa as well as a market for African products. Hundreds of thousands of Africans were also working in Libya during that time. The destruction of Libya has also led to terrorist groups invading Mali, Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, etc. Why should Africa tolerate such disruption on her territory caused, in part, by foreigners? That was one reason Uganda intervened in Somalia. We could not tolerate the importation of the Middle Eastern nonsense of intolerance, allegedly on “behalf of God”, into Africa.

We had to let those confused people know that Africa has its owners, the Africans. The same message needs to be sent to the Western aggressors. Our Lord’s Prayer says in part:“Thou shalt not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil”. Africans should not tempt greedy or confused foreigners into the temptation of interfering with us by being weak.

I cannot end this missive without talking about the foreign agents that masquerade as freedom fighters. This is a subject I talk about with alot of authority. Freedom fighters do not need foreign fighters to fight for them. They fight for themselves. Who fought for us? Genuine Revolutions do not need foreign invasions. Who caused the Russian Revolution in 1917? Who caused the victory of the Chinese Revolution in 1949? Who caused the changes in the Soviet Union? Who has caused the recent Trump victory in the USA? Which foreign actors caused the victory of the Brexit vote in the UK? Who caused the Iranian revolution in 1979? Did foreigners cause these changes? Not at all. On the contrary, the foreigners, in the majority of them, tried to stop these changes but failed. Therefore, the adventurism of some groups in the West, should not be camouflaged as fighting for freedom.
Many of the stooges of foreign interests or local oppressors spend alot of time looking for foreign sponsors rather than looking for ways of how to reconcile with their own people. That is the litmus paper test for pseudo-freedomism. Authentic freedom fighters will sustain themselves even if they do not have external support. They certainly do not need foreign troops. Pseudo ─ freedom fighters, on the other hand, are always calling for foreigners to interfere in their affairs.

It is a vote of no confidence in oneself to call for foreigners to fight for you? It is, therefore, wrong for foreigners to eagerly rush into local situations in support of local stooges or opportunists. Those foreigners become part of the problem and not part of the solution. Local factions should be encouraged to reach compromise rather than getting foreign sponsors to suppress and ignore their domestic rivals.

Anyway, for now, the adventures of the Western countries into North-Africa and the Middle-East, have caused human disasters in those target areas but also political casualties in the countries of the aggressors, not to mention the nationalist backlash against “Western liberalism”. “Whatever a man sows, that is what he will reap”, it says in the Book of Galatians, Chapter 6, verse 7.

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Gen(rtd)

Al Jazeera | Eritrean refugees in Israel sent to Uganda and Rwanda

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 11/25/2016 - 00:57

Kampala, Uganda – The sky was still an inky black when the flight from Cairo touched down at Entebbe Airport near Kampala, the capital of Uganda, one morning in mid-January, the fluorescent glow spilling from the small terminal providing the only source of light.

It had been 15 hours since Musgun Gebar left Tel Aviv, and the journey staggered him in its brevity. Four years earlier, when he had travelled the other way – from Eritrea in East Africa to Israel – he had done so on foot, a punishing journey across the Sahara and the Sinai that took more than a month.

Kidnappers stalked the route, food was scarce, and half of the people with whom he had travelled didn’t survive. But this time, he simply sat down in a small cushioned seat and waited, snapping selfies and eating salty meals from aluminum tins until, suddenly, he had arrived.

Gebar had no visa to enter Uganda. He wasn’t carrying an invitation letter or an application form. In fact, he didn’t even have a passport. Though he had crossed many borders in his life, he had never done it through the official channel of queues and customs officials and dated stamps.

He only carried $3,500 in clean, hundred dollar bills in his wallet, a temporary travel document called a “laissez passer”, and a creased letter from the Israeli government. “Passengers are asked to follow instructions and regulations to ensure a safe and pleasant departure from Israel,” it read, with a signature from the Voluntary Departures Unit.

From friends who had come before him, Gebar already knew what would happen next. The man emerged as he stepped inside the terminal, wordlessly ushering him and the nine other Eritreans on the flight away from the passport control line.

Without a glance from the border patrol officers, he led them around the queue, to the baggage claim where their luggage awaited, and then out of the airport’s sliding-glass doors. In the car park, a van waited to drive them to a hotel.

After that, they were on their own.

No choice

Human rights organisations have reported that over the past three years this scene has played out hundreds of times in Uganda and neighbouring Rwanda, where more than 3,000 Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers from Israel have been “voluntarily” resettled as of 2015.

Often, those who were resettled dispute whether they truly had a choice.

Gebar, for instance, says that he was being held in an immigration detention camp in the Negev Desert called Holot, when, he claims, officials there informed him that he had three options. If he liked, he could stay indefinitely in the camp. A second option was to go back to Eritrea, the country he had fled five years before. Or, he could agree to take $3,500 and depart for a third country of the Israeli government’s choosing.

Gebar didn’t hesitate. He took the third option.

Andie Lambe, executive director of the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI), an NGO that has conducted extensive research into the departure of East African refugees from Israel, also questions just how much choice these refugees have.

“What does it mean when an unknown third country is someone’s best option?” he asks. “To me that says they never really had a choice at all.”

Media reports suggest that the three countries have cut a secret, high-level deal in which the African states accept refugees in return for arms, military training and other aid from Israel.

The countries involved have given conflicting responses, however, on their involvement.

Sabine Haddad, Israeli population and immigration authority spokeswoman, told Al Jazeera that Israel does have an agreement with two African countries – which she did not name – for the relocation of unwanted asylum seekers. She did not offer a response regarding the weapons exchange part of the agreement.

OPINION: Uganda: Doing Israel’s dirty work

Both Uganda and Rwanda, on the other hand, deny they have signed any agreement with Israel. Furthermore, neither country has afforded refugee status to any refugees arriving from Israel.

Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told Al Jazeera earlier this year that the reports of a deal were “a rumour circulated by Israeli intelligence”.

“I have disputed that we have received these individuals,” he said.

No rights

Like others around the world, refugees leaving Israel for Rwanda and Uganda find themselves in a precarious position. Their lives straddle two countries, and movement either forwards or backward is nearly impossible.

Tedros Abrahe, an Eritrean midwife who also left Israel under the “voluntary departures” programme earlier this year, says he is “just waiting to be a legal refugee somewhere”.

Like most of the estimated 5,000 Eritreans who flee their country each month, Abrahe first left home in 2011 to escape the country’s mandatory and indefinite national service programme. After a brief stay in Sudan, he paid smugglers $3,000 to take him to Israel, where he figured opportunities would be better and life easier.

But when he arrived, he found that his Eritrean midwifery qualifications were not recognised in Israel, and that the only work available to him as an asylum seeker was an under-the-table job cleaning the kitchen of a Tel Aviv shawarma restaurant.

Israel did not consider him a refugee. Rather, like nearly all of the approximately 42,000 Eritrean and Sudanese refugees in Israel, he was labelled an “infiltrator” – a label previously used to categorise Palestinians entering Israel. The only status Abrahe was allowed was a permit granting him temporary reprieve from being deported, which, he says, he had to renew in person every 60 days.

This system, says Anat Ovadia-Rosner, a spokeswoman for Israeli NGO Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, “puts people in a perpetual limbo, without the right to healthcare, to welfare services, to anything that might help them build a permanent life here”.

She thinks that “the whole structure is meant to make people’s lives miserable, so eventually, perhaps, they won’t want to stay any more”.

Between 2009 and 2016, Israel granted official refugee status to 0.07 percent of all its Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers – a total of four people.

When, in late 2015, Abrahe went to refresh his Israeli permit, he was informed that it would not be renewed. Instead, he says, he was told that he had 30 days to either report to an immigration detention centre or leave the country for Eritrea or a location of the government’s choosing.

Believing that he would not be safe in Eritrea, Abrahe chose the latter option.

By the time he boarded a flight for East Africa in January 2016, thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese refugees had already followed the same path.

According to Interior Minister Gilad Erdan, the voluntary resettlement plan had “encourage[d] infiltrators to leave the borders of the state of Israel honourably and safely”.

But just how safe is it really?

According to research by Hotline and IRRI in Rwanda, most of the refugees who arrive in Rwanda are immediately smuggled over the border to Uganda.

Abrahe says that he spent just two days in the country – waiting in a house near Kigali under an armed guard – before being forcibly taken to Kampala.

Those arriving in Uganda are not afforded any further rights. Uganda’s Department of Refugees says there is no deal to accept refugees coming from Israel. Douglas Asiimwe, the department’s principal protection officer, told Al Jazeera that any refugees arriving from Israel were assessed on the individual merits of their cases.

They shouldn’t need Uganda’s protection, he explained, because they weren’t coming from a war zone, but from a “safe” country that had promised under international law to uphold the rights of refugees.

Haddad, the Israeli population and immigration spokeswoman, insists that Israel “ensures that the process of relocation is conducted according to the agreements and in line with international law”.

In her statement to Al Jazeera, she wrote: “Israel makes certain that the refugees are accorded all relevant rights in accordance with the agreements, including receiving the appropriate permits and papers.”

But NGOs and human rights lawyers who have reviewed the refugees’ cases in both Israel and Uganda say that Israel’s official line on the subject is not true.

In late 2015, a coalition of NGOs and human rights lawyers challenged the legality of Israel’s third-country deportations before the Israeli Supreme Court. But a decision is still pending and Israel’s “voluntary departures” continue.

No jobs

Even without legal status, life in Kampala was initially a marked improvement over Israel for both Gebar and Abrahe.

Ugandans were more welcoming than Israelis, they said, and the two melted easily into the city’s large Eritrean population.

Abrahe had spent some of the money the Israeli government gave him on an iPhone, which he used to send smiling selfies to family and friends in Eritrea, Israel, and Europe.

But the $3,500 wouldn’t last forever, and there were few jobs to be had in Uganda, even for someone with medical training like Abrahe. By September, both men had run out of money and were living on handouts from friends and family.

“Time just passes itself,” Gebar said. “You just sit home all day waiting, doing nothing.”

In late October, however, Abrahe decided that he couldn’t wait any longer. He borrowed a passport from a Ugandan friend and flew to Turkey. From there, he made the dangerous journey by boat to Greece, where he is now living in a refugee camp.

