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Fashion | Uganda’s Super Model Aamito Lagum Talks to BENTV Sky Channel 182 Uganda Vision in London

Sun, 05/14/2017 - 17:43

Bio — Lagum was born to her single mother Sidonia Ayaa in Kampala. After losing her job, her mother relocated to Kitgum to move in with her grandparents. In her early years, Lagum was teased due to being much taller and thinner than her peers. As a child, she aspired to become a lawyer. Lagum moved back to Kampala to continue her schooling in St. Jude Primary School, Katikamu Seventh Day Adventist Senior Secondary School and St. Lawrence High School

During her teenage years, several friends suggested that with her height and body she could work as a model. At the age of sixteen, Lagum began to pursue modeling as a career. Her first job was in Ugandan Fashion Week, where she walked for Gloria Wavamunno’s GW Collection. In 2012, Lagum met designer Adele Dejak, who took her to Kenya for a photo shoot.

Africa’s Next Top Model
In 2013, Lagum took part in a casting call for Africa’s Next Top Model taking a 16-hour bus ride from Kampala to Nairobi. She was later called by host Oluchi Onweagba and was chosen to fly to Cape Town as one of the twelve finalists for the show.Lagum quickly gained notice from the judges and guests of the show, winning several best photos along with the opportunity to appear in an editorial spread for South African Elle for having received best picture in week 9.

Lagum made it to the finale on the tenth week of the competition, having made no appearances in the bottom two. After a casting session with DNA Models, she was crowned as the winner of the show. On her win, host Oluchi Onweagba explained, “We just felt like Aamito’s look is so modern right now. I think she’s a true representation of an African beauty, and she has a warrior spirit inside of her. I’m going to go to bed at night tonight and sleep so well because I know she can pull this off.”

As part of her prizes Lagum received a 1-year modeling contract with DNA Model Management, product endorsement deals with P&G, Etisalat, Snapp and Verve International, a 1-year contract as an ambassador for South African Tourism and a cash prize of $50,000 USD.

Post Show Carrier
After winning Africa’s Next Top Model, Lagum was signed with Boss Model Management in South Africa and was featured in an editorial for Marie Claire South Africa in August 2014. She later signed with DNA Model Management and relocated to New York City. Lagum debuted in the F/W 2015 season, walking for the likes of Lacoste, Marc by Marc Jacobs, J. Mendel, Rag & Bone, Giles, Jonathan Saunders, Paul Smith, and Bottega Veneta. She then went on to open Balenciaga in Paris, making her the first model of color to open the show under Alexander Wang. She continued her streak, booking more shows like Lanvin, Dries van Noten, H&M, Giambattista Valli, and Hermès.

At the end of the season, she was listed as one of the Top Newcomers by models.com and style.com. Since then, she has appeared in various magazines, including i-D, Interview, Love, W, V, American Harper’s Bazaar, Italian and South African Elle, L’Officiel, Italian, Ukrainian, British, German, Mexican, and Spanish Vogue, Teen Vogue, and Italian Vanity Fair. In April 2017, she was featured on the cover of American Allure magazine. Lagum has also appeared in Lookbooks for Hugo Boss, Area, Narciso Rodriguez, Kenzo, Acne Studios, Guerlain, Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Sonia Rykiel, Saks Fifth Avenue.

In October 2015, Lagum was ranked by Cosmopolitan as one of the most successful contestants of the Top Model franchise, alongside fellow winners Ksenia Kahnovich (Ty — supermodel, 2004), Alice Burdeu (Australia’s Next Top Model, 2007), Montana Cox (Australia’s Next Top Model, 2011), Sora Choi (Korea’s Next Top Model, 2012), Hyun Ji Shin (Korea’s Next Top Model, 2013), Oliver Stummvoll (Austria’s Next Topmodel, 2014), and other alumni Fatima Siad (America’s Next Top Model, 2008), Patricia van der Vliet (Holland’s Next Top Model, 2008), Saara Sihvonen (Suomen huippumalli haussa, 2010), Leila Goldkuhl (America’s Next Top Model, 2012) and Kate Grigorieva (Top Model po-russki, 2012).

Source — Interview Courtesy of BENTV on Sky Channel 182. Bio — Wikipedia Images courtesy of Carolina Quintana

Al Jazeera | Grim torture images ignite anger against Ugandan police

Sat, 05/13/2017 - 23:24

Al jazeera — Ugandan rights activists say grisly images of the torture of a detained politician showing septic wounds on his body highlight escalating brutality and impunity by the country’s security personnel.

Pictures began circulating online and in local media on Thursday of Geoffrey Byamukama, mayor of a small town in western Uganda, lying on a hospital bed with gaping wounds on his swollen knees and ankles, and bruises elsewhere on his body.

Eric Rugira – a friend of Byamukama who visited him in the hospital where he is being treated and held – said Byamukama had told him the wounds came from “hours of torture” at the hands of police shortly after his arrest.

“He is in a terrible shape,” Rugira said.

