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Opinion | Letter From a Kampala Friend | Beware of the dark world of the Internet – By Muniini K. Mulera In Toronto

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 08/09/2016 - 22:53

Dear Tingasiga:

Social media like Facebook and WhatsApp are valuable tools for communication of positive and constructive information.  However, they are also dangerous forums through which cowards and small-minded people merchandise lies that they would not dare state face-to-face.

Once posted on the Internet, outright fabrications and myths become quotable sources for the gullible. Some unsuspecting cyber-citizens, believing that everything published via the Internet must be true, become part of the distribution chain of deception and defamation.

I was told that in the days leading up to the recent elections of the International Community of Banyakigezi (ICOB), in which I was candidate for president of the organization, some people descended into the gutter of sewer politics in an attempt to tarnish my name.

Whereas I did not bother to read the fiction that, I am told, was published on social media and the New Vision newspaper, many fair-minded people called and wrote to express their outrage.

Some, including lawyer friends, urged me to take legal action against the authors and transmitters of the defamation. I remained silent because I did not consider it worthwhile to dignify with a response the false utterances of people possessed of what the French call petitesse d’esprit (narrow-mindedness.)

In any case, I knew the fiction writers and distributers to be victims of the Tall Poppy Syndrome, a description of which is available by searching on my website

They certainly did not merit any attention. They only merited pity and prayers for redemption.

By the saving grace of Jesus Christ, I easily forgive the slanderers and pray for their redemption from the dark and sad world of hatred and destruction in which evil thrives. I am very much aware of the politics behind the smear campaign. It goes with the territory when one deals with folks who substitute slander for reasoned argument.

It is to be expected when one upholds the truth in a situation where some people would rather engage in cover-up of criminality.

Diaspora Ugandans regularly condemn corruption and poor governance back home. Yet many are enablers of similar criminal conduct in Ugandan Diaspora organizations.

For example, a Ugandan pastor of a church steals the congregation’s money. The council members who discover the crime and insist on removal of the pastor from his position are vilified and slandered.

Leaders of a Ugandan Diaspora organization are caught engaging in “creative accounting” and other attempts at sabotaging orderly governance. They resort to slander and gutter language against those who expose the fraud. Their supporters loudly cheer them on.

Perhaps none of this would matter if acted out in some lawless village back home where subjects glorify corruption and misconduct by their rulers.

Not so here in North America where the law eventually catches up with you. A California-based Ugandan lawyer and others recently sued the Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) and some of its former leaders. The charges are rather serious.

I am also told that the Inland Revenue Service of the USA is examining a complaint about UNAA’s alleged financial mismanagement and other poor compliance with the requirements of a Section 501 (c) 3 Tax-exempt organization.

These are some of the consequences of the failure to shed the old village way of doing things.

They will continue to haunt Diaspora organizations whose members remain silent or turn a blind eye to obvious shenanigans and criminal conduct. Silence in the face of criminality and other misconduct by community organization leaders is tantamount to enabling the perpetuation of such behaviour.

The Bible says in Isaiah 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

The Apostle Paul is more direct in Ephesians 5:1. “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”

Now, those of us who choose to boldly speak up and expose such sins will be subjected to defamation and third-rate fiction. But we rejoice because the Lord has already assured us in Matthew 5:11 that we are blessed when people insult us, persecute us and falsely say all kinds of evil against us because of Him.

Not that we are perfect ourselves. Not that we have attained the goal of faultless living and service to the Lord. However, we walk and speak with confidence, exposing facts and truths that may be inconvenient to some. We are able to forgive the slanderers because we are beneficiaries of the forgiveness we freely received from Christ who died so that we may be saved from life in l’cœur des ténèbres (the heart of darkness).

The Internet has become the Devil’s new dark frontier. We must be alert and on guard. Paul’s words in Ephesians 6: 10-20 assume greater urgency today. Encouraging us to be strong in the Lord and His mighty power, Paul instructs us to put on the full armor of God in our struggle against the devil’s schemes and against the powers of this dark world.

The devil cannot win when we don the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

None of this precludes the use of the laws of Canada, the United States of America, Britain and other countries to invite the slanderers and distributers of the same to a conversation with lawyers and judges.

The Uganda Olympic Team | Rated Among the Best Dressed During the Opening Ceremony of the Rio-Olympics 2016!

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 08/07/2016 - 07:11

Flag bearer Joshua E Tibatemwa of Uganda arrives for the opening ceremony on August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (REUTERS/DAVID GRAY). The Mail and Guardian of Canada rated Uganda among the best dressed Olympic teams during the Rio opening games. The statement read Uganda – Only a hint of flash was needed on these uniforms – bright red blazers were decorated with boldly striped lapels.

On his part the man behind the designs also thanked his creator for all the support and overwhelming feedback his creations received. Below is part of Mr. Rafael Allan Kasule Facebook post. I bless the Lord for the opportunities he creates, its only through him we do what we do. All glory and honor to God. Proud to be associated with the team Uganda rio olympics 2016.. K Rafael couture…….. Do us proud team Uganda.

Screen-shot of team Uganda — Shows off Rafael Kasule’s designs. Rafael will be one of the featured headline designers at this year’s Ugandan Diaspora Gala 2016 edition. He can be contacted directly  at 

Death Announcement | Annette Battaka of Maryland Passes On!

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 08/06/2016 - 20:56

The Family of Mr. Ivan Battaka of Maryland, USA announces the untimely death of our friend, colleague, sister, wife and mother. Annette Battaka took ill a couple months ago and had bounced back but unfortunately passed away yesterday August 5th 2016 at Sub Urban hospital from complications arising out of cirrhosis an end stage liver disease.

Burial arrangements are being made and will be communicated and it is likely to take place sometime towards the end of the coming week here in Maryland.

We will have a gathering (lumbe) today saturday 8/6/2016 between 3pm and 9pm at The Metropolitan, 7620 Old Georgetown road, Bethesda MD 20814 in the community room on the penthouse level. There is free public parking adjacent to the building on weekends.

Mrs. Dorothy Angole at 301 675 3103 and Mrs Alyce Byamukama at 240 643 8041 will be coordinating the refreshments for those of you who will be in position to assist.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Events | YALI White house Meet | Why Emmanuel Odama Introduced President Obama at the YALI Town Hall

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 08/04/2016 - 21:21
Emmanuel Odama, a Young African Leaders Initiative fellow, shares what the YALI initiative has meant to him and his community ahead of today’s town hall.

Today, Emmanuel Odama sent this email to share why he’ll be introducing President Obama at today’s town hall for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Started in 2010, YALI has brought hundreds of thousands of young people across the continent together to make their communities, countries, and continent more prosperous and secure.‎ Emmanuel is one of those young leaders. Didn’t get his message?

I come from Uganda — from a farming community in the countryside where I learned what I know from the farmers I grew up with.

When I had the chance to complete my education in agricultural science, the hardest decision I had to make was whether to find a new job or return to my local community and teach them a little bit of what I had learned.

More than anything else, I wanted to see improvement in the livelihoods of the farmers that helped me become the agricultural scientist, pastor, and mentor that I am today. So I returned home to the Arua district in Uganda, and spent years working to pass on the knowledge and skills I had gained.

My passion is to be a part of bringing solutions to the country, and continent, where I grew up. That’s how so many of my fellow Africans who are part of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) feel, too.

As President Obama knows, the African continent is not only in need of transformational leaders, but leaders who will make the deliberate effort to inspire those they lead to take up the mantle — particularly young leaders, who are looking for seasoned role models to emulate.

For all the challenges Africa faces, it is my hope that, just like the Fulbright Fellowship program and Peace Corps Volunteers program, YALI will continue to shape and support more young African leaders who return home to embrace the challenges they grew up with — and the challenge of being the generation that will offer the African continent a new hope for a better future that we can pass on to our younger siblings, our children, and our great grandchildren.

Thanks to President Obama and the legacy he leaves with YALI, so many of us our are well-poised to do it.

So please join us at the town hall today at 3:20 pm ET to hear President Obama’s answers to our questions about the future of young leaders in Africa and around the world.

Thank you for listening to my story,

Emmanuel Odama

Source —


Events | EACC Conference 29th Sept – 1st Oct Dallas, Tx | The 9th Annual East Africa Chamber of Commerce Trade Conference 2016

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 08/04/2016 - 06:37

Elsa Juko-McDowell, Chairwoman of the East Africa Chamber of

The 9 th Annual East Africa Chamber of Commerce Trade Conference 2016 Dallas, TX – The East Africa Chamber of Commerce (EACC) will be hosting its 9th Annual Trade Conference at the Sheraton Galleria Hotel by the Galleria located in Dallas, Texas.