“It’s better to take a risk than to live this way for my whole life,” he says. “This year, I want to be a legal person somewhere.”

Ryan Lenora Brown was a fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation in Uganda.

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Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 11/17/2016 - 06:45

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US Elections | How Hillary Clinton Lost The Election And Donald Trump Won The Electoral College Vote – By Ronnie Mayanja

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 11/13/2016 - 07:40

President Elect Donald D. Trump and his VP – Gov. Mike Pence acceptance speech after being declared winners of the US. General election

By Ronnie Mayanja — On November 8th like all Americans I went to the polls to carry out my civic duty by exercising my right to vote as enshrined in the 15th amendment of the U.S Constitution. In a race that had so divided these United States and saw a bitter campaign between two unpopular candidates only one candidate would emerge victorious.

Hillary was the favorite to win according to the liberal leaning media, pundits, pollsters and all those familiar with American politics had stated that she would win a by a wide margin.

She had been in Washington for 30 years, as First Lady, Senator and later Secretary of State–a resume that was unmatched by all the contenders of the 2016 U.S Presidential elections. She had also been christened the heir apparent by the Democratic National Committee after her loss to Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary race.

The American system is one that was well thought out by the framers of the US Constitution. In order to create a level playing field among the states and to avoid more populated states from dictating the agenda and dominating the least populated areas they created the Electoral College, a system that allows each state to have the number of electoral votes equal to that state’s number of congressmen plus the two senators that every state is given.

It is the electoral college votes that decide the outcome for president and vice president, not the national popular vote. But it is the popular vote for each state that decides to which candidate the electoral votes will be given in a winner-takes-all arrangement. States with a large population like Texas, California and New York are assigned the lion’s share of congressional districts, resulting in the largest number of electoral votes. Three electoral votes are reserved for the District of Columbia, whose citizens are allowed to vote in a general election even though Washington, DC does not have direct representation in Congress. Currently a minimum of 270 electoral votes are needed to win the election for president and vice president. Donald D. Trump bagged 290 electoral votes compared to Hillary’s 228 and was quite competitive across the majority of the states with the exception of New York and California that had huge popular vote counts in her favor.

This election marks the sixth time that a candidate has won a general election without winning the national popular vote. The last time we witnessed such a spectacle was in 2000 when Al Gore lost the electoral college vote to George Bush.

On election night it was clear that in an election this close the last man standing had to win what have been termed “battleground states”, where the outcome was unclear according to the opinion polls, along with some states considered to be the firewall for either candidate. However when Trump breached the Rust Belt states that border on the Great Lakes region it became clear that a Clinton win had evaporate, leaving many shell-shocked. With Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio voting Trump it was clear that Obama’s eight years had not impacted this region that had seen many industrial jobs move overseas. Adding to the uncertainty came the fall of Florida, New Hampshire and North Carolina, states Obama had won comfortably in his previous elections, and it became clear that Hillary could not count on a majority of women or the minorities to vote for her everywhere.

So it all came down to the math of adding up the electoral votes and here Trump would carry the day, receiving more than the required 270 votes needed to become President even while losing the popular vote to Clinton. This outcome is partly what is causing the many protests across America as some voters claim that the system elected Donald Trump but the people voted for Hillary Clinton. However true to American democracy, Hillary had called Trump at around 3:30am on Wednesday morning to concede in what was a bitter election cycle, thus allowing continuity and preservation of the Union. It is interesting to note that Trump, in one of his famous tweets, once described the Electoral College as a rigged system!

Earlier on in the year I had accepted a request by a leading Ugandan Television Network (NBS TV) to give weekly updates on the race as we drew closer to the general election, this experience had allowed me to do extensive research about this particular election and why it was going to be a do or die for the final two major party candidates. This election will go down as the most stressful negative election cycle in US history.

Now that the election is over I wish to share some views on why I think Hillary lost the election to Donald Trump, who will be sworn in as our 45th President in January, succeeding Barack Obama whose departure from office leaves the Democratic party in turmoil.

For starters, the long drawn out primary campaign between Hillary and Bernie Sanders was an eye-opener for me and it was partly during the primary debates that my support was crystallized for Bernie. However, by the time Clinton emerged as winner of the Democratic primary she wash marred in scandal, owing to the Wikileaks expose’ of the DNC. Her biggest blunder, in my view, was the failure to name Sanders as her running mate as way to win over the Sanders movement (millennials and young college voters) which had refused to embrace her campaign. This group would largely stay away from the polls on election day. It can be added that the selection of Senator Tim Kaine did not help her ticket and Clinton struggled to win even in his home state of Virginia. Hillary’s flawed candidacy was propped up by surrogates and celebrities to draw large crowds while Trump’s rise came from a movement that in some ways was similar to Sanders’– people tired of politicians and Wall street big banks a base in Hillary’s corner. Trump had gone on defeat all the 17 Republican primary contenders and as a political outsider he embodied the CHANGE agent that some had been looking not even being hit by the bus scandal could deflete his campaign.

The email scandals also showed poor preparation on Hillary’s part. She knew she would run for President and yet did not fully address the issue of her email server and an investigation re-ignited the issue with 9 days to the general election. This was also a game changer for many undecided voters who felt Hillary was hiding something, especially now that the FBI was reopening the case. Of course the FBI Director James Comey will be judged harshly for bowing to Republican pressure in influencing the outcome of the election. The Clinton Foundation and its grey areas in dealing with foreign governments during her tenure as Secretary of State was deemed a conflict of interest and exploited by the Republican base to bury her fate.

Another aspect I strongly feel hurt Hillary was to model her campaign around Obama’s legacy and the slogan Stronger Together. Some saw the election of Hillary as an election of Obama’s third term. With a nation divided by a strong anti-Obama sentiment on the Republican side this was a risky gambit. The election boiled down to the Supreme Court nominations and the fear conservatives had that more liberal justices on the bench would lead to more radical changes in a nation whose foundation was “in God we Trust”. Trump was quick to exploit this notion that the failure to vote for him might lead to the appointment of liberal justices since marriage as defined between a man and woman had seen major changes on Obama’s watch. He also exploited the Second Amendment, explaining to the voters that electing Hillary would jeopardize their right to bear arms.

Trump took aim at the EU VOTE — exploiting the Brexit effect and the mood in the country by rejecting the current immigration policies that had led to home grown terror — many American rural folk had grown increasingly tired of politicians who only show up during an election cycle yet many of these families were struggling to put food on their tables. Part of Trump’s support was a repudiation of the Obama policies that some folks felt had not improved their standard of living or quality of life. Some here will be quick to give us the statistics of economic growth but the way people voted, especially in rural areas, in favor of Trump was similar in magnitude to votes Obama received in 2008, something that Hillary could not match since her base was not as energized about her candidature. To further show how divided the nation had now become the issues of race and immigration become central as some white rural voters (White Supremacists) saw their identity eroded by the Democrats and their liberal policies.

Finally, I do blame the liberal media and pollsters for totally misleading the Clinton campaign. To many Clintonites this election was called even before the voting had begun, something that could have mobilized the Republican base, especially conservatives and evangelicals, to turn out in large numbers. To them Trump was simply a means to an end and they were willing to overlook his failed marriages and other scandals and flaws, determined as they were to vote for a change candidate. It was therefore quite a shocker to learn and see that this candidate who lacked filters in his speech could out perform previous republican flag bearers like Mitt Romney and George W. Bush to remain the last man standing in this election cycle!

Our leaders in Africa should be on notice that the type of movement that brought down a powerful prime minister in the United Kingdom with the Brexit referendum vote and ended Hillary’s hopes for the Presidency will soon sweep the continent as more disenchanted voters are emboldened by the new wave of defeats of popular politicians across the globe.

The world over people are getting tired of the status quo and politicians that have continually used them for selfish gain. The defeat of the Democrats was a repudiation of Obama’s policies, in part because the Clinton campaign overlooked the issues at hand and concentrated on policy, ignoring the real needs of the American voter–a void Trump and his strategists were able to exploit and later fill in what will go down as the most shocking election in US. history.

It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything — Joseph Stalin

Leadership is not about the next election, it’s about the next generation — Simon Sinek

May God Bless These United States!

— Ronnie Mayanja Ugandan Diaspora News | |
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Opinion | The October Surprise and Why This US Election Will Shock The World — By Ronnie Mayanja

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 10/31/2016 - 02:07

By Ronnie Mayanja — They say 24 hours is a very short time for a news cycle in America. The debates came and went and we are about a week away from what will go down in US history as perhaps the dirtiest presidential campaign, one that has also produced the most unpopular nominees of a major political party.

After some remarks caught on a hot mic from years ago went viral after Trump was heard making very derogatory comments about women and how his stardom has allowed him to grope any woman within his reach, Trump’s poor second debate showing had some pundits hoping to see Trump buried, but instead he lived to see another day. During the second debate moderators and Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz pressed Trump for a confession calling his actions on women sexual assault. On his part Trump went after Bill Clinton, who is not running for president. However the failure of Hillary to land a knockout punch might haunt her if current developments are anything to go by.

The latest announcement by the FBI to reopen the investigations into Hillary Clinton’s email activity might be another red flag that might also cost some votes less than 10 days to the general election. The current scandals stem from Anthony Weiner, the then New York congressman who sent illicit sexual images to minors. As a former husband to Huma Abedin who happens to be Secretary Clinton’s most trusted aid, Abedin was forced to surrender her communication devices thereby exposing her boss to incriminating emails according to some pundits. The fact that Huma is also of Pakistani decent might not help her situation hence exacerbating the witch-hunt!

The effect of the email dumps from Julian Asange of Wikileaks is quickly hurting Hillary’s chances. Julian Asange says Wikileaks has so far released 35,000 of the 50,000 emails with less than 10 days to go to the election. For undecided voters the latest developments have left some more confused. As someone who voted for Bernie Sanders during the primary I have found it increasingly difficult to embrace Hillary with all the scandals following the campaign. Trump was quick to point out how the DNC primary process was biased and rigged in favor of Hillary’s campaign.

Today Trump’s attacks have been directed to the liberal media he blames for trying to rig this election in favor of Hillary Clinton. Some will deny the existence of a biased media in the US. However Wall Street conglomerates control the media agenda the same way big Pharmaceuticals control and lobby Washington DC and Joe the plumber on Main Street continues to get short changed.