The images of Byamukama have elicited widespread anger and denunciation from Ugandans on social media. He was arrested on April 5 on suspicion he had participated in the murder of a senior police official, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, on March 17.

President Yoweri Museveni, 72, has often expressed support for his top police boss, whom he has praised for helping contain protests against his government. Police spokesman Asan Kasingye said two security personnel had been arrested in connection with Byamukama’s torture but gave no further details.

“We do not condone torture … it is not our method of work,” he told Reuters news agency. Sarah Birete, programme director at the Centre for Constitutional Governance, disagreed.

“Torture to get information from suspects is the standard now and we are yet to see more. This is typical in an illegitimate regime where impunity reigns,” she said, adding police have also been accused of kidnappings and robberies.

A total of 22 suspects have so far been charged in connection with Kaweesi’s murder, although Byamukama was not among those charged. Some have appeared in court shirt-less, their bodies also showing what appeared to be torture marks.

Some government critics have pointed to rivalry among various top security officials and said the murder was possibly an assassination by Kaweesi’s enemies within the police. Museveni, in power since 1986, won reelection last year in a disputed poll that several international observers said lacked credibility and transparency.

“We appear to be going back to the dark days … when extrajudicial measures were being used to resolve crime,” said Nicholas Opiyo, a rights lawyer and activist.

Source — Al Jazeera

Presidential Directive | Museveni deploys army to fight graft at Uganda Investment Authority

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 16:58

President Museveni has taken a leap of faith by deploying the military to fight reported graft in Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and restore foreign investors’ confidence.

Gen David Muhoozi, the Chief of Defence Forces, will according to a source, this or next week name the team which will report to the President through State Investment and Privatisation minister Evelyn Anite.

This newspaper understands that Mr Museveni last Friday instructed Ms Anite to set up a customised anti-corruption office at UIA headquarters on Lumumba Avenue in Kampala and a toll-free line to enable investors and members of the public report corruption cases to UPDF.

The soldiers, according to Ms Anite, will also handle complaints about delays in approving investment projects.
At a news conference on Monday, the minister announced telephone number 0800100770 as the “Anti-Corruption Hotline” for reporting the cases to soldiers.

She told journalists that the President also instructed her to work with Attorney General, Mr William Byaruhanga, to ensure that those caught soliciting bribes don’t get bail. The minister didn’t explain how the president intends to deny suspects bail yet it’s a constitutional right.

“Corrupt civil servants were asking investors to give them bribes including, shares of up to 10 per cent in their companies before approving projects. This is going to stop,” Ms Anite said, adding: “The president has instructed me to work with the UPDF and bring the culprits to book. Under the new arrangement, investors will report demands for bribes and any form of delays to the military and those arrested will not be given bail.”
President Museveni first fronted the proposal of blanket bail denial to suspects at the height of the Walk-to-Work protests in 2011, claiming that the demonstrators were “economic saboteurs”.

The idea, opposed by a cross-section of citizens, however, immediately ran into a legal conundrum because the Constitution gives courts discretion to grant or deny bail to suspects on case-by-case basis.
Minister arrested
Last month, state Minister for Labour Herbert Kabafunzaki was arrested and subsequently suspended on allegations of soliciting a bribe from an investor, Aya Group chairman Muhammad Hamid, whom police is investigating over accusation of sexual harassment brought against him by a former female worker.

Prior to the minister’s debacle, the President had coordinated the arrest of two senior officials in the Ministry of Finance for reportedly soliciting a bribe from Chinese investors. This matter is in court.

Opposition leaders denounce reversion to the UPDF as a magic institution to fix corruption as “a slap in the face” considering its own checkered record on the matter.
The Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja, on the other hand cautioned that the soldiers “better know what they are going to do” if they are to succeed. For instance, she said, they must follow proper procedures of referring the suspects to institutions that are mandated to fight corruption and other crimes.

“They (soldiers) can catch the corrupt, but they cannot prosecute them. They may have to refer such cases to us or any other authority mandated to do that work,” Ms Mulyagonja said, adding that since the President has on several occasions referred cases to the Inspectorate, he might do the same when he gets information from the UPDF team.

“And once we have their information, we would have to carry out fresh investigations. Any intervention in the fight against corruption is a welcome move and we cannot oppose it. The Inspectorate of Government cannot afford to send staff to sit in government agencies (to monitor what happens) because we don’t have resources,” she said.

Addressing a news conference last Monday, the minister who said he was implementing directives from the President, however, explained that the involvement of UPDF in the fight against corruption “does not undercut the role of anti-corruption agencies,” but rather serves to supplement their efforts in the war against “the cancer of corruption has eaten into the bone marrow of our economy and is threatening the future of Ugandans”.

Minister Anite said: “We cannot rely on the few bold investors who come out to report those asking for bribes. We need people we can trust to help us fight back. Our people want jobs some people are frustrating investors. The information we have is that 80 per cent of investors in Rwanda, first came to Uganda and left because there is corruption in the Ministry of Finance where I sit; there is corruption in UIA and there is corruption in public service.”