The event will begin on Thursday, September 29th and run through Saturday, October 1st 2016. “Accelerating Growth” is the focus for this year’s event. Our open forums and warm marketplace venue welcomes everyone interested in key introductions, education, partnerships and investment in East Africa. Among others, organizations in the finance, real estate, clean energy, healthcare, tourism, hotel, transportation and logistics industries will be present during this year’s conference.

East African Community (EAC) ministries of governmental as well as non-governmental organizations will also be there to share insights about their industries. A series of panel presentations will allow both business and government leaders to share information within their fields of expertise as well as answer questions.

“As an international chamber, our membership spans all of North America and East Africa. Based in North Texas, we are proud to showcase regional success stories related to how the diaspora community works and lives. Similar master-planned communities are exploding across the EAC where there is a real need for Trans-Atlantic collaborations, partnerships, investments and operational support,” said Elsa Juko-McDowell, Chairwoman of the East Africa Chamber of Commerce.

Notable organizations that will be present include the University of Texas at Dallas, Southern Methodist University, and several East African embassies. Additionally, distinguished guest Donald Kaberuka is the keynote speaker for the conference. Kaberuka is currently a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a board trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation. The event will conclude with a grand Dinner Gala on Saturday, October 1st from 6:15 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. Tickets to the Gala are available at

About East Africa Chamber of Commerce EACC is dedicated to economically empower and sustain member communities through entrepreneurship, and to consult and promote trade opportunities in both the U.S. and East Africa via interaction with each region’s businesses and governmental sectors. The East Africa member countries represent the emerging markets of a growing economic region with a total population of 135 million people.

To register for the conference visit

Ugandan Diaspora Editorial | August 2016 | It’s Official Trump vs Clinton Is Game On — Uganda’s Biggest UNAA Conventions Are Here!

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 08/03/2016 - 06:33

Dear Readers,

Welcome to August, the best part of summer in the Northern hemisphere. For those into politics it is now 100 days to the next US general election. Last month the Republicans held their national convention in the battleground state of Ohio. This was unlike anything we have seen before, from Melania Trump’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s speech of 2008 to Sen. Ted Cruz’s meltdown and the boycott of key Republican leaders of the Republican National Convention (RNC), a spectacle like no other, in which Donald Trump got the highest ratings for number of viewers– 34.2 million viewers during his acceptance speech. Trump also picked Gov. Mike Pence, a conservative from Indiana, as his running mate, a move that resonated positively with the conservative wing of the Republican Party. But Trump’s scorched earth policy and reckless comments which have failed to cause him to lose support have also bewildered many.  With the slogan “Make America Great Again” he has been promoting himself as a the law and order candidate that would safeguard the American borders.

A week later it was time for the Democrats to gold their convention in Philadelphia. Following the email scandals that revealed the DNC executives’ bias in favor of Hillary Clinton, supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders staged protests at the convention, angered over how Hillary had been favored by the establishment. The impasse was later defused by the resignation of the DNC Chair Ms. Debbie Wassermann Schultz and Bernie’s speech that endorsed Hillary as the Democratic Party presumptive nominee, burying the hatchet that had seen the two leading contenders battle for their party nomination for months. There was fear that things would veer off course on the first night for the Democrats as Sen. Al Franken and comedian Sarah Silverman worked the crowd.

Sanders had energized many of the youth voters in a revolution that saw mass registration for the Democratic Party. However equally noteworthy was the fact that many in Sanders’ base had indicated they would note vote Hillary if she became the presumptive nominee. The resistance to the Clinton machinery has been stronger this time round owing to the many  scandals and skeletons in their closet!

It was speeches by the power couple Barack and Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg (who has changed party affiliation, going from Democrat to Republican to Independent) that gave Hillary the much needed boost. She also chose a Tim Kaine, Senator of Virginia as her VP pick. Generally considered a centrist, Kaine has described himslf as “old-fashioned liberal…driven by Jesuit ideals”. He spoke both English and Spanish during his acceptance speech. However the final night belonged to Hillary who did well to show the rest of the world that after more that 200 years the glass ceiling had been broken, and movements like those at Seneca Falls and the Voting Rights Act had all yielded fruit, making Hillary Clinton the first woman to win her party nomination. If elected, Hillary would become the 45th US President following in the footsteps of her husband Bill Clinton who was number 42. However the speech came under criticism by some still undecided voters who say she failed to comment or apologize for Benghazi and the email server scandal.

With both candidates duly nominated by their parties the real campaigns begin. Both Trump and Hillary have been the most unpopular candidates to have ever vied for the presidency. But what matters is they both got the votes to defeat their opponents in the primaries. Trump, as an outsider who has never held elective office, managed to overcome 17 seasoned Republican politicians including governors and senators. It was thought by many in the Democratic Party 2016 would be Hillary’s time after having fought a bitter contest with President Barack Obama in 2008, which partly explains why Bernie Sanders stood no chance, even after energizing the youth vote and polling over 13.1 million votes – 3 million less than Hillary Clinton.

However with a population of more than 300 million people and with the Brexit vote still fresh in many of minds, a Trump presidency cannot be ruled out, especially having seen how this reality television star fended off all of the competition to remain the last man standing, getting the party nomination. And so only November will determine which party or personality will prevail the political outsider or the seasoned politician. The battle lines have now been drawn and the election results in the states of Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio could well decide who will be the next President of the United States.

Last month was a special month for the Ugandan community in Boston. We were privileged to host the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State — Bureau for African Affairs, Mr. Todd Haskell, who paid a courtesy call on the Ugandan-American community of Boston. Part of that conversation revolved around human rights abuses back home, democratization and the rule of law, and State Department policy toward the African Diaspora community and Uganda as a whole.

During this visit it was also inspiring to hear remarks by the Mayor of Waltham, a city that is home to many Ugandans. Mayor McCarthy called upon the community and the leadership to start participating the local politics as a way to effect change in their community. She spoke of the need to join school committees and the importance of volunteering in various community roles.

See link to learn more and see full coverage of the meeting:

We are now just a few weeks away from the two biggest Ugandan Conventions, September 2nd to September 4th 2016. Come Labor Day Weekend Ugandans in Boston shall be gathering at Park Plaza Hotel for both business and pleasure. This year the organizers for UNAA Boston have also added the Ebonies to their list of entertainers. 

On the west coast the UNAA Causes group will also be gathering, at the JW Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles. Here they have planned the US – Africa Business Expo and an interesting star-studded lineup of Ugandan entertainers that will include the New York-based supermodel Aamito. Overall this year’s conventions should be a litmus test on what we do as a community beyond the three-day festivities. 

For my part, about two years ago during a meet and greet tour of Boston I brought it to the attention of our Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda that although Boston was one of the largest Ugandan Diaspora constituencies in North America, it did not have an honorary consul for Uganda, even with all the Ivy league universities and technology companies based in Massachusetts. This was two years ago and the then Ugandan Ambassador Olivia Wonekha had promised to look into this and confer with her superiors about the matter. There is a lot we can do for our country, especially as well placed professionals living in the Diaspora. Texas, Colorado, California have longed enjoyed honorary consulates that are big drivers for business if well utilized.

The other aspect that will need to be addressed is our petition regarding the dual citizenship law that is now before the constitutional court for interpretation — for so long we in the Diaspora have been short changed even after making headlines during the Uganda Presidential debates.

The conventions in both Boston and Los Angeles would have been great opportunities for both the Ugandan Tourism Board and Ugandan Wildlife Authority to brand and market Uganda, not only to the Diaspora communities but to Americans residing in those cities. Partnering with Emirates that flies direct to Boston  and Ethiopian Airlines that now flies direct to Los Angeles would have yielded some good dividends compared to the huge sums we pay foreign companies to market our country outside the local communities.  A marketing budget of about 40,000 dollars for the two conventions would help create a media blitz of sorts by helping advertise Uganda on the subway and creating moving billboards on the local buses on why Uganda is “gifted by nature”. During the run up to CHOGM we paid CNN $1 million dollars so why not spend $50,000 dollars to help market Uganda among Ugandans by using such Road Shows with all the political elite present?