If you have never subscribed to the hit series House of Cards on Netflix I strongly recommend that you do. Because Claire and Frank Underwood are the true definition of what a true political power couple is all about in America. Claire defended her husband at all costs, amassing political power and influence at the cost of their marriage. Those who recall Bill Clinton’s infidelity and Hillary’s support of her husband in the years following his tumultuous marriage will be quick to relate the two story lines.

As a political novice and outsider Trump could have had a shot at the Presidency but his lack of filters and temperament when dealing with political opponents have left him exposed like a sitting duck and many within the Republican base were calling for his boycott in favor of his conservative running mate Gov. Mike Pence. While Trump surprised himself by winning the Republican primary he failed to prepare for a general election showdown with Hillary. However the game changer could be the October surprise of the FBI re-opening the email investigation.

For Trump to have survived this long without releasing any tax returns yet while Governor Mike Pence was requested to declare his taxes prior to joining the ticket reveals the true hypocrisy of Trump. However Hillary too has been left exposed by both the emails and the her foreign policy debacles. The latest challenge has also been the rising premiums of Obamacare and the Republicans hope to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

A letter signed by more by 30 Republican congressmen and women following Trump’s latest sexual scandal might be an attempt by those in the conservative establishment of the party to ditch Trump. But Trump too will not go away quietly–he has promised to take on Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House. As the Never Trump movement grows we have also seen new independent conservative Republicans like Evan McMullen of UTAH join the race. Just like George Wallace who only won in his own state of Alabama in the segregated south, McMullen seems to be polling neck and neck in Utah where as a Mormon he might win and cost Trump the badly needed electoral college vote he needs to enter the White house.

Poll data still places Hillary Clinton ahead with a few percentage points but with the latest FBI investigation looming, a new email dump from Julian Asange expected and the Brexit effect that saw the media get it all wrong in the UK, many say they will not count Trump out until the last ballot is counted. He bounced back from the second debate even when some thought he was finished, fighting for his political survival amidst falling poll numbers. The Republican base deserted him calling for his boycott, but the majority of those in the Republican Party have stood by Trump and have shown a level of commitment and dedication to their candidate that seems unprecedented in the history of general election politics.

My final thought is that I expected John Kerry to win in 2004 following the Bush failures even as exit polls showed him in the lead but instead George Bush Jr, was able to win a second term, which many of us did not see coming. Pundits called it again in 2012 for Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney following an impressive showing at the Presidential debate againt incumbent President Barack Obama. It was the capture of Osama Bin Ladin that could have handed Obama his second term.

As Trump rides the latest Hillary political scandal the timing could mean that the FBI came across a real smoking gun to reopen this case! As you watch the left center and now right leaning media be aware that America and its political landscape has now changed forever. With Roger Ailes – founder of Fox News and Breibert of Breibert News in Trump’s corner a Trump Television media empire might not be far fetched to counter the conservatives that have refused to embrace Trump or the liberal media that has openly endorsed Hillary. As we watch the next 10 days beware what you put or click online because just like the Snowdon movie someone is definitely watching your every move and might use whatever you do or say against you some-day!

— Ronnie Mayanja Ugandan Diaspora News | |
Ugandan Diaspora Network | Event website | |
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Skype | ronnie.mayanja | Twitter | @rmayanja

Al Jazeera | International Criminal Court Debate — Africa vs ‘Infamous Caucasian Court’?

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 10/30/2016 - 05:30

International Criminal Court defiant after African states take aim at the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal. — Critics point out that all but one of the Hague-based court’s 10 investigations have been in Africa [Reuters]
South Africa and Burundi’s decision to quit the International Criminal Court (ICC) and an attack by Gambia against the court’s supposed “Caucasian” justice are likely to embolden other African states to leave the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal.

Although criticizing the Hague-based institution for perceived anti-African bias has long been a favorite pastime for many African leaders, in most cases it amounted to pandering to a domestic audience without much real intent.

That has now changed with the precedent established of local politics justifying actual withdrawal.

South Africa – a continental heavyweight and key backer of the ICC in the late 1990s – has made clear it could no longer tolerate the court’s denial of immunity to sitting leaders.

All eyes are now on Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who made history in 2013 by becoming the first sitting head of state to appear before the court on charges of crimes against humanity.

The case relating to Kenyatta’s alleged role in post-election violence in 2008 – in which at least 1,200 people died – collapsed in 2014 because of lack of evidence.

But in January this year, with charges still hanging over his deputy, William Ruto, Kenyatta took to the floor at the African Union (AU) to call for a “roadmap for withdrawal” for Africa’s 34 ICC members.

Supporting South Africa’s subsequent stance, Kenyatta took aim in particular at Article 27 of the ICC’s 1998 Rome Statute, which affirms the “irrelevance of official capacity” – in other words, nobody, no matter how powerful, is above the law.

Kenyatta, who faces another election next year, then played the global security card, saying this compromised Kenya’s ability to fight armed groups, a genuine concern in the wake of a major attack in 2013 on Nairobi’s Westgate mall.

“We’ve had to contend with the ICC pursuing weak, politicised cases. This has become a huge distraction from our duty to serve our people and this continent fully. That is not what Kenya signed up for when we joined the ICC,” Kenyatta said.
Kenya’s parliament has passed two resolutions since 2010 calling for withdrawal, but government spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the cabinet was still deciding – in the wake of South Africa’s move – whether to go ahead.

“It is accurate to say that a decision of the executive is pending,” he said.

Neighbouring Uganda, whose President Yoweri Museveni labelled the ICC “a bunch of useless people” at his inauguration in July, is already shaping up for a fresh push at the next AU summit in January for an African exodus.

“The ICC deserves what’s happening to it now,” said Okello Oryem, Uganda’s junior foreign affairs minister.

“Our argument has always been that there’s a need for the whole of Africa to withdraw from the ICC. We hope that matter will come up at the next AU summit and then we’ll be able to pronounce ourselves.”

ICC defiant

Most worrying for the ICC, which has been fighting to counter the allegations of anti-African bias and “neo-colonialism”, is that local or regional politics stood behind the three recent decisions to pull out.

Although Gambia, which derided the ICC as the “Infamous Caucasian Court”, does not yet appear to have sent its formal divorce papers, President Yahya Jammeh – who has been accused of serial rights abuses since seizing power in a 1994 coup – is unlikely to back off ahead of an election in December.

The ICC admits it is rattled but determined to keep going, and in particular to counter the allegations of anti-African bias.

“We must remain strong,” Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian chief prosecutor of ICC, told reporters in The Hague this week. “This is a challenge we see now. We will see it more. It is not going to go away.”

To date, all but one of the court’s 10 investigations have been in Africa and its five convicted suspects are from Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Mali.

However, it argues that many of these cases were brought by African governments themselves, not outsiders, and that it has 10 preliminary investigations into alleged atrocities elsewhere in the world, including in Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Palestine, and Ukraine.

“Even if half the African countries leave, it would be very unfortunate and damaging to the concept of international justice, but it won’t shut the court down,” one ICC official, who did not want to be named, told Reuters news agency.

“This was bound to happen when dictators – for the most part that’s what they are – decide to run for cover.”

Source — Al Jazeera

The Observer | Why our economy is on shaky ground — By Moses Khisa

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 10/29/2016 - 09:07

It’s rather post-hoc, but looking back, it’s not difficult to see there was something superficial about Crane bank: the rapid opening of new upcountry branches complete with fancy and palatial buildings, reported exponential growth of bank assets, and high returns all looked too good to be true.

Now, for those who care about a stable Uganda with a growing economy, the central bank’s takeover of the country’s third-largest bank is a big cause for worry. It was a culmination of months of speculation and weeks of heightened social media rumours. The speculation is still on since we don’t yet know the full extent of the bank’s impact on the economy.

We need to avoid being too alarmist, but the rosy, yet artificial, picture of Crane bank as we knew it says something about Uganda’s overall economy. For some time, we have been inundated with impressive growth statistics and a picture of an African success story.

Our ‘development partners’, chiefly the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, have showcased Uganda as a foremost student of the Washington Consensus tri-policy doctrine of liberalisation, privatisation, and deregulation.

Journalist and businessman Andrew Mwenda has been a most vociferous unofficial spokesman of this success story, presenting Uganda as a fundamental achievement of modern times.

In one of our recent long discussions, I challenged Mwenda on the fact that Uganda’s economic outlook lacks the critical pillars for transformation. But why, I asked, can’t the people in charge of economic policy do some very basic things that would make a difference.

For starters, the much-talked-about growth has largely been in sectors that employ very few Ugandans and where we produce very little, if anything: banking, telecommunication, hotel, tourism, construction, etc. In most of these areas, there is almost nothing that a Ugandan produces, thus contributing to global output – everything is imported, except our game parks and other tourist attractions.

Mr Sudhir Ruparelia, owner of the now-distressed Crane bank, also owns Meera Investments which manages a string of big-money businesses, largely in real estate and the services sector. I don’t know if any of his businesses is a manufacturing plant.

To move a society from poverty and underdevelopment to higher standards of living underpinned by high incomes, improvements in human capital and technological innovation are critical. Only then is it possible to increase productivity and thus expand overall national output.

The quality of human capital depends as much on formal training and gaining competences to execute certain tasks as on social transformation and the embrace of a set of ethos and values.

While literacy rates have gone up, and those who speak for or defend the NRM government will quickly cite the statistics, increased access to education has not translated into highly-productive citizens with the competences for large-scale value-added production. This is an Africa-wide problem, partly the reason the continent receives a paltry share of global foreign direct investment while Asia, especially China, takes a huge chunk.

But human capital can’t transform society on its own; physical capital, too, is critical: money, machines, buildings and infrastructure. Human beings make machines. They also build infrastructure like roads and bridges.

Assuming that they have all the competences to produce machines, people need money to invest in the production of goods that are in turn critical in producing high-value goods that bring high returns and can benefit a range of people in the economy.

A dairy famer in Nakasongola needs milk-processing equipment to be able to get a good return; otherwise, he sells the milk locally in his village at poor prices or, in the worst case-scenario, he won’t sell at all. This raises the critical role of access to credit.