This is, however, not the first government institution where UPDF is going to get involved. The President in 2014 entrusted National Agriculture Advisory Services (Naads) programme, the country’s flagship plan to modernise agriculture, with the army after persistent complaints about corruption in the delivery chain.

The Operation Wealth Creation where Naads falls is headed by the President’s brother, Gen Salim Saleh. However, the insertion of the armed men and women instead of professionals has resulted in no turn-around in the limping programme. Seeds supplied under Naads are failing to germinate; the animals are dying; and, procurement is irregularly linked to demand or season in the case of seeds.

The President has previously defended his decision to deploy soldiers on civilian programmes as justified because “soldiers are tested, they deliver and not corrupt”. This clean bill of health flies in the face of the army’s blighted record of procuring under-size uniforms, maintaining ghost pilots of payroll for nearly a decade, buying expired food rations and junk helicopters.

The UIA executive director, Ms Jolly Kamugira Kaguhangire, confirmed the UPDF assignment and explained that an office has been earmarked for them at UIA head office and that she was only waiting for the President to identify the team.
“This decision has accelerated what we wanted to do in the fight against corruption,” Ms Kaguhangire said, adding: “I had wanted to establish an information centre to speed up job creation. Transparency, integrity and professionalism is what we want.”

She promised to work with UPDF in the fight against corruption.
Without giving names, Ms Anite revealed that one of the richest men in Africa had come to Uganda to establish a cement factory but he relocated to other countries because people were asking for shares in the company. She said this matter is being investigated and that the culprits will be dealt with.

“UPDF is going to help us safeguard our exit doors such that once we have investors; we don’t lose them to other countries. We are going to protect witness because we want to build investor confidence. We are cleaning up and we are confident that the UPDF is going to succeed where civilians have failed,” she added.

Real Estate | Waves Modern Affordable Homes In Kampala Now Selling

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 06:56

Real Estate — It is time to get yourself your own home in Uganda. Aqeeq (U) Ltd. was established to deliver the best value for money in the housing sector. Our dream is to give every Ugandan the opportunity to own their home.

“My people will live in peaceful dwellings, in secure homes and in undisturbed resting places.” Isaiah 32:18 

Ugandans coming back from the West or Ugandans who wants a better standard of living can have their dream home at Waves Affordable Housing Project developed by Aqeeq (U) Ltd. Increasingly, Uganda is seen a compelling business destination by many who explore the vast open spaces, friendly citizens and myriad of towns that comprise this broad-spread and varied region. Waves

Affordable Housing Project is an independent project that primarily aims to serve modern Ugandans who want all amenities and features in a condominium society at affordable price and value for money. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for a person who needs and dreams to have in their home.

The return on investment in real estate in Kampala is well known. Diaspora Ugandans can now enjoy their own apartments with all the necessities when they visit their homeland during the holidays or wish to retire and return back to Kampala to enjoy their Matoke and Luwombo freshly made in their homes.

Waves promises to give you the affordable modern apartments in Kampala completed by December 2017 with the following features and amenities:

  • Overlooking the lush landscape of Kungu, Najjera II just 400 meters from Vine International Christian Academy.
  •  Well-planned apartments with self-contained bedrooms, kitchen, living/dining room and balcony.
  • Condominium Mailo Ownership Title Deed i.e. you own the land and apartment lifetime passed from one generation to next.
  • Individual water tanks and parking.
  • Kids play area and security at the entrance.
  • TV connection wire and internet hotspot.
  • Favorable payment plans.

Aqeeq (U) Ltd. will walk the talk and deliver what is promised. For more information regarding price and payment plans, do not hesitate to contact us:

Mobile: +256 703 860112 / +256 757 21 5352

(Both the numbers are available on Whatsapp)

Email: sales@waves.ug

Office Address: Office No. F2-09, Ntinda Complex, Opposite St. Lukes Christian

Church, Next to Capital Shoppers, Ntinda, Kampala

Website: www.waves.ug

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wavesaffordablehousing/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: homeforugandans

Daily Monitor | Hurry up and lease your own land! Mengo is onto something on this one — By Daniel K. Kalinaki

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 09:12
By Daniel K. Kalinaki — Plans by the Buganda Land Board to offer 49-year leases over land it manages on behalf of the kingdom have sparked widespread fury. In Bunyoro, the government plans to cancel a land title given to the king for land he administers on behalf of his subjects because part of it is a forest reserve.

Elsewhere, government has drafted amendments to the Land Act to allow it take over land required for public projects without delays from compensation disputes. Cue protests.

Whether today or in pre- and colonial times, the story of land is one of power. The kings of Bunyoro and Buganda, the two dominant pre-colonial kingdoms, used allocations of land to reward loyalists and maintain favour – but they did not own the land and instead managed it on behalf of their people.

The colonialists broke this power structure by imposing private land ownership including, in Buganda, private ownership by the Kabaka and his chiefs. It is a long and complicated story but there were at least three outcomes: The overnight creation of a class of landowners; the creation of a class of tenants who now had to pay either their new landlords, or the colonial government, or both, for the privilege of using their land; and a State that now owned land in its own name while exercising control over how private land could be used, say through zoning regulations.