The saddest part is that there has been no government outreach to try and engage the Diaspora professionals that could help create this buzz or sell and promote Uganda’s vast natural beauty. In my view those 15-minute tailored presentations during the business forums only appeal to the converted, yet there is so much untapped potential on main street. For example, big government delegations are due in Boston and LA at the end of August. But if you ask how many meetings have been set up at Harvard, Tufts or Yale for exchange students or at the headquarters of the tourism giant Trip Advisor I would be surprised if any have been arranged with them or the many important companies headquartered in Massachusetts.

John F Kennedy once said during his Inaugural Address, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Uganda is for all of us and no one group or party has a monopoly of good ideas on how best to promote Uganda abroad. The onus is on us to make a difference. There is no reason why tourism is not the number one foreign exchange earner for our struggling economy that will soon bail out struggling businesses as the tourism sector continues to suffer from negative publicity internationally. It all starts with empowering the people to market and sell this great republic in the places we live and work in the Diaspora. This is where Rwanda and Kenya beat us hands down!

For God and My Country!

— Ronnie Mayanja

Ugandan Diaspora News | |
Ugandan Diaspora Network | Event website | |
US | +1-978-235-2459 | UG +256-773-212-007 | +256- 794-999-898 |
Skype | ronnie.mayanja | Twitter | @rmayanja

Mobile Money | Kenyan Diaspora Sends One Million Money Transfers with WorldRemit

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 22:30

NAIROBI, Kenya – July, 27 2016 – Kenyans living abroad have now sent one million money transfers with WorldRemit. With the WorldRemit app or website, the diaspora can send safe, instant transfers to Kenya at the touch of a button.

Mobile Money has played a key role in the popularity of WorldRemit money transfers to Kenya, as Kenyans discover the speed and convenience of sending remittances direct to mobile phones. WorldRemit now sends more than 50,000 transfers to Kenya every month, with over 90% going to Mobile Money accounts such as M-Pesa and Airtel Money.

Customers can also send transfers direct to bank accounts, for cash pick up from KCB Bank Kenya and Upesi Money Transfer branches, or as mobile airtime top up. Around three million Kenyans live abroad with large communities in countries such as the United Kingdom, United States and Canada.

The contribution of the diaspora – including remittances – is recognized as a critical component in the growth of the Kenyan economy and achieving Vision 2030[1]. Inward remittances reached a record value of $146.76m in May 2016, according to the Central Bank of Kenya, making it one of Kenya’s top earners.

Alix Murphy, Senior Mobile Analyst at WorldRemit, comments: “Kenya is renowned for leading the world in Mobile Money and we’re now seeing Kenyans at the forefront of adoption of Mobile Money remittances. The vast majority of our Kenyan customers choose to receive remittances on their M-Pesa or Airtel Money accounts instead of collecting cash. It’s convenient, secure and means no more travelling to money transfer agents.

“With over 400 million registered accounts worldwide, Mobile Money is transforming lives by allowing people to access financial services for the first time. As is being showcased in Kenya, Mobile Money will become the method of choice for receiving remittances in many countries across the world.”

WorldRemit is the leading sender of remittances to Mobile Money, with connections to 32 services in 24 countries. WorldRemit began offering remittances to Kenya in March 2011.

Source — World Remit Press Office

UNRA | Uganda National Roads Authority – Kampala – Entebbe Expressway Takes Shape.

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 07/26/2016 - 19:21

Kampala – Entebbe Expressway is slowly taking shape and will be a welcome addition to Uganda’s expanding road network. The four-lane toll highway under construction in the Central Region of Uganda.   The Kampala-Entebbe Expressway is part of the measures to decongest the Central Business District and enhance trade movement through, within and out of the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area.

The urban congestion is increasing in Kampala at an estimated rate of 4.5% annually with increased motorization Kampala is facing heavy traffic jams, especially during the peak hours and the road can no longer accommodate current traffic. The proposed New Kampala – Entebbe Highway is consistent with the recommendations and objectives of the Master Plan of the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area by providing an efficient mass transit route between two vital cities in the region. This project forms a crucial part of Government’s overall strategy for decongesting Kampala through construction of an inner beltway comprising the Kampala Northern and Southern Bypasses as well as an outer beltway along the edges of the Great Kampala Metropolitan Area.

The Contract for the Design and Build of the project was awarded to China Communication Construction of China (as the Contractor) by the Ugandan National Roads Authority (the Employer) with the date of signing of a conditional contract agreement on 26 October 2010 and agreed changes are executed through Addendum No.1 signed on June 4, 2012. The Consultancy Contract for the Supervision of the Design and Construction of the project was awarded to Beijing Expressway Supervision Co., Ltd (as the Engineer) and the agreement for the Consultancy Service was signed on May 2, 2012. The contract period is 48 months of Construction Supervision Period plus 24 month of defect liability period. The Engineer’s notice to commence the works was May 17, 2012 and finally modified to commence as July 25, 2012 upon the request of the Engineer and the Meeting held on July 3, 2012.

The highway starts at Entebbe International Airport and continue to Abayita Ababiri, goes through Akright City, Kajjansi, and Kabojja, and end at Busega, where it joins the Kampala Northern Bypass Highway, a distance of approximately 37.23 kilometres (23.13 mi). A spur will branch off the highway at Kajjansi to connect to Munyonyo, a suburb of Kampala, located on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, a distance of about 14.13 kilometres (8.78 mi).

Historical brief — In 2009, the government of Uganda (GOU) began consultations with the government of China regarding the construction of a four-lane (dual-carriage) highway connecting Entebbe and Kampala. In November 2010, the two governments signed an agreement where the Chinese government, through the Exim Bank of China, would lend up to US$350 million for the construction of the highway, repayable over forty years.

Construction costs — In 2012, the expressway was estimated to cost US$476 million (UGX:1.19 trillion). Of this, US$350 million (UGX:875 billion) is a loan from the Exim Bank of China at 2 percent annual interest.  The remaining US$126 million (UGX:315 billion) will be provided by GOU.  The government earmarked UGX:123 billion to compensate land owners along the expressway route.

Photo by UNRA — Additional report from UNRA website and agencies.

Travel Advisory | Uganda slashes single entry tourist visa fees by 50 Percent!

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 07/22/2016 - 08:29

With effect from today July 22nd, tourists seeking to come to Uganda will pay half of the money they have been paying for single entry tourist visas. Government has halved the fees from $100 to $50 in an effort to encourage more tourists to come to the country that has been consistently ranked among top tour destinations in the world for the past few years.

The CNN travel magazine last year ranked Uganda among the 16 top tourist destinations in the world. In 2012, Lonely Planet, another global travel magazine, ranked Uganda as a number one tourist destination. Bloom Consulting, a global form specializing in country branding and ranking, placed Uganda in the eighth position among the top ten tourist destinations in 2014.

Bwindi Impenetrable and Murchison Falls National Parks have separately been ranked among to birding sites in Africa. According to a statement issued by the internal affairs ministry on Thursday, a statutory instrument has been issued to effect the changes in visa fees. Uganda sells other types of tourist visas including multiple and transit permits.

The fee for other visas has not been revised. The decision to slash single tourist visas fees, according to the internal affairs ministry, was reached after a request by officials from tourism docket. “All people seeking to enter Uganda shall pay $50 instead of $100. All Ugandan borders have been notified to effect the change,” reads a statement from the internal affairs ministry. The internal affairs ministry spokesperson, Jacob Simunyu, said Uganda was charging the highest fees for single entry tourist visas in the East African region.

Tourists have been paying an equal amount of money for the single entry tourist visa for Uganda and the one for East Africa. However, the East Africa single tourist visa issued at the point of entry into the region allows tourists to travel to Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda on the same permit. The non-extendable visa is valid for only three months. The single entry tourist visa expires upon entering Uganda and the tourist is issued with a visitor’s permit valid for as long as a month.

The validity of the visitor’s permit can be extended for a period of six months depending on the reasons given by the tourist. While the Uganda’s single entry tourist visa can be used for tourism and business, the East African tourism permit is only issued for tourism. “Some of the people were ending up getting the East African tourist visa after all it has been at the same price with the Uganda’s single entry tourism visa,” Simunyu said, “But they didn’t know the East African visa cannot extended and you cannot do business with it,”.

The internal affairs ministry is currently receiving applications and issuing visas and work permits electronically. According to figures from the tourism ministry, over 1.2 million tourists came to Uganda in 2015. The Uganda Tourism Board has embarked on a campaign to promote Uganda’s tourism which is one of the top foreign exchange earners for the country.