Alexander Gerschenkron, one of the most important thinkers of modern industrialization and late development, made a distinction between early industrialisation (in say, Britain) and late industrialisation in a poor and backward country (like Russia in the late 19th century) or late, late industrialisation in a country like Uganda.

Early industrialisation was aided by “original accumulation” of capital by private players, but late industrialisation required mobilisation of finances that could not be easily done by private entrepreneurs.

The role of the banking sector is then very crucial in financing industrialisation by availing long-term and affordable credit. For this to happen, there has to be an element of ‘fiscal coercion’ in the sense that banks are compelled by the state to conduct business in a manner they would not do if left on their own.

If the state is managed by leaders determined to spur industrialisation, it can undertake a range of policy interventions that make it possible for affordable credit to be channelled to industrial and value-added production.

Key individuals at the central bank and the treasury have unwavering commitment to market economics orthodoxy. They believe the state shouldn’t tamper with the workings of the market. This is a most misleading and ahistorical mindset that blindly and faithfully tows the IFM/World Bank line of thinking. Mwenda and I agreed on this, his own faith notwithstanding.

The author teaches  political science at Northwestern University/Evanston, Chicago-USA.

Opinion | What We Got Wrong on Privatization — By Samuel Sejjaaka

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 10/29/2016 - 06:51

Opinion — Through out the eighties and nineties, the buzzword in economic management was liberalization. Arising out of the ‘Washington Consensus’, and the reforms of Margaret Thatcher in the UK, we in the third world were convinced that the only way to reform our bloated economies was to ‘downsize, restructure and retrench’. We were told that the state had ‘no business doing business’. That the business of making profits was best left to investors whose objectives were clearly economic.

Coming on the heels of the ‘Velvet Revolution’, which led to the collapse of communism as we knew it, and the demise of the Soviet Union, we had no reason to ask for the rest of the story. There was hardly an economic pundit who didn’t buy into this argument, your blogger included. Liberalize we did. If you opposed you were labeled Marxist and a pariah. We cut up the state, sent people home, swallowed the bitter pill of structural adjustment and sold the family silver (privatization).

Looking back, twenty odd years on, the wisdom of our decisions is beginning to look suspect. First we assumed that our economies had reached an optimal level of investment in infrastructure, which cannot be undertaken by any private sector investor. Second we assumed that private capital inflows would flow towards least developed countries as freely as they did towards developed countries. Third, we believed that private investors ‘loved’ us very much and would work hard as the ‘engine of growth’ Fourth and most fallacious, we believed in free markets!

The truth is there was no infrastructure to drive economic growth. Private capital flows were and are still very capricious on account of the political risk. The kind of investors we were also most likely to attract were ‘fly-by-night’ carpetbaggers. And there is no such thing like a free market! How ridiculous our arguments now look! What we did not appreciate was the fact that while government had ‘no business doing business’, government still had a lot of ‘business knowing what businesses were doing (regulation) and protecting the national interest.

With privatization, should have come more regulation. But this did not happen, or if it did, it was feeble and inept. And so the ‘investors’ who initially ‘bought’ the Nile Hotel didn’t meet their end of the bargain. Others who ‘bought’ public assets did a lot of asset striping, while others just took us to the dry cleaners. Today the national airline is no more, and the successor ‘Air Uganda’ did not inherit any of its assets. Uganda Railways is a shadow of its former self and the power crisis is still here.

What we got wrong was the fact that some investments had such critical and strategic positive externalities, we could not leave them to the private sector. Strategic importance was sacrificed to reduce the public sector borrowing requirement, and many of our people bore the social costs of structural adjustment. Many died miserable and broken – they were collateral damage, I suppose. And so we surrendered the commanding heights of our economy to a new colonialism, dressed as foreign capital. Some asked: must privatization be indigenization? Others asserted that we didn’t have to own anything, so long as we had no sugar queues and our people had jobs in the plantations.

I say all of this with hindsight. After all, a fool is always clever after the fact! But this animal, privatization, was indeed fools gold. We paid a high price to ‘correct’ the ills of the seventies and early eighties. But in the process of righting the wrongs, we sold our birthright. For, in the absence of clear performance indicators (working regulatory framework) and the retreat of the state, we did acquire a new set of colonial masters. They didn’t use force to recolonize us and not that privatization was wrong. It is just that we didn’t know what we were doing, and we lacked a national ethos, to make decisions for posterity.

Diaspora Apps | Sawa Pay The New Mobile Money Transfer Service For Uganda and Kenya!

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 10/29/2016 - 06:16

Sawa Pay — We are Kenyan company that was borne out of the frustration that faces Africans trying to receive money from abroad. Having been faced with the inconvenience of traditional methods of receiving money and the high cost associated with it, we got thinking of how we could use technology to reduce cost and improve speed of sending and receiving cash.

SawaPay the solution borne out of this is disrupting the International Money Transfer Industry. It is a new, simpler, more convenient and cost effective international money transfer and payment service mobile application. We allows users to send money from the U.S. to recipients in Kenya and Uganda with other countries in Africa as part of our expansion plans.

The funds are conveniently sent via Android or iOS mobile app to bank accounts or mobile money accounts, including M-PESA and MTN Money. The app features also include the ability to purchase airtime with any carrier in Kenya, pay for utilities such as water, power, mortgage payments, and other PayBill services.

Tel (USA) +1 302 59 79 236
Tel  (Kenya) +254 721654505
E Mail:

Flashback | IFAD Lecture | Winnie Byanyima Discusses “The Future of Aid”

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 10/25/2016 - 07:51

Flashback — How relevant is aid? How much impact can it have? Is aid key to the success of the world’s new Sustainable Development Goals? Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, addresses these questions and more in her IFAD Lecture presented at the 38th session of the Governing Council. Her lecture – entitled ‘The Future of Aid’ – took place on February 17th 2015.

Last week Dr. Winnie Byanyima was the proud recipient of a honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom below is a media brief from the college she attended! As a Ugandan diaspora success story we recognize this and the many milestones of her career especially her quest to make the world a better place. Above is a video lecture she presented at IFAD 38th session — she discussed – The Future of Aid.

The University of Manchester awarded an honorary degree to the Executive Director of Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima, as part of its Foundation Day celebrations on Wednesday 19 October.

Winnie, who is also an alumna of the University, used the occasion of the ceremony to give a Foundation Lecture entitled ‘Advancing Women’s Rights in an Unequal World: A personal perspective’, in which she outlined some of the experiences of her unique career in politics and international development.

Ugandan-born Winnie leads Oxfam International, a confederation of 19 organisations working in more than 90 countries, empowering people to create a future that is secure, just, and free from poverty. She led Uganda’s first parliamentary women’s caucus which championed ground-breaking gender equality provisions in the country’s 1995 post-conflict constitution.

A signatory to her country’s 1985 peace agreement, Ms Byanyima has helped to broker and support women’s participation in political transitions in Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa, Burundi, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya and other countries emerging from conflict.

She has a BSc in Aeronautical Engineering from Manchester and returned to campus earlier this year to launch the University’s Global Development Institute, Europe’s largest research and teaching institute dedicated to international development.

Winnie explained that despite her undergraduate and masters degrees in engineering, “heart was in political struggles.”

She said: “I came to this University a refugee and I went home a revolutionary. A spark burning inside me for political change. Like many young people, Manchester is where we found the confidence to dream our dreams and go back home and make them come true.”

Winnie Byanyima also officially launched the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester in February this year – a new research institute which is a flagship for the University’s research beacon for addressing global inequalities and which unites the strengths of the of the University’s Institute for Development Policy and Management and the Brooks World Poverty Institute.

Winnie said, “The role of the GDI and its researchers is a very important one. Of course you work on finding policy solutions to questions and to challenging problems in development. But I think more than finding policy solutions it’s so important to do the fundamental research I was talking about in terms of, ‘What is the basis for this growth model? How do we challenge the ideas and assumptions that underpin this model?’

“I am quite convinced that globalisation and the economic model that underpins it is driven by the wrong values – not the values we subscribe to and certainly not the human rights values that are in the universal Human Rights Charter.

“So connecting a human rights based approach to development and anchoring in values is very important and challenging neo liberalism for me is an important role for an institute like the GDI because, for me, it is about challenging the causes of poverty.”

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “I am delighted that at this year’s Foundation Day celebrations we welcomed back an alumna, Ms Winnie Byanyima, to deliver our most prestigious lecture and to award her an honorary doctorate.

“Winnie’s drive to promote the roles of women and work to address global inequalities fully align with the University’s own activities.

Source — University of Manchester Profile and IFAD video!

The Ganda Boys | The Inspiring Story of Musical Group Whose Foundation is Making a Difference!

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 10/25/2016 - 06:50

Q1. Are the Ganda Boys and the Ganda Foundation the same institution? What are the major activities of the Foundation and what are the activities of the Ganda Boys?

Q1a: The Ganda Boys and their charitable organisation, the Ganda Foundation, are distinctly two separate entities and keep their trade and financial activities quite separate. The Ganda Boys are purely a music group, which composes, records and performs our songs, yet contains the inspiration for our social message and creates a beautiful conduit for telling our stories and inspiring people around the globe. The latter, our Ganda Foundation, is a UK registered charity, that is entirely concerned about delivering aid to the needy. We have operated mainly in rural Uganda since 2009, focusing on Kawolo and Mulogo hospitals (medical equipment) and Lugazi Community Primary School (educational materials and computer labs). Recently, in the last couple of years, we have taken on the wider refugee cause in both Uganda and also in Europe. (see questions 9, 10 and 11 below)

Q2. How did you come to the musical scene?

Q2a: The Ganda Boys first met together at the BBC in London in 2008, when our Ganda Boys music director, Craig Pruess, was commissioned to compose the music for a BBC prime time television series called “Moses Jones” — an award-winning drama about Ugandan musicians struggling to survive in London, UK. Former Ugandan popular group, DaTwinz (Denis Mugagga and Daniel Sewagudde) had been living in London for some years and were asked to advise the series production team on Ugandan culture, and ended up assisting Craig in writing four African-fusion songs that became part of the key drama scenes. A feature of the series was a live African band in full swing in a London “African” styled club — expertly constructed by the BBC carpenters and stylists. These scenes and songs became part of the drama. The musical collaboration for this project was so successful, and the music so appreciated (a British Academy Award nomination for Best Original Music for Craig Pruess) that it was quite effortless that Craig, Denis and Daniel would continue to work together. Ganda Boys as a name and new identity quickly followed, as did the first concerts, recordings and then more and more songs. It hasn’t stopped since then!