The result, which subsequent governments have failed to resolve, is a dilemma: Some people own land they cannot use because it is occupied; those occupants use land they do not own. It is a bit of a poor man’s Hotel California; the occupants can never show proof of ownership because they don’t have any, but they can never leave because they have lived on the land for all their lives, and because the law protects them from eviction as long as they pay annual rent, which is a pittance.

The move by the Buganda Land Board (BLB) is a cunning attempt to address this dilemma. Occupants who apply for the lease get a document they can use as security for mortgages or loans but in doing so they acknowledge the ownership rights of the lessor.

BLB can choose to give away the leases at a cost today well aware that it can then charge a princely annual premium on renewal in 49 or 99 years. Occupants can choose to keep paying the $0.25 a year in ground rent and use the land ‘for free’ but they can never sell it or borrow against any assets they put up on it. On this one it is advantage BLB.

Which brings us to the planned amendment of the Land Act. Many public works are delayed by compensation claims. Landowners, many of them speculators, reject the compensation offered and stall the project while the matter crawls through the courts. They hold the country hostage. Government wants to put its offer of compensation in escrow and plod on with the project while the legal battles rage.

While I do not share the widely held cynical view that this is a land-grabbing ploy, the government has not covered itself in glory in its past efforts to provide land for ‘investors’, be it in targeting tropical rainforests in Kalangala and Mabira, or in urban reallocations in Naguru, Nsambya and elsewhere.

To prevent the abuse of eminent domain, we can find middle ground by accelerating the process of land acquisition, compensation and dispute resolution. When a project route is announced a freeze on land transfers on affected land should kick in automatically, and compensation rates are based on pre-announcement values, and fair market-value offers made.

Where these are disputed, the commercial courts should clear their decks for a month, or set up special courts, to hear and dispose of all related suits. Determining whether a rock costs Shs4bn or Shs31 billion shouldn’t take more than a fortnight – and it shouldn’t force us to violate the constitutional safeguards over private ownership of property, or adequate and quick compensation.
* * * * * * * *
Stella Nyanzi should be a free woman, on bail, by the time you read this column. She should never have gone to jail in the first place. Leaders who do not want to be insulted should not insult the intelligence of the citizens they claim to represent; they should retire to the peace and quiet of private life. I don’t agree with Stella’s language but I will defend to the death her right to a voice, including one that insults.

Mr Kalinaki is a Ugandan journalist based in Nairobi. dkalinaki@ke.nationmedia.com &Twitter: @Kalinaki

Open Letter to UCC | Sim-card Registration Deadline — Do Ugandans Living In Diaspora Really Matter?

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 08:04

Dear Uganda Communication Commission,

On April 11, 2017 the Commission, directed that all SIM cards be verified and validated against the National Identification and Registration Authority database using the National Identification Numbers for citizens and passports for alien residents within seven days, effective April 13, 2017 to April 20, 2017. The exercise was then extended by the Commission to May 19, 2017.

For their efforts we thank the UCC management for getting the SIM card verification exercise underway as a way to minimize crime in Uganda. However I am writing to inform the Commission that most of us in the diaspora have been kept in the dark about this process. Many of us depend on our cell phone numbers that originated in Uganda for business and family and leave the numbers active after relocating abroad. These are numbers that have been previously registered and whose details are now stored by many of the service providers. My question is, do we Ugandans living in the diaspora matter in this SIM card registration process?

With the advent of mobile money technology many diaspora community members, to avoid traveling with large sums, now utilize the services of World Remit and Wave money transfer apps to transfer funds to their mobile money accounts prior to their travel home. Other diaspora community members also rely on this service to pay bills for schools, water, power, etc. back home for their family members while others leave funds on their phones to avoid deactivation.

That means that many in the diaspora are now utilizing the convenience of mobile money when they travel. I wish to draw attention to the fact that some will not be traveling home till the December or Summer holidays. The deadline therefore set by UCC to de-register SIM cards is somewhat ill-advised since we in the diaspora were not notified or offered alternatives in spite of all the remittances and contributions we make to our national economy.

We at Ugandan Diaspora News have received numerous inquiries from various community members who had left money on their mobile accounts, including some who planned to travel back home to Uganda very soon. There was a general concern by some who did not want to lose their local business contacts so I decided to reach out to MTN, the leading provider of mobile money services in Uganda, who informed me that the decision on SIM card verification and validation was made by UCC in conjunction security agencies in the country — independent of their business entity.