Source — The New Vision.

Mr. Todd Haskell | Deputy Assistant Secretary of State – Bureau of Africa Affairs Visits Ugandan Community In Boston

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 07/22/2016 - 06:57

Jeanette McCarthy the Mayor of Waltham, Massachusetts presents Mr. Todd Haskell the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State with the Totems of Uganda coffee table art-book written by Taga Nuwagaba

By Ronnie Mayanja — On Monday July 18th I was privilege and honored through my contacts at the State Department to be invited to organize a Ugandan Diaspora Community Town-hall in Boston. Together with The Fireplace church that graciously accepted our request to host the event we embarked on the mobilization of our community leaders. However being a working day we faced some huddles of confirming attendance.  However I was glad that when I reached out to the Mayor of Waltham Jeannette McCarthy she committed to attending the town-hall and also agreed to receive the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs at the Department of State – Mr. Todd Haskell.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State – Bureau of African Affairs Mr. Todd Haskell makes his opening statement.

Of-course given Waltham’s importance having been described by the Boston Globe article from a few years ago as “Little Kampala”, due to the large number of Ugandans that are resident in Waltham town – Mayor McCarthy used the moment to take us through the history of this great town as the birthplace of the labor movement and a major contributor of the American industrial revolution. In her opening remarks Mayor McCarthy revisited this past taking us through the history of how in 1813, back in Boston, a businessman by the names of Francis Cabot Lowell and several partners formed the Boston Manufacturing Company.

The Mayor of Waltham, Massachusetts – Jeanette McCarthy makes her welcome remarks.

The company built a tall brick mill building next to the Charles River in Waltham, Massachusetts, incorporating various mechanization technologies to convert raw cotton into cloth. The Waltham mill integrated the chain of tasks under a single roof, later inaugurating what would become the American factory system of the nineteenth century.  After that brief history lesson Mayor McCarthy then encouraged those Ugandans present to join the city council as a way to effect change in their community and the town they now call home. She said it was now time for those in the community to institute change at local, State and Federal levels of government.

Another notable speaker prior to Mr. Todd Haskell’s conversation was Mr. Martin Byakuleka a pro-democracy activist whose speech centered on issues of governance and freedom. In summary he spoke for the need to look to the primary change agents that can deliver democratization for Ugandans within the country, by looking to the Diaspora with the support of development partners. “Today in Uganda, the would be primary actors are intimidated through repression and are suffocated – they can no longer perform their primary role of democratic change; that role has now shifted to the Diaspora and development partners”  — he noted. On his part Mr. Tendo Kaluma an IT consultant also called upon the Deputy Assistant Secretary to help put pressure on the government to improve its human rights record and end the treatment of Ugandans as subjects rather than citizens.

Mr. Tendo Kaluma – IT Consultant during the Q&A in Waltham.

As the strongest opposition constituency in North America it did not take long for some to voice their disappointment with the February 2016 polls that were marred with irregularities and the continued Ugandan Police brutality meted at opposition politicians.  Although the meeting was non political it was clear that simmering concerns were largely political something the Deputy Secretary acknowledged during his remarks.

Event coordinator — Ronnie Mayanja

Following a vibrant Q&A session it was then time for the Waltham Mayor to invite the chief guest — The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State who was in Massachusetts on Government business had earlier addressed the African Diaspora. He was quick to recognize Uganda as a partner in the fight against terrorism but noted that they as a government were concerned about the lack of a level political playing field in the country. He reminded us that the US Government has spoken out on the various occasions regarding the arrest of opposition candidates and noted that during the swearing in ceremony US diplomats had chosen to walkout in protest after the appearance of President Omar Bashir.

He however noted that the US Government values the long term relationship it has enjoyed with the people of Uganda and reiterated that the US Government assistance through programs like the USAID and AGOA would continue. He also recognized Uganda Government economic policies that have allowed the economy to grow over the past 30 years as good thing for Uganda.   Mr. Haskell spoke about the Africa Young Leaders Initiative – YALI Program as one of the tools the Obama administration has been employing educate and train leaders in Uganda. The YALI Network provides virtual resources and vibrant physical spaces to equip young African leaders with the skills and connections they need to foster change in their communities and their countries – said Mr. Haskell.

As Deputy Assistant secretary he also addressed a series of questions ranging from corrupt regimes in Africa and what they US Government was doing to limit or impose travel bans on those responsible for this abuse, Human-rights violations across the country also came into focus, the ongoing conflict in the Sudan, Uganda’s peace mission to Somalia and the search for Kony in the CAR. The rigorous immigrant and visitors visa process that sees more denials than approvals.

Mr. Henry Ndawula – Gwanga Mujje Boston during the Q&A

Mr. Haskell did well trying to explain the US visa processes and some of the challenges faced by consular officers during visa interviews. He encouraged those Ugandan American citizens aggrieved by the system both at home and here to seek redress through their Senators and Congressmen as the best way to effect change since he was a public officer. Overall the town-hall was a good start to a conversation that will help push the Uganda Diaspora interests and agenda at the Bureau for Africa Affairs.

Pastor Godfrey Owori of Fire Place Church together with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.

Special thanks to all the Boston religious and community leadership that made the time and effort to attend. We especially thank the Mayor of Waltham – Jeanette McCathy, The Bureau of Africa Affairs for this opportunity, Pastor Godfrey Owori and the entire leadership at The Fireplace Church for hosting the event, Karibu Restaurant for the coffee and welcome accorded the Deputy Assistant Secretary on his visit to Waltham, Massachusetts. The meeting attended by about 60 youth, women and religious leaders was not open to the public and was the first in a series meant to engage the community.

Brief Biography — Todd Haskell became the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs in August 2015. Previously, he was the Africa Bureau’s Director of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, directing the deployment of public diplomacy personnel and resources at 48 U.S. embassies and consulates in Sub-Saharan Africa. In that position, he worked with posts in the field and agencies in Washington to implement the first Mandela Washington Fellowship, the signature program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)

New Film | Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” featuring new footage and sound bites from David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o – Release Date 23rd September!

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 07/20/2016 - 05:34

Cast: David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, Madina Nalwanga

Director: Mira Nair                       

Screenplay by: William Wheeler  

Producers: Lydia Dean Pilcher, John Carls

Executive Producers: Will Weiske, Troy Buder

For Immediate Release to The Ugandan Diaspora Audience — “Queen of Katwe” is based on the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion.

Directed by Mira Nair from a screenplay by William Wheeler, “Queen of Katwe” is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher, p.g.a. and John Carls, p.g.a. with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers. The film stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo, Oscar® winner and Tony Award® nominee Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.

For 10-year-old Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga) and her family, life in impoverished Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle. Her mother, Harriet (Nyong’o), is fiercely determined to take care of her family and works tirelessly selling vegetables in the market to make sure her children are fed and have a roof over their heads. When Phiona meets Robert Katende (Oyelowo), a soccer player turned missionary who teaches local children chess, she is captivated.

Chess requires a good deal of concentration, strategic thinking and risk taking, all skills which are applicable in everyday life, and Katende hopes to empower youth with the game. Phiona is impressed by the intelligence and wit the game requires and immediately shows potential. Recognizing Phiona’s natural aptitude for chess and the fighting spirit she’s inherited from her mother, Katende begins to mentor her, but Harriet is reluctant to provide any encouragement, not wanting to see her daughter disappointed.

As Phiona begins to succeed in local chess competitions, Katende teaches her to read and write in order to pursue schooling. She quickly advances through the ranks in tournaments, but breaks away from her family to focus on her own life. Her mother eventually realizes that Phiona has a chance to excel and teams up with Katende to help her fulfill her extraordinary potential, escape a life of poverty and save her family. Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” will open in U.S. theaters on September 23, 2016.

Here is brief description of the movie:

“Queen of Katwe” is based on the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. Queen Of Katwe opens in limited release on September 23, going wide September 30, 2016.


Genre: Drama 

Rating: PG

U.S. Release date: September 23, 2016

Running time:  TBD

Source — This Press Release has been provided specifically for the Ugandan Diaspora News Audience.

Death Announcement | Ugandan Community In Houston Has Lost Geoffrey Opolot To Cancer

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 07/20/2016 - 04:48

Houston Ugandan Community
Death: 15th July 2016

Cause of Death: Lung Cancer.
Geoffrey Opolot came to the US 16 years ago as a student as Blinn College in Bryan Texas and has since lived and worked within this community. In April 2016 he was diagnosed with a Stage 4 Cancer and underwent chemotherapy with St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bryan Texas. He underwent the full treatment cycle and was slated to begin treatment with MD Anderson but ended up in CCU before the treatment dates.