Q3. Why did you change to another music genre?

Q3a. The evolution from DaTwinz to the Ganda Boys can be described very succinctly as: “message”. From recording music/songs to entertain and catch the public’s ear as good popular music does, to creating songs and stories about social situations and real dreams and wider global issues — this happened naturally with the Ganda Boys. It was the chemistry between the three of us. It felt right, we felt we had a lot to say, and we have always felt that it is bringing the best of African traditional chants fused with meaningful and thought-provoking English lyrics to an international audience. It’s a far broader musical palette than DaTwinz, with a more global flavour, even orchestral string arrangements. The Queen of Buganda, the gracious Nnabagereka, has said often that the Ganda Boys have now helped put Ugandan music onto the international map, creating style and substance for an international listening audience, with direct pointers back to the rich musical heritage of Uganda.

Q4. You have been nominated for the IMA Music Awards; what impact does this nomination have on the group?

Q4a: It is similar as with the BAFTA nomination, and the Royal Television Society Awards nomination, and now being listed for a GRAMMY nomination — it is very auspicious for our international stature, especially in that it gives us a wider platform for our message to be heard. And wherever our message is heard and people resonate with the songs and feelings, it paves the way for the Ganda Foundation to have more members and more volunteers to step forward and make a difference in other people’s lives. This is a very satisfying process to witness.

Q5. How many awards have you been nominated for and how many have you won?

Q5a: In addition to those mentioned above, we have also been nominated for the Arts for Peace Award in Los Angeles. For many of these nominations, we are awaiting the results, but if we win any, you will be the first to know! Just to be nominated is a great honor and gives us greater credibility among future audiences and our peers.

Q6. I know you are a music group, who usually do music for charity, but I see many artists doing music for profit or to earn a living, what is the difference between you and them?

Q6a: We also do concerts for fees that help pay our way and/or pay for our expenses and personal needs. Sometimes we struggle a little bit. We are not wealthy financiers or businessmen, but working musicians/composers. But we are feeling a bigger calling in our unique position as ambassadors for peace, harmony and goodwill for this Earth! Have you noticed how effective and uniting it is when there are large celebrations? We gladly take part in these types of events. It is important for humanity to realise how celebration and music and uplifting songs can bring people — people who might even be on opposing sides of conflict/idealogy/religion/politics — together as one. Wherever this is happening in the world, we will be there. It is a great honour for us. This motivates us greatly.

Q7. What are the main activities of the Foundation? Where does the Ganda Foundation get funds for all your charity work?

Q7a: Our Ganda Foundation is dedicated to contributing towards sustainable and empowered communities in Uganda. In other words, we want to give aid in a way that helps people to help themselves. A very good example of this is the computer lab we are helping to build for the Lugazi Community Primary School in the Buikkwe District, east of Kampala. By bringing the internet and the wide world of learning to these young minds, we are planting the seeds for a new generation of global citizens, aware and useful members of an informed and effective work force — future leaders. A basic requirement for progress is peace and stability, and luckily this has dawned in recent times in Uganda, and therefore this is an important time to move forward. Basic health needs of the people are also urgent, so our work in the hospitals is on that fundamental humanitarian level: incubators, operating tables, medical supplies. For immediate and important projects, we often dig into our own pockets to meet urgent financial costs like shipment of medical supplies or delivery of computers. We plan ahead and hold fund-raising concerts, plus we appeal directly to our friends, families, supporters, fans and colleagues whenever something important comes up that needs to be done within our Foundation’s objectives. We have regular donations from our Members, too. It’s amazing how much people want to help a good cause.

Q8. What is the major target of the Ganda Foundation?

Q8a: To inform, to inspire and to serve! We are slightly different from other aid agencies because we approach our work from the arts: from film, music soundtracks and communication networks (social media). Because we are all experienced media people, we find it quite natural to document our Foundation activities, frame them in a meaningful way, thereby reaching out to many new people. We have seen many times in Europe that when we screen short films of our Ganda Foundation work during a fund-raising music concert, we have people step forward and actually procure hospital equipment, even doctors booking a flight to Uganda to hold workshops and deliver medical equipment! The nature of heart-to-heart communication is what we excel at and we feel very humbled and grateful that we can do this important humanitarian work in this way. When you look into the eyes of a young person who has grown up benefiting from the Ganda Foundation, life-changing — you feel that deep in your soul — well, nothing can match that experience.

Q9. Recently, you have a new campaign, The Forgotten People, please can you say something about this project, like who are the forgotten people?

Q9a: In the world today, there are over 52 million people who are displaced from their homelands. The reasons are various, from natural disasters to civil war, from famine to military conflict, from forced displacement to ethnic cleansing. But all share the same trait: intense suffering. It is hard to imagine what it must be like to live close to your land for generations, and then find yourself on a road to somewhere else, with few possessions on your back, and little chance to return home. Uganda itself has the fifth largest refugee population in the world, with an influx from Southern Sudan, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and the drought in Kenya. The Middle East conflict with Syria has created one of the biggest humanitarian crisis in Europe in recent times with over a million refugees coming into the borders. Even homeless people, displaced within their own communities — a growing problem in the USA — are also the “forgotten people”. People ignore them. Most are not even accounted for or the subjects of aid or shelter. It’s very harsh, and society has become numb to this human disaster.

Q10. How will the forgotten people benefit from this project?

Q10a: Thanks to our international partners and visionary collaborators with the Ganda Foundation, we have identified some very modern and rapid ways that we can deliver direct aid to refugees on the move. What all refugees need are the tools and skills to reintegrate into new communities. In the case of refugees from Syria, many are professional people, and use smart phones or tablets to help navigate across foreign lands in their quest to find a place of safety and stability for their families. Our American partner, UCLA Extention programme in Los Angeles (attached to one of the largest universities in the USA, UCLA — University of California, Los Angeles), has devised effective aid IT packages consisting of 1) job re-training info; 2) language aids; 3) local customs and etiquette; and 4) contacts and local services. This type of aid can have an immediate impact on a traveling refugee. It has been inspiring to see aid organisations offering free SIM cards and data packages to refugees crossing the European borders. Many hardships and uncertainties are there, but this kind of practical aid delivers great hope and support. Refugees receiving this kind of aid don’t feel “forgotten”! For the impoverished and hopeless throngs in remote refugee camps, UCLA Extension has what are called “community based education programmes” — a brilliant concept, designed to engage all age groups to undertake basic projects together, like constructing rain collectors, or creating desert gardens — useful and resourceful activities. This creates a template for setting up education classes in a basic form. But remember, people cannot learn much if they are starving, so basic humanitarian supplies are also required for this level of aid to be effective. All it requires is the will of the international community, and the communication to the masses of affluent societies that “LIVES DO MATTER”. And that refugees, displaced and the homeless are all a human resource that can be nurtured and cultivated with love and care. Talents and rich experiences are all there, but can be so easily wasted. By believing in the future of these struggling people, is how we make this world a better place.

Q11. Please tell about your experience on working with the less privileged people.

Q11a: This has been one of the most touching and satisfying aspects of our work. One example is: we rescued an HIV/AIDS family that were very desperate, poor and without hope. One of the young teenagers in the family was bed-ridden, with severe spinal problems, and she could not study or go to school. The Ganda Foundation paid for her immediate medical treatment and then her schooling, when she was able to study. She has now graduated, enthusiastic, healthy and desiring to work for our Foundation and its local activities. To see her now is to witness such a transformation, to see the power of the human spirit — if given half a chance.

Q12. What inspired you into charity/ humanitarian work?

Q12a: besides the answer to question 11 and those direct experiences that we have had, there is an underlying principle that comes when one feels connected to humanity. Reel the question back to an understandable level, like our own blood family: Can we really be happy if the people around us are not happy? No, that is very very difficult, and we therefore take responsibility for those that we love and care for. Now, when one feels grateful for all the good things that one has in life, then it is quite a natural step to want to reach out to those less fortunate and make a difference. What made Nelson Mandela so strong inside that he could lead his people to freedom? Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jnr., Mother Theresa! There is something inside that grows and grows. It’s hard to explain, but it happens. Call it “universal love-in-action”, when one feels connected to all of humanity, then true service happens naturally, without effort. It becomes a way of life. We hardly ever talk about this side of things, as there is always so much to do! And we just get on with it.

The Ganda Boys are: Denis Mugagga, Craig Pruess and Daniel Sewagudde Facebook: Ganda Boys The Ganda Foundation, a UK registered charity, was established in 2009 by the three founders, Denis, Craig and Daniel

Daily Monitor | Bank of Uganda takes over Crane Bank

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 10/20/2016 - 15:48

All the directors of Crane Bank have been suspended after Governor Emmanuel Mutebile on Thursday announce that Bank of Uganda had taken over.

According to Mutebile, Crane Bank is under-capitalised and poses systemic risk to the banking sector. However, Mr Mutebile noted that the bank remains open to customers under the management of Bank of Uganda.

“Crane Bank has been on the BOU watch list since September 2015 after regular onsite tests and external audit report. Crane Bank capital had fallen below the 50 per cent legal requirement under the law,” he added.
According to him, Crane Bank is the third largest bank in Uganda. Mr Mutebile further noted that BOU is to conduct audit on Crane Bank to determine whether the high NPLs and Bad Debts contributed to the capital erosion.

In a letter addressed to Crane Bank’s Ag. Managing director and dated October 20 read: “This is to inform you that Bank of Uganda has, with effect from today 20th 2016, pursuant to Sections 87 (3), 88 (1)(a) & (b) of the Financial Institutions Act 2004, taken over management of Crane Bank Ltd.

You are accordingly suspended from your position as Acting Managing Director and you are required to make a formal handover of your responsibilities to the Bank of Uganda Statutory Manager, Mr Edward Katimbo Mugwanya,” read part of the statement signed by Mutebile.