After some back and forth communication with the Chief Customer Officer of MTN Uganda we were advised that the funds left on phones by the diaspora would be frozen following the exercise and also informed by MTN that they had been advised by UCC that the Diaspora registration process would also be carried out by Uganda embassies abroad.  See link below full MTN press release. http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2017/04/13/mtn-uganda-response-to-diaspora-concerns-regarding-the-sim-card-verification-and-mobile-money-deposits/

Armed with an official communication I then tried to reach out to our embassy in Washington to see if any communication had been forwarded by government to the missions for action. An embassy official promised to research the matter and get back to me with a definite position after consulting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was about two weeks ago and to date we have neither received any new information that directly addresses diaspora concerns regarding the SIM card registration process or seen any guidelines for the diaspora on both the UCC or Diaspora Services Department Website.

I therefore request that with the upcoming SIM registration deadline, given our inability to travel home abruptly to fulfill the request and having no national identity cards issued with the National Identification Numbers active, we need a quick resolution and support of both the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Parliament, Diaspora Desk at MOFA, National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and the various stakeholders in the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration) together with the Uganda Communication Commission to help fast track this process. At the annual diaspora conventions we see big government delegations traveling to address these conventions sometimes with little or no value addition but i think its about time our government changed its approach to diaspora matters especially in addressing the real concerns we face in doing business with Kampala.

The diaspora community, given its strong role in the Ugandan economy and the sheer volume of transactions emanating from the diaspora, should be active partners whose input and contribution is sought by various stakeholders. UCC and the government should think through this process before disconnecting the many hardworking Ugandans living and working abroad that might miss the validation exercise. The embassy in Kenya has registered many of its nationals in the diaspora giving them National IDs in relation to processing their travel documents and issuing passports. This is because their government recognizes the impact of the Kenyan diaspora on their economy.  http://www.kenyaembassy.com/id.html

Hoping to hear from UCC and the various stakeholders on how the Diaspora concerns will be addressed prior to the upcoming deadline!

Most sincerely,

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

Opinion | Are Ugandans lazy? By Dr. Ian Clarke‏

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 06:05

Irish-Ugandan physician, entrepreneur, philanthropist and former politician in Uganda

By Dr. Ian Clarke — The World Economic Forum has rated Uganda’s labour productivity among the bottom 25, out of 144 countries over the past five years. Also, the Global Competitiveness Report 2014 indicated that Uganda has the lowest labour productivity compared to the other East African countries. Ugandans have been ranked as the laziest people in East Africa with the lowest labour productivity, in terms of value added per worker. According to a recent article in the Monitor Newspaper, the poor performance is fueled by a poor work ethic, a lack of a sense of urgency, and cultural influences.

Many Ugandans are annoyed at being called lazy, though others agree that Ugandans do have a poor work ethic. My opinion is that as human beings, we are all born lazy, and have to discipline ourselves to counteract this innate tendency. I know that I am lazy and only overcome my natural laziness through discipline. This innate laziness gives us an aversion to change, because this means having to learn something new, so we automatically resist change because we don’t want to make the effort. Many people feel they studied when they were at school and university and this should serve them for life, but the world is continually changing and we must become lifelong learners. We are far more comfortable doing what is familiar than having to master new skills. I have witnessed medical workers who deliberately broke equipment, because they could not be bothered to learn how to use it. Then they stood back and said ‘It has refused’, failing to take any personal responsibility and laying the blame on an inanimate machine. As the saying goes ‘If all else fails, read the instructions’.

The problem we have in today’s world is the rapid rate of change, which is set against our love for traditions; we love getting dressed up in our busutis and Kanzus to attend functions, but we are not so good at adapting to the changing world around us. This week I sat in a board meeting in which some of the board members demonstrated that they had not opened their minds to new thinking in a very long time, leading me to get frustrated by their lack of understanding of good governance, or how their actions could adversely affect the wellbeing of the institution they are supposed to govern. This is simply being backwards, and I have seen such behaviour in government and statutory authorities, which have been invested with powers to develop a sector or profession. Many of the people on such boards are old, and prefer to think in traditional ways, thus preventing whole professions, such as the nursing profession, from modernizing in line with global practice. Such people are the cork in the bottle, in terms of the development of Uganda, because they are lazy thinkers and have failed to make the effort to educate themselves as to what is going on in the world, so that Uganda can keep up. Thus our little country becomes a backwater, outside the mainstream of global progress.

This laziness of thinking and fear of change is making Uganda less productive and more backwards: Kampala and Nairobi used to compete for business; Nairobi was bigger and faster, but Kampala was safer and less hectic. Now the gap between Nairobi and Kampala is so wide that multinational organizations automatically locate their HQs in Nairobi, because while Nairobi is taking its place in the world as a modern city, Kampala is essentially still a colonial town built for 60,000 people, with a collection of surrounding villages. This is due to collectively lazy, backwards thinking.

We have had city plans on top of city plans, but when it comes to implementation of the smallest incremental improvement, there is a fight by some entrenched group – the bodas, boda cyclists, UTODA, the street vendors, the market traders, Kampala City Council itself, none of whom want change. Therefore nothing happens, and we struggle through for another five years in forlorn hope that things will get better ‘somehow’. Even minor changes which could be made, such as the abolition of street parking and the expansion of existing highways to accommodate the traffic, or the introduction of bus lanes, does not happen, yet we dream of overhead railways. Dream on.