He passed on Friday 15th July and the family is trying to make arrangements to repatriate his body back to Uganda for burial at his ancestral Home in Amuria Katakwi Uganda.

The family has setup a GoFundMe page on Facebook for the Late Geoffrey Opolot, the deceased’s Mom and Son are currently in College Station and can be contacted through Mr. Robert Wanok 1.979.304.0320.

Please forward at your convenience. Daniel Jombwe, Houston

Fashion & Charity | Joe Malaika Boston Medical Center Cancer Fundraiser Nets USD $350,000 dollars In Donations

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 07/14/2016 - 06:27

Ugandan born Boston best designer Joe Malaika shines at 5th annual Catwalk For the Boston Medical Center Cancer awareness gala. As a fashion designer Joe made three cancer survivors dresses helping them celebrate their victory over cancer at an event held at Thursday, June 23, 2016 at the State Room in Boston, Massachusetts.

Berline  was 5 weeks pregnant when found out she had breast cancer. Managing treatment in addition to her pregnancy didn’t bring her down. Berline delivered her baby boy, slightly premature. Berlin is wearing all sleek foil chain purple dress.

Rosalba was born in Colombia, she has survived both pancreatic cancer and lymphoma, attended BMC Spanish cancer support, very close to her Daughter Astrid, She loves printed outfits hence the reason Joe Made floral dress for her.

Linda is a survivor of multiple melanoma who’s come a long way since her diagnosis. Unfortunately no cure for her type of cancer. She’s a mom with 3 grand kids. Linda is wearing sleek foil purple and white long-sleeved dress. featured special guest Joe Andruzzi, former player for the New England Patriots and cancer survivor.

A special thank-you to the many partners and sponsors, especially Lord & Taylor, Liberty Mutual, Channel 7 and the others that came out in support — the evening raised USD $350,000 dollars for BMC’s cancer support services.

Event Emcee — Jadiann Thompson – 7NEWS Anchor – WHDH-TV Channel 7

Sudan Tribune | South Sudan death toll reaches over 100, as rival officials repeat calls for calm

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

July 9, 2016 (JUBA) – More than 100 fighters from the rival forces in South Sudan shooting around the presidential palace have been counted dead, as tense remains visibly high, with the violent government soldiers in collaboration with police and national security services, manning major streets.

South Sudan defence minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, and deputy chief of general staff for administration and finance from the armed opposition faction of the SPLA-IO, General James Koang Chuol, reassured the public of the commitment of the two sides to control and prevent the situation from escalating further. They said it was now calm in the national capital, Juba, after the Friday’s clash and people should therefore resume normal activities in the town.

The gunfire started at the presidential palace at around 4:20pm on Friday even as President Salva Kiir and his two deputies, Riek Machar and James Wani, were in a meeting to discuss a previous clash in which five government soldiers were killed at the main crossing point at Gudule, located west of Juba.

The circumstance provoking the firing remains unclear. Both President Kiir and his first deputy in government, Riek Machar, denied any knowledge of the cause of the fighting and urged their commanding officers to restrain their forces.

The two sides also never released an official statement giving the casualty figures, though hospital sources and military officers involved in verification of the bodies give conflicting figures.

Government sources claimed to have counted 180 dead bodies just outside the presidential gate south of one of the main entrance sites.

Multiple military medical personnel at the SPLA military hospital told Sudan Tribune on Saturday that they did not sleep as they were receiving lots of soldiers with gunshot wounds, most of whom in critical condition seeking immediate attention.

“We did not sleep the whole of yesterday [Friday] night. We received more [than] 58 soldiers with gunshot wounds by around 8pm yesterday evening and received 30 others this morning. We have now run out of beds,” a military medical officer told Sudan Tribune on Saturday when reached to comment on the number of casualty figures they have received.

He said others were taken to the main Juba Teaching Hospital due to lack of beds for admission and other medical care and attention.

A medical officer at the main teaching Juba hospital said the hospital has received 42, including additional 8 fighters who died on the way while being taken to the hospital due to severity in bleeding.

He also confirmed having personally seen at the mortuary 92 dead bodies, which he said were taken to the rest room by heavy military trucks.

In a separate interview, a military medical officer at the SPLA military hospital said they received more than 80 dead bodies, some of whom have been identified and taken by their relatives.

In an attempt to calm down the situation, defence minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, said people can now resume their normal duties in Juba. He admitted many people were killed but could not provide details.

“The issue of figures which you are asking for confirmation is not important now. What is important is that the fighting has stopped. We do not know the number of casualties because it is not the first thing now. The first thing is to calm down the situation so that people can resume normal lives,” defence minister Juuk told Sudan Tribune when reached on Saturday.

The minister called on the public to remain calm and go back to work, saying nothing should prevent them from going to work as usual because they need to work to get their own means for survival.

Another military officer loyal to the SPLA claimed that more than 100 government soldiers were killed and nearly 30 civilians also died in the cross fire.

Officials of the SPLA-IO on their part said about 37 of their fighters were killed during the clashes on Friday at J1.

They said Machar was accompanied to the presidency meeting by only 70 soldiers of his protection unit, more than half of them were killed during the fighting at the palace.

Meanwhile, deputy chief of general staff of the SPLA-IO, General James Koang Chuol, said they were working in coordination with the SPLA general headquarters to calm down the situation in the town.

Source — Sudan Tribune

Ugandan Diaspora News Editorial | July 2016 | Do Black Lives Really Matter – Race and Police Brutality!

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 07/10/2016 - 08:26

Dear Readers,

Greetings from the land of the free and the home of the brave. Today America is 240 years having celebrated another independence day on July 4th but even though the framers of our Constitution preached equality, justice and liberty for all in the pursuit of happiness and our various freedoms, today we are a nation more divided by both race and ideology. The new talk and slogan is “Do black lives really matter”, in the wake of the new police brutality. Those on the other side of the divide have also posed a similar question — If blue lives (cops) equally matter as a much since the police and the other law enforcement officers are now the subject of targeted assassinations from those vigilante groups trying to correct what they see as a broken judicial system in America.

With the November election largely putting race, immigration and the effect of globalization on world politics into focus. More and more people are paying closer attention to race relations and its impact across America.  With the dark chapter of slavery hardly a century away — Do black lives really matter? First it was Rodney King in 1992 the acquittal of the four police officers filmed beating this black man sparked the Los Angeles riots, then came the Ferguson in the wake of the Micheal Brown shooting. Others have included Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Alton Sterling and more recently Philando Castile have been the latest victims of police brutality in the USA. But unlike the movement led by civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There has been a growing fear that the current movement is largely anti police with no clear ideology. Even though it appears to have been born out of the unfair justice system that allows white officers to walk away as black lives are left to die on the streets of-course Philando’s death captured Live on Facebook by the girlfriend causing the latest outrage.

The shooting of five innocent policemen in Dallas was equally disturbing and seems to have exacerbated the situation with some justifying police action. With all the stereotyping and racial profiling that goes on it’s now more dangerous to be black in America.  For many of us who grew up admiring the life of Nelson Mandela and reading about the Sharpeville massacres at the height of the Apartheid rule in South Africa that resulted in the deaths of many Black Africans — the killing of innocent black lives while acquitting the perpetrators of such crimes has been a new low!

All the above events have only caused me to reminiscent the day I was pulled over in North Carolina by a State trooper while driving back to Massachusetts from Atlanta. This was a routine stop on an interstate highway. I was kept waiting for close to an  2 hour as my licence plates, registration and background checks were done. Even with my CNN internship credentials on me the traffic incident lasted unusually long though I was eventually let go without incident. However how many black men or foreign immigrants have been the target of a system that still views black or latino people as subservient to white folks. And for those that have ever been arrested or even convicted its always dejavu.

Some have also blamed President Obama for doing too little to end this inequality within our justice system that largely treats white folks in similar circumstances different. According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), African Americans constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population, and have nearly six times the incarceration rate of whites.  If there was a time when America could use the healing it’s now a message several black leaders including motivational speaker Bishop TD Jake’s have tried to convey on social media platforms.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Put it best when he said — I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

As we mourn the latest victims in this recurring cycle of violence let’s all reach out to our city Councillors and State representatives by asking that they ensure more community policing as a way to help diffuse the current tension that has now resulted in the villain vs victim mentality that borders on anarchy if left unchecked within our various communities. There is also need for legislation that limits the use of excessive force among the police and other law enforcement officers during routine stops and the need to ban assault weapons from that streets of America.