Mr Mutebile further said: “You shall, nonetheless, continue to serve Crane Bank Ltd as a principal support of the Statutory Manager.”

Source — Daily Monitor.

CTO | Commonwealth Candidate Mr. Patrick Masambu elected Director-General of International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO)

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 10/15/2016 - 20:32

Commonwealth candidate Masambu elected Director-General of International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO).  During his time as chairman of the CTO Council on behalf of Uganda, Mr Masambu presided over important transformations to turn the CTO into a more member-centric organisation

LONDON, United Kingdom, October 14, 2016 — Patrick Masambu, a Uganda citizen and former chairman of the Council of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) ( has been elected director-general of the US-based International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO) (

Mr Masambu was the only Commonwealth candidate for the position.He bagged 73 votes while the French candidate got 42. A former communications regulator for Uganda, he brings to the role over 30 years of experience, including over six years as ITSO’s current deputy director-general and director of technical affairs. He is the first sub-Saharan African to be elected to the position.

During his time as chairman of the CTO Council on behalf of Uganda, Mr Masambu presided over important transformations to turn the CTO into a more member-centric organisation.

“The election was exciting with three strong candidates. I am delighted to see Patrick elected. He brings tremendous experience to ITSO and I look forward to working with him,” said Shola Taylor shortly after Mr Masambu’s election.

In his acceptance remarks, Mr Masambu thanked all ITSO members for their support and looked forward to partnerships with international and regional organisations, including CTO, in areas such as capacity building to achieve the objectives of ITSO.

The Honourable Frank Tumwebaze, Uganda’s Minister of Information Technology & Communications equally thanked all the member states and also Mr Taylor SG for the excellent support given to Uganda to improve the ICT sector in Uganda.

ITSO’s mission is to:

  • Ensure the performance of Core Principles for the provision of international public telecommunications services, with high reliability and quality.
  • Promote international public telecommunications services to meet the needs of the information and communication society
    Protect the ITSO Parties’ Common Heritage
  • For the CTO, it is important that Commonwealth values and shared interests are represented at the highest level in international forums, in order to strengthen the position of the Commonwealth.

SOURCE — Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO)

See link to learn more about Mr. Patrick Masambu. In 2014 he was a Diaspora Lifetime achievement award recipient and the video featured in this article was his acceptance speech then. Don’t miss our annual Ugandan Diaspora Social Networking Gala on 30th December 2016 at Kampala Serena Hotel as we recorgnize more notable Ugandans abroad.

BOU Press Statement | Bank of Uganda Addresses Crane Bank WhatsApp Rumors!

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 10/14/2016 - 05:11

Bank of Uganda Press Statement on Crane Bank — Messages circulating on Whatsapp instructing depositors to withdraw their money from Crane Bank were not issued by BoU.

It has been brought to our attention that messages have been circulating on Whatsapp instructing depositors to withdraw their money from Crane Bank within the next week. We wish to categorically state that these messages were not issued by Bank of Uganda.

The shareholders of commercial banks have the option of selling shares to new investors as they deem appropriate. However, any new investor in a commercial bank must satisfy the regulator that they are fit and proper. The BoU does not comment on any negotiations to sell shares in a bank while these negotiations are ongoing.

BoU monitors closely all commercial banks in Uganda and any actions which it takes are motivated primarily by the objective of protecting the best interests of banks’ depositors.

Christine Alupo, Director Communication

Source — Bank of Uganda website.

Arapapa Goes Global | Coterie New York, An Exclusive Sourcing Event For Fabric Providers

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 10/13/2016 - 09:49

Taking place every September at Coterie New York, SOURCING Coterie hosts a juried selection of world-class factories and fabric providers. This exclusive sourcing event connects the most influential luxury and designer brands to a curated selection of manufacturers specializing in lower minimums and high-quality production.

Friends, ARAPAPA by Santa Anzo won a contract to showcase their products and pitch to American chain buyers in New York city. According to Santa who says she has relentlessly and passionately displayed her undoubted commitment to promote MADE IN UGANDA clothing. She also believes that this is a much needed AGOA success story that is a big win for Uganda.

On that note Santa wishes to thank the East African AGOA Hub and USAID for successfully representing Uganda to their counterparts in USA.  She also thanked her sponsors for paying the Ugandan booth as well as the marketing representative who manned the booth in New York.

Sadly, Santa Anzo points to the lack of support from the Uganda government for this sector. She wonders why it is always easier for government to financially support foreign owned firms but not we the local investors. As a unique fashion brand this would do well in promoting Uganda’s tourism potential!

Finally Santa is grateful to her crew at Arapapa for believing in her through the years in her very words — these people rock my world.  To you our clients, fans and friends….THANK YOU.

Now we need your every positive vibe and wishes for a great win for Africa, East Africa and ultimately for Uganda.  May the the beauty of our fashion,  intricately tailored bring total satisfaction to all the buyers across the world!

Santa Anzo
Chief Fashion Designer & MD
Arapapa Fashion House & Design Studio

Founder & President
Uganda International Fashion Week
1st Floor, Oasis Mall
P.O.Box 2471, Kampala-Uganda.
Tel;  +256 414 252614 Cell; +256 772 470325
facebook; ARAPAPA by Santa Anzo

London Dispatch | Uganda Convention UK 2016 Post Convention Report.

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 10/13/2016 - 08:01

The Sixth annual Uganda UK Convention 2016, held at the Troxy in London, UK on the 10th September 2016 was an overwhelming success! See digital report below

This year’s programme addressed the essential need-to-know topics most prevalent to Uganda, such as opportunities within the priority sectors; Infrastructure development, Power & Energy, Health-care, Agriculture & Agri-business, Real Estate, tourism, increasing intra-regional trade and developing risk mitigation strategies through collaborations and Private equity, and VC finance access.

Women and youth entrepreneurship and empowerment were taken into consideration as cross-cutting issues in the discussion of all the areas mentioned above.

Some of the high profile speakers included: Rt Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, His Highness, David Onen Acana II, Acholi Paramount Chief, Lord Sheikh, HE Joyce Kikafunda, Hon. Jaffer Kapasi OBE, Mr Amin Mawji OBE, Hon. Winnie Kiiza, Pastor Jessica Kayanja, Hon. Cecilia Ogwal, and former Presidential candidate Retired Col. Kiiza Besigye and Lord Dolar Popat, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Rwanda and Uganda and Members of Parliament.

The Chairman, also founder of the Uganda Convention, highlighted some of the and impact of the Convention since its inception in 2010, disclosing that 3475 delegates had so far attended the Convention; more than 90 Ugandans relocated to Uganda, 31 companies from Uganda had showcased their services and 67 UK companies including SME by Diaspora had also exhibited at the Conventions. On record over 7 companies were in the process of investing or had already invested in Uganda, for example Signature Group which signed an MOU with the government to build over 10,000 homes for the police.

Some of the charitable achievements included; two (2) tractors donated by a delegate at the 3rd Convention to the First Lady, and money donated by the Nagrecha’s to refurbish a primary school in Ntugamo, with over 50 disadvantaged disabled students benefiting from the Convention.

Recently at the Health Forum inspired and co-founded by the Convention Lord Popat donated $100,000 towards a hospital in Busore-Busoga.

Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, appealed to delegates that, Uganda needs to be marketed as much as possible since some people around the world still associate Uganda with the era of Idi Amin and don’t know about its current potential in trade and tourism. Rt Hon said, in the recent years, Uganda has been voted as the leading investment destination within the East African region by various agencies.

Rt Hon said that professionals are needed back home; Doctors, nurses, health professionals, engineers etc. The Parliament, has been pushing for better remuneration of our professionals – especially teachers and health practitioners. Uganda must stop exporting health workers while thousands of Ugandans are dying daily and work toward retention of these very key professionals, she added.

Some of the good news on the day were disclosed by Amin Mawji OBE, Diplomatic Representative, Aga Khan Development Network, he revealed that the Aga Khan is investing in a major world class teaching hospital in Kampala where those living in and travelling to Uganda will be able to access the same health services as those in India, Kenya and the West.

Lord Dolar Popat, Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Uganda and Rwanda, revealed that, during his visit to Rwanda, they reached an agreement in principle to start direct flights from Kigali to London, via Entebbe. This was his number one aim as Trade Envoy and it would make a huge difference to increasing trade with East Africa; dramatically cutting the time to get to both countries.

He disclosed that during his conversations with President Museveni, he agreed to host the summit in Kampala in 2017, which would be a perfect opportunity to showcase Uganda and its economic opportunities to British businesses. Lord Popat would be leading a very large delegation to next year’s summit.

Reflecting on the shift to a more pro-active approach by the UK Government to Uganda, he informed the delegates that they had now broadened their range of products to ensure that UK companies remained competitive and responded to increasing development and infrastructure needs in Uganda. This was a game changer, meaning that the current annual country covers for Uganda had been increased from £100m to £500m. This would allow them to support major projects in Uganda as well as smaller ones, and also a number of large projects were also under consideration.

His Royal Highness Onen David Acana II, Acholi Paramount Chief stated that over the years Acholi had been in the news all over for the wrong reasons. The conflict that characterised the 1980’s, 90’s and part of 2000 closed out this potentially rich region from engaging meaningfully in trade and investment opportunities using its resources. He said that the situation had changed and Acholiland was slowly opening up and getting positioned as a key player in trade and investment in Uganda.

Henry Ngabirano, Managing Director, Uganda Coffee Development Authority, said that Uganda had come up with a national strategy to make its position in the coffee global economy after realizing that the best value in value chain was brand. The new coffee drive was motivated by the fact that in the next five years the market would require 50-60m bags and Uganda was best placed to be a big player. The Big boys like Brazil and Vietnam had maximum production levels and exhausted growth avenues. This was a great indication for investment opportunities.

Dr. Kizza Besigye, former President, Forum For Democratic Change confirmed what others before him had said, that truly Uganda was the best country an investor could come to and he continued to stress the point the description of the “Pearl of Africa” made by Sir Winston Churchill which was something that was deserved and an honest observation by him. He said that he had been at different countries and five continents but Uganda was a truly unique country that one could find endowed with natural resources and great and wonderful people.

However, he maintained that Uganda required strong institutions in order for investment to make sense.

Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda, Minister of State Minister for Tourism, disclosed that the Ministry was giving out concessions to construct lodges and guest houses within the ten national parks to fill the accommodation deficit. He further said that the government was planning to construct national stop-over for tourist along all motor-ways leading to national parks, these would be done at every 100 miles.

The government was also embarking on domestic tourism, a move to boost domestic tourism, the campaign would be a monthly touring programme, which would also be coupled by another programme called “Home Stay”, this was intended to reduce on wildlife human conflict, and in turn it would help residents within the national park perimeter to house tourists and earn a living. The government would help them to improve on their housing facilities.

Hon. Michael Werikhe Kafabusa, Minister of State for Trade and industry. He said that Uganda was a member of the East African Community, COMESA and SADC and the Tripartite Zone. This was a big market of over 590 million people which an investor can tap into directly or indirectly through Uganda. Uganda development corporation was being re-capitalised with 500 billion Ug Shs. to help people who intended to invest in the country and needed to access finance from Uganda.

Hon. Byaruhanga reported that the government was working on establishing a desk at the Entebbe airport, fast tracking Ugandans from the Diaspora visiting and leaving the country.
He also added that the government was looking at changing the ways Diasporas registers their vehicles from the blue number plate which compromises Diaspora security to robbers and thieves who follow them home and rob them.

During the second of the convention at the House of Lords, hosted by Lord Sheikh one of the issues raised by members of Uganda parliament included; the difficulty of acquiring United Kingdom Visa ­ The Lord Popat asked the delegation to write to him officially and raise the concern. He promised to follow up the matter with the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Lord Popat informed their counterparts that the break way was the better solution for Britain since it gave her independence and the ability to make her own decisions unlike when she was still under EU i.e. Britain would be at liberty to do business with whomever she choose unlike before where collective responsibility was required and that one of the prospects for Britain was reviving its relations with Africa at her own terms and conditions.

Other issues of concern were; Ease of doing business; the concern was that there were many procedures and processes involved in making investments in Uganda which slowed and discouraged would be investors; Bureaucracy; slowness in decision making process by the responsible authorities which frustrated would be investors; Corruption; this vice could not be tolerated by the British people who wanted transparency at every stage.

Finally, at the house of Lords, a Way forward was agreed that:
• On investment, it was noted that there was a need for closer ties and relations between the two Parliaments. To achieve this desire of building close ties Sir William the Chairman of African Parliament Group (APG) informed the Members from Uganda that they could arrange for meetings through the British Embassy in Uganda, they should also use the avenue of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as well as Inter Parliamentary Union
• Uganda to use the opportunity of the available trade opportunities to revive Uganda airline.
• Establish a Joint Parliamentary group composed of both Parliaments through the Lord Sheikh for future discussions.
• Sir William and Hon. Cecilia expressed the need for a delegation of Members of Parliament from both Parliaments to visit each other’s Parliament.

See complete convention photo gallery here —

Source — UK Convention Chair!

Death Announcement | Dallas Mourns The Loss of Adam Senyonga a longtime Resident of DFW – Texas

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 10/10/2016 - 06:43

By Samuel Muwanguzi — In Summary: His home had become the defacto ‘community center’ of joy for all Ugandans living within the DFW area. He was a man with a big heart; generous, jovial, welcoming, and easy to love and difficult to hate. He was a man of the people; engaged in all community activities and hosted many social functions at his residence, an open and warm dwelling.

With his wife Aunt Betty, the couple welcomed, fathered, mothered, and grandparented all; young and old. Africans in the Diaspora living in DFW area and many others across racial, class, color, gender, and generational divides found a welcoming space at 2969 Timber creek Trail, Fort Worth, TX 76118.

Uncle Adam Senyonga has gone too soon for the community to comprehend. He simply vanished without warning; no sickness, no goodbye to those he loved and those who dearly loved him. The gap he leaves in the Ugandan community living within DFW area is too huge to fill. To those living, the challenge he has left is to immortalize his legacy, a personable personality that endeared many to him, to his home, and to his family.

No amount of words can express the extent to which the Ugandan community is grieving and enduring the demise of Uncle Adam Senyonga, the man of the people. His sudden death has shocked the entire community into a frantic soul-searching exercise to perfect their own imperfections before their individualized and unknown minute, hour, and day will finally strike. Uncle Adam, you have challenged us, put us on the spot, confused us, beaten us black and blue, and sent us into disarray.

Meanwhile, a daily vigil is ongoing at his residence at 2969 Timber creek Trail, Fort Worth, TX 76118. Plans to raise funds to transport the body of the late Uncle Adam Senyonga to Uganda for burial are also in full swing. An App, Square Cash Send Money for Free has been created to download and send contributions (money) through the phone number of Rita Naiga (817) 986 4221.

A go fund me account to cover funeral expenses for Uncle Adam has also been opened at: utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_content=sharing_image&utm_campaign=invite_n

Contributors are requested to make donations and help in spreading the word about this humanitarian cause. We will do what is humanly possible to pay our respects to your remains and emulate your good deeds. We wish we could do a little more or somewhat better. But alas, we, like you, were, and still are, woefully inadequate. RIP, our Uncle, father, Jjajja, brother, and mukwano gwa bangi, Adam!

Fort Worth, Texas—Uncle Adam Senyonga, as he was popularly known, died suddenly Friday October 07 at around 6:00PM. According to a family source, Uncle Adam Senyonga collapsed in the bathroom at the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) international airport and was pronounced dead by medical authorities at the neighboring Baylor Hospital in Grapevine where he was rushed by 911. Family sources say he had just dropped a passenger from Lovefield Airport to DFW airport after 5:45PM when he went to the bathroom, threw-up, and collapsed. “This could all have happened within 15 minutes after he had gone through the toll way at DFW International Airport at 5:45PM, dropped the passenger off, went to the bathroom, threw-up, collapsed, and was found at 6:00PM,” a member of the family told mourners who rushed to his residence in Fort Worth Friday night.

Uncle Adam Senyonga is survived by his wife of nearly 30 years, Aunt Betty Senyonga. Messages of condolences to the bereaved family from relatives and friends continue flowing in from across the United States, Uganda, and elsewhere expressing shock at the abrupt death of this beloved member of the Dallas community.

Source — East African Diaspora Media Watch

Kigali Marriott Hotel | Marriott International Opens Doors for Business, Tourism and Career Opportunities in Rwanda

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 10/10/2016 - 03:37

Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR) officially opened the doors of its first Marriott Hotel in Rwanda, bringing the signature brand’s welcoming service and world-class amenities to sub-Saharan Africa for the first time in its nearly 90-year history.

“Rwanda is going through an economic transformation and we are proud to be a part of it,” said Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson, who attended the Kigali Marriott’s opening ceremony with political dignitaries and executives including Alex Kyriakidis, Marriott’s President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa region. “Coupled with that transformation is a mutual promise for opportunity — both for Marriott as a hospitality company and for the associates and partners who will help us succeed in this market.”

Highlighting the importance of hospitality’s role in Rwanda, the World Travel & Tourism Council says Rwanda’s travel and tourism industry generated 7.1 percent of the country’s GDP in 2015 and predicts it to rise at 4.1 percent annually through 2025. Known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, Rwanda is becoming a popular destination for meetings and tourism.

The 254-room Marriott in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, is creating approximately 500 jobs and will be among the country’s biggest and most luxurious properties, further enhancing Kigali’s reputation as a hub for conferences and conventions. The hotel will offer world-class meeting spaces with modern amenities to cater to the demands of this rapidly growing market.

“I have the privilege of being able to open hotels in one of the most fascinating and fastest-growing parts of the world,” said Kyriakidis. “But there is something about this project that is particularly fulfilling. Every time we open a hotel, we know there is an enormous positive impact on a community. But here, in Rwanda, that impact is magnified by the sustainable approach we have taken to both staffing and supplying the hotel.”

Marriott has been working with community-based organizations to help staff the hotel and supply it with locally produced goods, underscoring Rwanda’s goal of building up its core industries including tourism and agriculture. The hotel, for instance, has partnered with the Akilah Institute for Women to recruit and train Rwandan women for supervisory positions at its Kigali location. The Akilah Institute is an academy that enables young women from Rwanda and other East African countries to achieve economic independence with market-relevant education and training. Marriott International has invited nearly 40 Akilah graduates to work and train in Marriott hotels in Africa and the Middle East. After receiving on-the-job skills and leadership training, the first wave of graduates have returned to Rwanda to join the management team at the Kigali Marriott where they will help welcome guests from the around the world.

“Marriott’s placement of our graduates at the managerial level and beyond exemplifies our mission to enable women not just to find jobs, but to develop their careers with a globally respected brand and community,” says Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes, Co-Founder & CEO, Akilah Institute.

Marriott International has also been working with Women for Women International and the Relationship Coffee Institute, both of which are supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, one of the largest investors in the region. The local Women for Women Opportunity Center is equipping Rwandan women with the skills needed to apply for entry-level hotel positions or to supply the hotel with goods such as baskets, cheese and honey. The hotel has hired more than 25 women from the training center.

The Relationship Coffee Institute provides women with a new marketplace for locally sourced premium coffee, including the hotel. The Kigali Marriott’s Question Café serves the locally sourced coffee, grown by local smallholder farmers and served by graduates of this economic development training program.

“The opening of this Marriott hotel is providing long anticipated market activity for Rwandan women. Their café in the hotel provides the global business community with a perfect example of how business, philanthropy and government can work together to improve people’s lives,” said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Beyond coffee, the Kigali Marriott is weaving in an array of local goods throughout the property, including in the retail store and on menus. The hotel sources locally grown products such as beef, poultry and produce, and incorporates more sustainable materials to ultimately help reduce the hotel’s overall footprint.

The opening of the hotel comes a little over a week after Marriott International completed its acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The transaction created the world’s largest hotel company, with Marriott International operating or franchising more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms, in over 110 countries. With the completion of the acquisition, Marriott’s distribution more than doubled in the Middle East and Africa combined.

Source — Marriott International Press Office

Opinion | Parasitic Uganda National Diaspora Policy: Remit Your Earnings and Shush!