Ugandans are no more lazy than any other human being, and put in the right circumstances they can hold their own with anyone in the world. However, Ugandans have lost hope in the system and resorted to other methods of improving their lot, such as hustling, ‘eating where they work’, scamming, or just doing their own thing, because they don’t see any point in having a work ethic. Experience has taught those on the lower rungs of the ladder that there is no benefit in working hard, unlike the Koreans or the Indians, because those on the higher rungs of the ladder will simply frustrate them. Ugandans don’t have good role models to show them that honesty, integrity and discipline pays, so why bother, why not join the rest and be lazy of mind – and body.

About the author — Irish-Ugandan physician, entrepreneur, philanthropist and former politician in Uganda. He is also Chairman of International Medical Group, and Clarke Group Ltd.

Al Jazeera Special | Africa’s former child soldiers used as cheap labour in Iraq and Afghanistan

Sat, 05/06/2017 - 05:34

Former child soldiers from Sierra Leone and Uganda are being used as cheap labour for operations in Iraq and Afghanisatan, according to a new documentary on Al Jazeera.

Child Soldiers Reloaded features interviews with several of these former child soldiers, most of whom were recruited to work for Aegis, the private military company that signed an estimated US$293 million deal with the United States (US) Department of Defense in 2004 to execute operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One former child soldier from Sierra Leone, Bockarie Marrah, tells how he started crying the first time he held a weapon in Camp Lion, a training camp used as part of his preparations for Iraq. “My memories came back from the past and I started weeping,” he says.

His response was common, according to Maya Christensen, a former assistant professor at The Royal Danish Defence College, who observed this training. “For many of the recruits, it’s the first time holding a weapon since the end of the civil war… Many were starting to shake, and some were even starting to cry, when they took up the weapons, not being able to handle it.”

“It’s a contradiction,” says psychologist Michael Wessels. “On the one hand, Western countries have pumped large sums of money into the reintegration of former child soldiers, but now we have governments like the US supporting these so-called security companies that recruit people and continue their exposure to violence and cement their identities as perpetrators of violence as soldiers, that makes it impossible to ever reintegrate them into civilian life.”

“It’s really crazy in Iraq,” says another former child soldier from Sierra Leone, Alhaji Koroma. “Because since the first day I stepped my feet in Iraq, every day there was a bombing… Every day we have rockets fire. Every day I have gunshots.”

In 2010, the US congress appointed a commission to investigate outsourcing to private military companies. The recruitment of former child soldiers was not part of the investigation, but the commission’s chairperson, Michael Thibault, explained the “lowest-price-technically-acceptable rush to the bottom” they discovered, where Peruvian and Columbia guards being paid between 1000-12000 dollars were soon replaced by Ugandan guards at about $800 dollars a month, and then later by Sierra Leoneans, at about $250 dollars a month.

“The original goal was not to bring soldiers or ex-soldiers from the poorest countries on earth,” says Robert Y. Pelton, author of Licensed to Kill. “But the US bidding system requires that you pick the lowest bidder, so it became the status quo in Iraq to have multiple layers of foreigners, as long as you were in the army and you meet certain criteria, and sometimes you don’t have to be in the army to meet these criteria.”

“People care a lot when a dead soldier or a dead marine shows up in this country,” says Sean McFate, a professor at Georgetown University and a former employee of a private military company. ”We start asking ourselves, ‘Why did they die? What were they fighting for?’ Nobody bothers to ask about dead contractors.”

Aegis and the US Department of Defense declined to be interviewed for the documentary.

The number of former child soldiers recruited by private military companies for war zones is unknown. The total number of employees from the developing world in these companies is also unknown.

In 2014, during the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, private military companies stopped recruiting troops from there. Recruitment continues in other developing countries.

Source — Al Jazeera Africa

Events | African Dream Initiative To Recognize Phiona Mutesi at The Dream Big Awards Gala Dinner – New York

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 20:34

DREAM BIG — An Evening Dedicated to Fulfilling Dreams of Education and Opportunity for East African Students

June 14, 2017, 7pm (VIP 6:15pm)
Chadbourne & Parke LLP
1301 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY

On June 14 in NYC, the African Dream Initiative (“ADI”) will proudly present Dream Big, a fundraiser in celebration of ADI’s mission to develop future African leaders by empowering forgotten yet high-potential children in East Africa through education, leadership, and support.

ADI is excited to launch our “Dream Big Award” at this year’s event, to honor a notable person who exemplifies excellence in leadership, has had a positive impact in East African communities, and can serve as an inspiration to all ADI students.

Our inaugural award will go to Phiona Mutesi, the Ugandan chess champion and real-life inspiration for the 2016 Disney film, Queen of Katwe, starring Oscar-award winner Lupita Nyong’o.

The international law firm, Chadbourne & Parke LLP, will host the event in their midtown office. The evening will include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and African fare, silent and live auctions, and ample mingling and networking with business executives and professionals from top global firms. VIP guests will have an opportunity to join ADI for a special pre-event reception.