On a positive note our Ugandan Boston community will on Monday July 18th host the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State – Bureau of Africa Affairs — Mr. Todd Haskell in the city of Waltham, Massachusetts. The visit will present an opportunity to compare notes with the leadership of the Ugandan Diaspora community in North America whilst presenting an opportunity to discuss Uganda’s current political situation and the US Africa policy initiatives. As a proud coordinator of this event on behalf of the Bureau for African affairs – please be advised that the town-hall will only be open to the Boston community leadership and prior registration is required. RSVP –

On a positive note Uganda and in particular President Museveni’s foreign policy credentials have enjoyed a boost recently in-spite of the continued harassment of his political opponents. First came the President of South Korea, then the leader of Turkey and now Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu was the latest world leader to make a stopover in Uganda. However unlike the visits to our neighboring Kenya,  Uganda’s presentation and would be value addition from the visits have been somewhat lacking of any tangible MOUs similar to what we have seen in Kenya Media.  Sadly the failure of the Republican of South Sudan to manage its own affairs and in the wake of the latest armed skirmishes in Juba that have now resulted in the death of more than 100 rival soldiers according to the Sudan Tribune,  some pundits and political commentators seem to suggest that President’s Museveni’s approach to pacify the region might win him fresh admirers within the international community.

On a diplomatic front lots of resources have now been dediated to Dr. Specioza Kazibwe’s bid to win the African Union top job with special envoys dispatched across the continent to sell her candidature. Ofcourse all this on the heels of our very own nduggu Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda who served as Uganda’s Permanent representative at the UN Security Council followed by Hon. Sam Kuteesa who later assumed the Presidency of the UN General Assembly,  a position that came with intense lobbying and expenditure. However debate is now shifting to how we as a nation benefited especially in areas of geo-politics,  tourism and branding of Uganda. It would be good to hear from publicist Sarah Kagingo and those lobbying for Dr. Specioza Kazibwe bid how exactly we as Uganda stand to benefit from this new posting since it has been rumored that over 3 billion shillings has been spent on this exercise!

Kampala and many of its socialites are now getting ready to apply for that all mighty visa pass to America. Word of the vine is that some people are already trading application letters for a quick sale. Depending on which convention you plan to attend UNAA Boston (  or UNAA – Los Angeles (  these two cities as homes to many Ugandans on both the east and west coast will attract big numbers. Last year the group in New York was dubbed a pro-MBABAZI camp to the consternation of many while those in New Orleans were identified as pro NRM we await to see what political contests will play out given Boston’s position as one of the strongest opposition Diaspora bases in North America. On a lighter note working together with NBS Television I will be doing a series of documentaries on Life in the Diaspora and with some Live News Feeds from both the Boston and the LA during the Convention weekend.

Finally the effects of the Brexit vote continue to impact Europe and now there is a growing fear that the US might catch the cold. Britain saw about 2 trillion of its stocks wiped out in a single day. London as the global financial capital of the world might be a thing of the past if the hemorrhage of the almighty pound is not stopped very soon. Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson both prominent leaders of the Brexit vote campaign seem to have melted away.  That was the power of the silent majority tired with establishment politics and the more reason the world should not be so fast write off Donald Trump. There is definitely a new looming world order and perhaps a raise of feminism across the globe as the UK and the US seem ready to elect women as the new chief executives to the highest office — only time will tell!!

 Be Safe! — Ronnie Mayanja Ugandan Diaspora News | | Ugandan Diaspora Network | Event website | | US | +1-978-235-2459 | UG +256-773-212-007 | +256- 794-999-898 | Skype | ronnie.mayanja | Twitter | @rmayanja |

The First Ever Ugandan Royal Doll Collection ~ Debut of 18 Inch Dolls of Princess Nkinzi and Namikka, Crown Prince Wassajja

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 07/10/2016 - 01:17

Ugandans Making a Difference in the Diaspora ~ Something truly awesome and exciting is coming to you fellow Ugandans in the Diaspora and back home in Uganda: Yvonne Senkandwa, an author and writer based in California, USA, has created a beautiful doll line that is Unique and Authentically Ugandan, with a debut of the first ever Ugandan Royal Doll collection featuring  Crown Prince Wassajja, Princess Lily and 2 Characters from Yvonne’s children’s book series entitled “An African Adventure of Uganda Princesses.”

Ugandan Diaspora News caught up with Yvonne with some key Questions

We asked Yvonne What inspired her to create the characters in the books and dolls.

Yvonne’s Answer: “I was inspired both by my family and the Buganda Kingdom. 9 years ago when my niece was born, I had a hard time finding books and dolls that taught culture and royalty. Finally, I found a doll that I ended up buying.Somehow, I didn’t have a sense of satisfaction, now almost 10 years later my family now has seven little girls, and I have now created both books and dolls for all little girls around the world. As a mother, I am satisfied with the dolls and books. I smile deeply at the happiness I see on my daughter, nephews, and nieces’ face when playing with the Royal Doll Collection.”

With such a hot item, we knew it would be a matter of time before our fellow Ugandans asked her Where people could buy the dolls and books online, or in physical stores:

Yvonne’s Answer: “​The book series and dolls are not yet available in physical stores but we diligently are working on that. For now Pre-Orders of the books and dolls are available online at ~ Dolls will be available for Sale: December 2016​”

About the Author :

Kenyan-born to Ugandan parents Yvonne was raised in Pasadena (a suburb of Los Angeles), California. She completed French language & French Literature course work at Universite d’ Aix-Marseille III, France and graduated from California State University, Northridge with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and earned an MBA from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. Yvonne has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, and an academic editor with an international publisher for high school text books and an international neurosurgical journal. Yvonne is multilingual (English/ French/Luganda), enjoys horseback riding, and horse racing.

Doll Background:

Inspired to teach the principles of integrity, kindness, and love, author Yvonne Senkandwa of An African Adventure of Ugandan Princesses children’s book series debuts the first Royal Doll Collection that can project an image of self-beauty in girls all around the world; the twin characters Nkinzi and Namikka, Crown Prince Wassajja and Princess Lily doll collection mirror the more than 800 year old Ugandan Royal family to bring culture and royalty to children.

The book series which made its debut at the 2015 2nd Annual Pasadena Author Fair as a part of Pasadena’s biannual ArtNight celebration,was endorsed by Her Royal Highness Nnaabagereka (Queen) Sylvia Nagginda of Buganda Kingdom, as “Nnaabagereka Development Foundation (NDF) and HRH Nnaabagereka view that the content is appropriate for the Diaspora children who are being introduced to their mother tongue while in a foreign land. And also believe that the books feed into NDF and HRH Nnaabagereka strategic goals of “Social Transformation Through Obuntubulamu (Dignity)”; and that of “Cultural Voice” that aims at teaching our children Luganda Language and using culture as a platform for change.”

Senkandwa says “The monarchy is where I found my inspiration to write to girls. Our Queen, Her Royal Highness Sylvia Nagginda is an exceptional role model with a servant heart for her people. She is a modern Queen in every sense. It brings me so much joy to see how she reaches out to people effortlessly. It was my desire that this kind of beauty be visible to girls through the children book series and dolls.”

The 18 inch dolls, uniquely dressed in a Bu-Tutu, a clever combination of the Buganda traditional wear called a Busuuti and a ballerina Tutu with Prince Doll wearing a traditional Ugandan Kanzu, attire will also be available for sell to their doll owners. Senkandwa wants to attract the broadest possible audience by diversifying the toy aisle for all children who play with dolls.

Senkandwa adds “The opportunity to showcase Princess Nkinzi & Namikka dolls and books allow girls to know their beauty in a world filled with other beautiful girls of different races and ethnic background. It is this strong knowledge of self that will springboard her to self-fulfillment and connectedness to the world around her.