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 10/10/2016 - 02:37

Ugandans gather in Boston at one of their annual Conventions held at the Park Street hotel

By Dr. Daniel Kawuma — The Diaspora was once ignored and characterized as a stain on the motherland. A symbol of the tragedy surrounding Uganda’s economic stagnation, social despondence and political malfeasance. Diasporans represent Ugandans that excised the umbilical cord from a nation continuing to bake bread while leaving crumbs for the populace.

As the dispersed seeds of Ugandans in the diaspora began to sprout, the fields that once looked barren demonstrated potential to bear fruit. Harvesting season was indeed imminent with remittances growing exponentially to become Uganda’s second largest source of external financial inflow.

Uganda currently boasts over $1 billion in annual remittances with the highest current recorded growth of any country at 21% according to the World Bank. The reversal in fortunes led to crafting of a National Diaspora policy. This entailed an effort by the government to forge a partnership with Ugandans in the Diaspora to harvest nectar from the bloom for the purpose of national development.

The increasing visibility of government in the Diaspora has been characterized by sections of Ugandans in the Diaspora as cynical and conveniently coming at a time when foreign aid is drying up, a consequence of Uganda’s negative credit outlook. They argue that like a parasite, government is strategically feasting on the Diaspora yields to slow the bleeding from a gaping national economic wound.

“Government footprints in the Diaspora have contributed to the fragmentation of the Ugandan community”

The push back has gained momentum as financial resources from the government in form of donations to Diaspora organization and travel allowances for government officials continue to weigh heavily on the backs of Ugandan tax payers. Government footprints in the Diaspora have contributed to the fragmentation of the Ugandan community as voices of decent argue that resources should be spent improving livelihoods of struggling Ugandans and not funding weekend party escapades of Diasporans.

Ugandans in the Diaspora are not a monolithic group politically, socially or economically and as a result, injection of partisan politics in the fabric of community organizations creates inevitable confrontation. Tension between the Diaspora and the government has been building for decades as many Ugandans choose to preserve a degree of political engagement from a far. This was evident from numerous protests by Ugandans in major cities including London, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Amsterdam and Cape Town among others following the disputed Presidential elections.

In order for Uganda government officials to craft a constructive National Diaspora policy, they have to acknowledge that a relationship with the Diaspora doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The unspeakable struggles and perseverance of Diasporans to deliver for their loved ones back home who are tragically ignored and politically disenfranchised still triggers endless trauma. Speaker of Parliament Ms. Rebecca Kadaga’s war of words with the Diasporans demanding that we stop criticizing government missteps and instead engage in nation building discourse is classic pivoting towards nationalism to seek refuge from voices of despair.

To win the hearts and minds of Ugandans, outreach effort through the National Diaspora policy has to go beyond rhetoric. In fact the National Diaspora policy is currently in limbo without the political will to execute legislative measures that give voice to the Diaspora. Though it’s important for Diasporans to have a formal relationship with their government, the partnership has to be mutually beneficial.

The government has committed resources on measures of the National Diaspora policy that aim at siphoning off Diaspora capital towards Uganda in form of direct investment, philanthropic resources, remittances, tourism and trade among others. With the government thriving and our communities floundering, the Diasporans have been left asking – what do we get in return?

Diaspora consulates are underfunded and don’t offer a comprehensive range of consular services, legal assistance for Ugandans in the Diaspora is inexistent and often left to volunteers, repatriation is severely lacking, and Ugandans are falling victim to human trafficking, labor exploitation and abuse without refuge.

“The $100,000 annual government donation to UNAA and other diaspora associations are asinine in the court of public opinion”

The marriage between Diaspora associations and the governments has alienated sections in the community. Financial donations in the realm of $100,000 to UNAA and other diaspora associations are asinine in the court of public opinion especially at a time when Ugandans at home lack healthcare, food, livable wages and basic social services. Financial ties with the government create a chink in the armor of Diasporans who can be agents of change in Uganda by advocating for democracy, human rights, tolerance, equality, individual liberties and justice.

Ugandans in the Diaspora have predictably failed to forge a united front that would make numbers totaling over 1.5 million people count. The prevailing factions in the Diaspora often have competing agendas rooted in political, religious or tribal sentiments. Lack of unity, tolerance and a cohesive strategy to mobilize and address issues affecting the livelihoods of Diasporans has been one of the greatest failures of our associations in the last decade considering the economic muscle of the Diaspora.

“Opening the doors of political inclusion would involve giving Diasporans access to the ballot”

With the government continuing to hedge their bets on the Diaspora, it’s an ideal moment for Diasporans to spread their wings from a position of strength and demand more tangible community building concessions. These would include tax breaks on remittances through minimizing front and back end costs, legal support, cultural centers, tax treaties, labor and human trafficking protections and the right to participate in the national political process. Opening the doors of political inclusion would involve giving Diasporans access to the ballot. Having both economic and political leverage, the Diaspora would be better equipped to mobilize, hold public officials accountable and demand competing visions for a mutually beneficial partnership.

Diasporans need to recognize the value of the associations and communities that we have built. These islands of change symbolize our villages and small towns but in an environment that offers tremendous opportunity and individual liberties. While contributing to the national wallet and livelihoods of families and loved ones is of great significance, we should also build the capacity to elevate our voices to shape the direction of the country. Ugandans in the Diaspora should remit and also speak up to demand change.

Dr. Daniel Kawuma
Maryland (U.S)

OPED | US Newspaper Endorsements | The Editorialists Have Spoken; Will Voters Listen?

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 10:02

The Atlantic magazine has made only two presidential endorsements in its 159-year history: one for Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and one for Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

The third comes Wednesday afternoon, when the magazine posted an editorial endorsing Hillary Clinton for president and dismissing Donald J. Trump as “the most ostentatiously unqualified major-party candidate in the 227-year history of the American presidency.” For good measure, it calls him “a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing and a liar.”

One day earlier, the Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter wrote, in his editor’s letter for the November issue, “Through word or action, Trump has promoted gun violence, bigotry, ignorance, intolerance, lying, and just about everything else that can be wrong with society.”

That came after USA Today made the first presidential endorsement in its history — or, more accurately, a “disendorsement,” as it came out against Mr. Trump (“unfit for the presidency”) but not for Hillary Clinton or some other alternative.

This is the time in the election cycle when media columnists write about whether endorsements have much to do with the outcome. The answer is usually, if not always, “no.”

But the question takes on another dimension this year because of the sheer weight of the endorsements against Mr. Trump. They are overwhelmingly against him, and they just keep coming, in language that is notable for its blunt condemnation of the candidate and its “save the Republic’’ tone.

The endorsements are coming not only from the usual mainstream media suspects but also from newspapers that either never before supported a Democrat or had not in many decades — The Dallas Morning News, The Arizona Republic, The Cincinnati Enquirer — or had never endorsed any presidential candidate, like USA Today. The Wall Street Journal has not gone there, at least not yet, but a member of its conservative-leaning editorial board has: Dorothy Rabinowitz, who called Mr. Trump “unfit.”

What’s most striking is the collective sense of alarm they convey — that Mr. Trump is a “dangerous demagogue” (USA Today) whose election would represent a “clear and present danger” (The Washington Post, The Cincinnati Enquirer), or, as The Atlantic editor Scott Stossel said in an interview Tuesday, “a potential national emergency or threat to the Republic.”

That’s the same base line the magazine used when it decided to break its founding vow to be “the organ of no party or clique” and endorse Johnson in 1964 and, more dramatically, Lincoln in 1860.

And yet, for all the pan-ideological dismay in America’s editorial boardrooms, a huge portion of the country just doesn’t see it the same way at all.

National polls aren’t great for predicting the final outcome in the Electoral College. But they do capture the sense of the country. And right now The New York Times’s polling average — of various national surveys — shows that 41 percent of the country would choose Mr. Trump over Mrs. Clinton if the election were held now. (With 45 percent, she still holds an edge.)

The split between editorial opinion and a significant portion of voters, especially Republican voters, has been around for decades. But this campaign takes that schism to a whole new level — not just because of the mix of publications weighing in against the Republican nominee but also because of the contrast between their apocalyptic view of a Trump presidency and his supporters’ belief that he will indeed “make America great again.”

Then again, as the language of the editorial warnings hits ever-higher decibel levels, so does the language of the attacks against the mainstream media. Mr. Trump is stoking those attacks, depicting the media as among the “special interests” that have “rigged the system against everyday Americans,” as he put it in New Hampshire last week.

Which brings us to the question of how many minds it all changes. Die-hard Trump supporters will no doubt view the editorials as more evidence for Mr. Trump’s case that the media fix is in. Mr. Trump recently said as much when he celebrated the loss of subscriptions the more surprising Clinton endorsements have caused in some cases, saying in a Twitter post: “The people are really smart in cancelling subscriptions to the Dallas & Arizona papers & now USA Today will lose readers! The people get it!”

(The Fox Business host Charles Gasparino provided one possible motive: “A jealously rooted hate” over his wealth, “his beautiful wives” and his television success.)

A driving question is whether they factor into the mix with truly undecided voters. That is, and will remain, hard to determine. I did stumble upon some interesting data from Google, which can provide a sense of what people look for on its ubiquitous search engine.

Searches for Mrs. Clinton spiked by nearly 50 percent in Dallas County after the Dallas Morning News recommendation in early September, though not as much as they did for the American swimmer Ryan Lochte — after his legal trouble in Brazil — or for the game between the Cowboys and the Giants. She trended in Cincinnati’s Hamilton County after The Enquirer’s endorsement, and in all of Arizona after The Republic’s endorsement, though data from Hamilton County shows she was behind subjects like “Clown Sightings” and “National Coffee Day” on the list.

Mr. Stossel of The Atlantic said he was aware of the divide in the country. “People who support Trump have legitimate grievances and he is speaking to them in ways that clearly resonate,” he said. (The editorial, whose language was shaped by the Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg, addresses them by saying that Mr. Trump failed to present “realistic policies to address” their “legitimate anxieties.”)

Mr. Stossel knows that the power of endorsements can be limited. But, he said, “One hopes that our endorsement, along with many of these others, will have an amplification effect that sort of ripples out.”

“If it affects only a few people at margins in a few key states,” he said, “that may make a difference.”

“Given our previous endorsements, we’re two for two,” he noted. The streak will stand or fall Nov. 8.

Source — The New York Times!


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