About the African Dream Initiative

The African Dream Initiative is an organization dedicated to transforming the lives of forgotten children in East Africa. We find bright children living on the edges of society – including refugees, AIDS orphans, former child soldiers, abducted girls, and child laborers – provide them with leadership training, counseling, and a support structure of people who care deeply about their well-being. Then, we send them to the best private schools in Uganda—from primary school through university.

With the resources we provide, ADI students succeed against incredible odds. They assimilate, earn top grades, and become leaders among their classmates. Most importantly, our students are empowered to provide for themselves and for others. That’s what we are focused on: promoting a cycle of success in Africa by training our students to become leaders with the desire and ability to raise up their own communities. 

Click website for more information regarding the work of this NGO — https://africandreaminitiative.org/

UN | The New Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations, Amb. Adonia Ayebare Presents Credentials

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 06:33

The new Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations, Adonia Ayebare, presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General António Guterres today.

Prior to his latest appointment, Mr. Ayebare was the Senior Adviser on Peace and Security at the African Union’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations in New York from 2013 until 2017.

Mr. Ayebare had previously been Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’affaires in New York from 2010 to 2012, and from 2005 to 2008.  Between those postings, he served as Director of the Africa Program at the International Peace Institute in New York between 2009 and 2011.

From 2001 to 2008, he was Uganda’s Principal Adviser and Special Envoy to the Burundi peace process, having served as Ambassador and Head of Mission to Rwanda and Burundi from 2002 to 2005.

As a journalist, Mr. Ayebare was a staff reporter with The East African weekly newspaper, based in Kampala, Uganda, from 1996 to 1998.  Between 1998 and 2000, he was an information officer with the Integrated Regional Information Network.

Holding two doctorates, from Indiana University and Rutgers University in the United States, Mr. Ayebare also has two master’s degrees, from Long Island University and Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, also in the United States.  Additionally, he earned a certificate in international security from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Makerere University, Kampala, in 1993.

Born on 18 October 1966, Mr. Ayebare is married and has five children.

Source — United Nations Press Office.

The Timeless Concert | Fifteen years later, Limit X still got it

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 07:43

By Andrew Kaggwa — In 1982, despite widespread insecurity in Kampala, it didn’t stop them from enjoying life within their means. Apparently one of the places to be was Chez Johnson, a high-end nightclub that was just opposite the present-day Kampala Capital City Authority headquarters.

For artistes, it was the place to be because it was in walking distance from a building on Kampala road that presently houses the United Bank of Africa (UBA), where artiste Diplock Ssegawa had an office.

“The office was like a sanctuary for artistes who found it unsafe to trek to other parts of the city when it was late,” Ssegawa says.

Some of the artistes that would come to the office was the trio of Denis Sempebwa, Paul Mutebi and Isaac Ruccibigango who would later become Limit X, a group that went on to become one of the most successful gospel music outfits in Uganda, and the continent.

Together, the group had gained a lot of fame, thanks to their collaboration TV hosting gig with Pastor Robert Kayanja on UTV. They recorded five albums and travelled the world before putting on the brakes in 2002.

“We made a lot of music on the road, got married on the road and started families on the road,” says Ruccibigango.

On Friday, after fifteen years without performing, Limit X made a comeback show at Serena hotel, a walkable distance from what used to be its sanctuary. They put up one of the best shows a comeback act has delivered on a Ugandan stage.

Together, for the first time, they danced, locked, rocked and hit the high notes like they did way before half of their audience could even afford a cell phone.

Since they performed in the early nineties, it wasn’t surprising that many people either had no idea of who they were or were not familiar with most of their songs – others knew the songs, but didn’t know the titles.

Produced by Fenon Entertainment, ‘Limit X Timeless’ as the show was code-named, was an ultimate throwback for many of the older people in the audience and a memory flash for the younger ones.

With songs like the opening Follow You, one could hear a youngster gushing about hearing the song first on Turning Point, a famous inspirational TV show at the time. Limit X took us to more trips in the past with breaks in between where they shared their personal stories.

For instance, Mutebi told us about starting all over again to become a pharmacist, even after practicing as an engineer for long. Before welcoming Sempebwa’s son to jam with them on a song, Ruccibigango shared a little story about their life on the road.

At the height of their success, Limit X had competition from another gospel music outfit. The difference was, just like this was an all-boy outfit, competition came from an all-female group, with acts that included the present KCCA executive director, Jennifer Musisi, and UNRA’s Allen Kagina, among others.

Thus the defining moment came when Musisi held a microphone to sing Solly Mahlangu’s Siyabonga Jesu. Surprisingly, she still has it. She managed to sync with the band even when it was clear she hadn’t rehearsed.

The group was backed by session players like Pragmo N’saiga on the keys, Michael Kitanda on the saxophone, Roy Kasika on the drums, Charmant Mushaga on the electric guitar and Jay Bugoma on percussion, among others .