1)       Princess Nkinzi
Deluxe 18 inch Girl Doll – Twin Princess of the Buganda Royal Family who invite children to join them on a Royal African Adventure

 2)       Princess Namikka
Deluxe 18 inch Girl Doll – Twin Princess of the Buganda Royal Family who invite children to join them on a Royal African Adventure

 3)       Crown Prince Wassajja
Deluxe 18 inch Boy Doll – Royal Buganda Prince and brother to the twin joins his twin sisters to teach children about Ugandan royalty

4)       Princess Lily
Deluxe 18 inch Girl Doll – Royal friend to the twin Princesses. They meet at the Farmers market and later the Princesses invite her to their tea party

·         Includes: Bu-tutu dress/ or Kanzu Attire, Tiara/ or Crown, Shoes, Storybook
·         Articulation: Articulated
·         Material: Plastic
·         Hair Color: Black
·         Dimensions: 20.000 H x 5.000 W x 12.500 L
·         Weight: 4.000
·         Suggested Age: 3 Years and Up
·         Battery: No battery used,
·         Care and Cleaning: Wipe Clean with a Damp Cloth
·         Origin: Imported


Check out the work of Yvonne on Facebook at:

Website: ~ Dolls will be available for Sale: December 2016


Historic Visit | Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Ceremony Marking the 40th Anniversary of Operation Entebbe

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 07/05/2016 - 20:57

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, gives a speech after his arrival at Entebbe airport Uganda, Monday, July 4, 2016. Netanyahu is on a four-nation Africa tour to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Stephen Wandera)

Thank you, Mr. President, for your gracious invitation, your extraordinary friendship in hosting this ceremony.

With your permission, sir, I’d like to say first a few words in Hebrew to my people back home, but also to the soldiers and commanders who are with us today, many of whom participated in the historic rescue mission. I am moved standing here as the Prime Minister of Israel, in this place that brought endless pride to our soldiers, to the IDF and to our nation. I am moved standing here, in the place where IDF soldiers liberated the hostages in the heart of Africa, thousands of kilometers from Israel, with the commanders and soldiers who took part in the operation. I am moved standing here with the relatives of Jean-Jacques Mimouni, Ida Boruhovitch, Pasco Cohen and Dora Bloch, who lost their lives at Entebbe. I am moved standing here in this place, right in the place where my brother Yoni, commander of the Special Forces unit, was killed while leading the force that stormed the old terminal, overcame the terrorists and freed the hostages.

Here, where the old terminal stood, our brethren were held hostage by cruel terrorists, and this is where our soldiers came to rescue them in a brilliant mission that is almost unparalleled in history. Entebbe is always with me, in my thoughts, in my consciousness and deep in my heart.

The hijacking of the Air France plane to Entebbe touched a raw nerve with the people of Israel. Thirty-one years after the Holocaust, Jews again had to undergo a separation of Jews and non-Jews by those who wanted to kill us. The terrorists freed the hostages of other nationalities, but they condemned the Jews to the terror of death.

Essential intelligence was provided by members of the Mossad, and the determination of the commanders, the soldiers and the pilots helped convince the Government of Israel to act. Each of you, soldiers and pilots who flew to Entebbe, those who are here and those who are not, members of the Air Force, the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, the Paratroopers, the Golani Brigade and the Medical Corps, each of you flew here without knowing if you would come home. You came to rescue, but you knew that in the event there was a problem, there would be no one to rescue you. And despite this, each of you fought to be on the planes because you understood the importance of the mission.

The late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin deserves tremendous respect for the leadership he showed when making the fateful decision to embark on the operation. Senior partners who approved the operation and its execution include Minister of Defense Shimon Peres, Chief of General Staff Motta Gur, Air Force Commander Benny Peled, Commander of the Infantry and Paratroopers Branch Dan Shomron, who commanded the entire operation, Commander of the Paratroopers Matan Vilnai, Commander of the Golani Brigade Uri Sagi and Commander of the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, my brother Yoni.

The General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, its commanders and its soldiers were tasked with the mission of killing the terrorists, incapacitating Idi Amin’s soldiers, grounding the MiGs and releasing the hostages. In less than an hour, our soldiers were back on their planes, but this time with the hostages, on their way home.

I wish to pay my respects to the Captain of the hijacked plane, Michel Bacos, who is in France. He and his crew stayed with the hostages out of an amazing sense of responsibility. For the families of the hostages killed during the operation and directly afterwards, the price was unbearable. The same is true for my family and for me. When Yoni died, our world was destroyed.

Not a day goes by that I do not think what might have been. If only I had not refused the unit commander, the late Uzi Yairi, who asked me to go to officers’ school. If only I had not consulted that Saturday with my older brother, who had just returned from Harvard and told me, “What’s the problem? Tell Uzi Yairi that I’ll take your place.” And then maybe Yoni wouldn’t have come to the unit, and then maybe he would not have died here at Entebbe. In any event, a short while after Yoni joined the unit, I also joined the officers’ course and we served together as commanders in the Special Forces unit.

Grief struck us, my family and the families of the hostages, as it strikes many families in Israel today, during these times of great cruelty. And despite this, the power of life sweeps us forward, and it brings us to times of hope and joy. However, the scars always remain, and they are not limited to bereavement. For 40 years, Paratrooper Surin Hershko has lived with the results of his serious injury. Surin told me more than once that if he had to do it all over again, even knowing the price, he would not hesitate for a moment. Surin Hershko represents the best, the most beautiful and noble parts of our people.

At Entebbe, justice overcame evil, and for this simple reason, the operation has earned the sympathy of the world and its praise. Operation Jonathan at Entebbe has become the symbol of standing strongly against terror. It set the rule that when the location of the hostages is known – action should be taken to rescue them. It improved Israel’s standing in the worlds and struck a deadly blow against terrorism. The battle against terrorism continues today. Terror threatens all countries and all continents, and we must stand against it united in spirit, a united front, in the spirit of Entebbe. This is the only way we will beat it.

Dear soldiers who fought in Entebbe, you were privileged to take part in an operation that will remain engraved in the history of our people for generations, and which is burned into the heart of everyone who wants peace. Those who follow in your footsteps, IDF soldiers from the same units that participated in the operation, are here today. As Prime Minister, I can tell you they carry the same spirit with them in their overt and covert missions, those close to home and those far away.
On behalf of the people and State of Israel, I salute you all.

President Museveni, I want to thank you also for hosting the other African leaders who have so graciously come to meet me. The historic summit that will be held later today between the leaders of seven African countries and Israel testifies to the dramatic changes taking place in the relationship between Israel and Africa.

Africa is a continent on the rise. Israel looks forward to strengthening ties with all its countries. Many African leaders visit Israel; and I am proud to be the first Israeli prime minister in over 20 years to come to visit sub-Saharan Africa. After many decades, I can say unequivocally: Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel. All of our peoples will benefit greatly from our growing partnership.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a deeply moving day for me. Exactly 40 years ago, Israeli soldiers carried out the historic mission at Entebbe, and now I have the privilege to return here as Prime Minister of Israel with some of those same brave soldiers and some of those brave pilots who flew them here.

Forty years ago, they landed in the dead of night in a country led by a brutal dictator who gave refuge to terrorists. Today we landed in broad daylight in a friendly country led by a president who fights terrorists.
We have gathered here to mark an event that inspired the world and lifted the spirits of my people. At Entebbe, international terrorism suffered a stinging defeat. The rescue mission proved that good can prevail over evil, that hope can triumph over fear.

Today savage terror is once again sweeping the world. We must recognize that the battle against it is indivisible. When terrorism succeeds in one place, it spreads to other places. And when terrorism is defeated anywhere, it is weakened everywhere.

This is why Entebbe was more than an Israeli victory; it was a victory for all humanity in the fight against those who threaten our common civilization.

The raid on Entebbe was a watershed moment in the life of my people. For centuries, Mr. President, we were stateless and powerless to defend ourselves. No one came to our rescue. We were murdered by the millions. The rise of Israel changed all that. Time and again, Israel has successfully defended itself against enemies committed to our destruction.

But it was perhaps at Entebbe where this fundamental transformation was most dramatically seen by the world. On July 4, 1976, Israel launched the most daring rescue mission of all time to save our captive brethren in the heart of Africa. We were powerless no more. We would do whatever it would take to defend our nation and rescue our people.

That night 40 years ago also changed the course of my own life and the lives of those whose relatives died here, Jean-Jacques Mimouni, Pasco Cohen, Ida Boruhovitch and Dora Bloch.

My beloved brother Yoni, who led the force that stormed the old terminal, overcame the terrorists and freed the hostages, was the only soldier who was killed.

I learned from my brother and from others that two things are needed above all to defeat terrorism: clarity and courage. Clarity to distinguish good from evil; and courage to confront evil. Clarity is to know that nothing justifies terrorism. Nothing justifies the deliberate murder of the innocent, the systematic slaughter of civilians. We must condemn all acts of terrorism, whether they are perpetrated in Paris or Brussels, in Orlando or San Bernardino, in Tunis or Nairobi, in Hebron or Netanya. And alongside clarity, courage is the other indispensable quality needed to fight the terrorists and their sponsors, in order to defend our values and our lives.

Today, in this place, where free people delivered a devastating blow to the forces of terror, we and all the civilized nations must rededicate ourselves to the spirit of Entebbe, a spirit of daring and resolve, a spirit of courage and fortitude, a spirit that is determined as ever to defeat terror and to secure our common future.
Thank you, thank you all.

Source —

Ugandan Boston Community Event | A Conversation with Todd Haskell, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 03:20

For immediate release — You are invited to an interactive discussion with Todd Haskell, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State. The Deputy Assistant Secretary is interested in discussing U.S. Africa Policy, developments in Uganda and hearing from representatives of the Ugandan Boston Community.

Date — Monday July 18th 2016

Time — From 2:30pm to 5pm

Venue — Building 309 Moody Street, Second Floor, Waltham MA 02453

Guest — Todd Haskell – The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Specially invited — Community Leaders, Religious Leaders, Women Leaders, Business Leaders and Youth Leaders.

RSVP — or call 1.978.235.2459


Todd Haskell became the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs in August 2015. Previously, he was the Africa Bureau’s Director of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, directing the deployment of public diplomacy personnel and resources at 48 U.S. embassies and consulates in Sub-Saharan Africa. In that position, he worked with posts in the field and agencies in Washington to implement the first Mandela Washington Fellowship, the signature program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

Prior to coming to Washington, Mr. Haskell served as a Public Affairs Counselor in the Dominican Republic from 2010 to 2013, where he managed a broad public diplomacy program that built on the strong historic ties between the two countries. As Public Affairs Officer in Johannesburg, South Africa between 2006 and 2010, he managed outreach during the lead up to the World Cup, linking the excitement around the event to the country’s fight in the HIV/AIDS crisis. As Public Affairs Counselor in Burkina Faso from 2003 to 2006, and during a long period as acting Deputy Chief of Mission there, Mr. Haskell worked on efforts to significantly broaden the U.S. relationship with that country that included the introduction of the Millennium Challenge Account, and access to the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

His other overseas assignments include Karachi, Pakistan; Manila, the Philippines; Poznan, Poland; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Mexico City, Mexico. He has also served as an observer on the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai, Egypt, and as intelligence analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research in the Department of State.

Mr. Haskell joined the Foreign Service in 1985 and attained the rank of Counselor in 2012. He is a recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award and Meritorious Honor Award. Mr. Haskell holds a Bachelor of Foreign Service Degree from Georgetown University.

Please note  — This is event has been fully sanctioned by the Bureau of African Affairs, US State Department.

SABC News | Ugandan auditor James Aguma appointed acting CEO – South Africa Broadcasting Corporation. (SABC)

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 18:09

JOHANNESBURG – The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation(SABC) has appointed Ugandan accountant and auditor James Aguma, as acting CEO on Tuesday after the resignation of Jimi Matthews.  Mr. Aguma is the chief finance officer (CFO) at the SABC. He replaced former CFO Gugu Duda who was found guilty of misconduct, by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration in 2014 and was consequently fired.

Before being appointed CFO Aguma served as general manager for strategic support at the SABC. Prior to that he worked as a senior manager at the Office of the Auditor General in South Africa.

Reports quote Aguma’s friends as describing him as a man of character who is hard-working strict and straightforward. Matthews said in his resignation letter he had compromised his values for months because he mistakenly believed he could be more effective inside the SABC.

He said in a statement the prevailing “corrosive atmosphere” at the broadcaster had had a negative impact on his moral judgment.

Source —

Related articles — Diaspora Gala –

Opinion | Tony Blair | Brexit’s Stunning Coup – The UK Referendum – New York Times

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 06:39

London — THE decision of British voters in Thursday’s referendum to leave the European Union will have vast consequences for Britain, for Europe and for the world. For a day, the British people were the government, and by 52 percent to 48 percent, they took the decision to go.

I was a British prime minister who believed completely that Britain’s future lay in Europe. I was the prime minister responsible for legislating substantial self-rule in Scotland so that it would remain part of the United Kingdom. I negotiated the Good Friday Agreement so that Northern Ireland could be at peace within Britain. Because the result of the referendum has put so much of this at risk, Friday became a day of great personal, as well as political, sadness.

The immediate impact of the Brexit vote is economic. The fallout has been as swift as it was predictable. At one point on Friday, the pound hit a 30-year low against the dollar, and a leading British stock index had dropped more than 8 percent. The nation’s credit rating is under threat.

The lasting effect, however, may be political, and with global implications. If the economic shocks continue, then the British experiment will serve as a warning. But if they abate, then populist movements in other countries will gain momentum.

How did this happen? The right in British politics found an issue that’s causing palpitations in the body politic the world over: immigration. Part of the Conservative Party, allied with the far-right U.K. Independence Party, took this issue and focused its campaign to leave Europe on it. This strategy could not have succeeded, though, without finding common cause with a significant segment of Labour voters.

These Labour supporters did not get a clear message from their own party, whose leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was lukewarm about remaining in the union. They were drawn by the Leavers’ promise that Brexit would bring an end to the country’s perceived immigration problems. And, worried about their flatlining incomes and cuts in public spending, these Labour voters saw this vote as an opportunity to register an anti-government protest.

The strains within Britain that led to this referendum result are universal, at least in the West. Insurgent movements of left and right, posing as standard-bearers of a popular revolt against the political establishment, can spread and grow at scale and speed. Today’s polarized and fragmented news coverage only encourages such insurgencies — an effect magnified many times by the social media revolution.

It was already clear before the Brexit vote that modern populist movements could take control of political parties. What wasn’t clear was whether they could take over a country like Britain. Now we know they can.

Those in the political center were demonized as out-of-touch elites, as though the people leading the insurgency were ordinary folks — which, in the case of the Brexit campaign, is a laughable proposition. The campaign made the word “expert” virtually a term of abuse, and when experts warned of the economic harm that would follow Brexit, they were castigated as “scaremongers.” Immigrants were described as a bunch of scroungers coming to grab Britons’ jobs and benefits when, in reality, the recent migrants from Eastern Europe contribute far more in taxes than they take in welfare payments. And besides, immigration to Britain from outside the European Union will not be affected by the referendum decision.

The political center has lost its power to persuade and its essential means of connection to the people it seeks to represent. Instead, we are seeing a convergence of the far left and far right. The right attacks immigrants while the left rails at bankers, but the spirit of insurgency, the venting of anger at those in power and the addiction to simple, demagogic answers to complex problems are the same for both extremes. Underlying it all is a shared hostility to globalization.

Britain and Europe now face a protracted period of economic and political uncertainty, as the British government tries to negotiate a future outside the single market where half of Britain’s goods and services are traded. These new arrangements — to be clear about the scale of the challenge — must be negotiated with all the other 27 countries, their individual parliaments and the European Parliament. Some governments may be cooperative; others won’t want to make leaving easy for Britain, in order to discourage similar movements.

Britain is a strong country, with a resilient people and energy and creativity in abundance. I don’t doubt Britons’ capacity to come through, whatever the cost. But the stress on the United Kingdom is already apparent.

Voters in Scotland chose by a large margin to remain in Europe, with the result that there are renewed calls for another referendum on Scottish independence. Northern Ireland has benefited from virtually open borders with the Republic of Ireland. That freedom is at risk because the North’s border with the South now becomes the European Union’s border, a potential threat to the Northern Ireland peace process.

If the people — usually a repository of common sense and practicality — do something that appears neither sensible nor practical, then it forces a period of long and hard reflection. My own politics is waking to this new political landscape. The same dangerous impulses are visible, too, in American politics, but the challenges of globalization cannot be met by isolationism or shutting borders.

The center must regain its political traction, rediscover its capacity to analyze the problems we all face and find solutions that rise above the populist anger. If we do not succeed in beating back the far left and far right before they take the nations of Europe on this reckless experiment, it will end the way such rash action always does in history: at best, in disillusion; at worst, in rancorous division. The center must hold.

Tony Blair was the prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007.

Source — The New York Times


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