The group closed the night with mostly African fusion songs like Abba Father, Miracle and, of course, the crowd’s favorite, Malibongwe, which got everyone on their feet.

For artistes that have not been before a microphone as performers, Limit X outdid themselves and raised the bar for people posing as artistes today.

“This was like a class. These guys have not only challenged us; this was a lecture,” said Jackie Akello, an inspirational folklore artiste.

Source — The Observer

Opinion | Uganda – Nothing to Sell but Museveni Is Looking for Foreign Markets By Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 07:29

Opinion — Our great brother revolutionary leader Gen Yoweri Museveni and his dear wife Janet Kataaha who is also minister of education and sports were in Qatar last week. They were accompanied by, among others, their in-law Sam Kutesa who is Uganda’s foreign affairs minister. Kutesa is the father of Maj Gen Muhoozi

Kainerugaba’s wife. Kutesa’s late wife Jennifer Kutesa was a cousin to Janet Kataaha. The only non-family member in the delegation was finance minister Matia Kasaija.

This reminded me of an article titled, “Museveni govt’s family tree” that Andrew Mwenda published in 2009. Later, Amina Hersi, of Somali origin and owner of prime properties in Kampala, joined them in Qatar. Because these things have happened for a long time, we have learnt how to live with them. I mean family rule which I consider the highest form of corruption.

Anyway, in Qatar, our rulers met the emir of that tiny but wealth country, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. This year I will make 44 years. This Qatari ruler is eight years younger than me. He was five years when Museveni seized power in 1986. To be exact, he is 36 years old.

His father Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani handed over power to him in 2013. The father was 61 years old when he handed over power to a 33-year-old. He said in a speech televised by Al Jazeera that Qatar needed more youthful hands.

I think it takes extra courage for a 73-year-old Museveni and a 68-year-old Kutesa to carry a begging bowl to a 36-year-old emir. There are things our revolutionary leader should be ashamed of doing. You have run (managed) a country for a period of 31 years and you go to beg from a person who was five years old when you became a leader!

Of course Qatar is a wealthy nation, one that should be visited by anyone in need. What surprised me also is Museveni’s failure to know that Qatar is a strong Islamic country. In fact, they are the only Gulf state that supported the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt and condemned the latter’s removal from power.

One can argue that they supported it because it was a democratically elected government.

Why, when visiting such as country, don’t you go with some Muslim ministers and Muslim leaders? That may appear small, but it can open wide taps. I think Kenyans were not stupid to assign Industry, Trade and Cooperatives cabinet secretary Adan Mohamed to receive a delegation of investors from Saudi Arabia on April 12, 2017.

She doesn’t wear ‘Fool’s Gold’ when she steps out, and she’s more than ‘Almost Famous’ for her red carpet style… Of course we’re talking about …
This delegation was led by Saudi minister of Commerce and Investment Majed bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Saudi Arabia allowed Kenya to export 100,000 domestic workers during a meeting. This is the central theme of my article today. Yes, exporting domestic workers is the main theme of this article.

Why? The emir of Qatar advised Museveni to take advantage of the demand in Qatar of over two million workers. Employing domestic workers is the biggest offer from Gulf States these days.

Qatar is a country of 0.3 million citizens. The rest 2.3 million residents are foreign workers. Mind you this is a country with GDP of over $300 billion and I think the biggest purchasing power parity per capita in the world, estimated at $140,649. Qatar has 10 per cent of the world’s oil reserves and a $335 billion sovereign fund.

What any wise leader in Uganda or Africa should do is to increase agricultural output and plead with wealthy countries like Qatar to buy your products. I hope you have not forgotten the story of Egypt which offered Uganda a market for yellow bananas. Their cargo aircraft made three rounds and finished all the bogoya (yellow banana) from Uganda. The supply lasted three months.

I think Stella Nyanzi was harsh to describe our great revolutionary leader as a “pair of buttocks”, but looking for a market for what you don’t have is real madness.

That is why we have been reduced to exporters of labourers to these wealthy nations. We are told agriculture grew by 3.2 per cent in 2015/16 but the food and fishing sub-sectors grew by just 1.1 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively.

Our target should be to supply food to these desert but wealthy countries. I recently bought a tiny pawpaw in a supermarket in Dubai at 13 dirham, which is about Shs 15,000.

That story of a Kenyan minister negotiating to export vulnerable Kenyans to Saudi Arabia is very painful. That our leaders cannot feed us, they are now exporting us to work as house helpers. Shame!

What is the difference between them and the colonial-era slave traders? State House issued a statement to suggest that Museveni had signed memoranda of understanding on defence, agriculture and trade.

His travel coincided with lifting of a ban on exportation of house helpers by Uganda. Other people are exporting commodities; but for us, we are busy exporting human beings. God save our country.

The author is Kira Municipality MP.

Source — The Weekly Observer

Q&A | President Museveni Talks to Al Jazeera | A five times-elected dictator?

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 06:37

He’s ruled Uganda for 31 years. With five presidential terms in office, Yoweri Museveni is surrounded by controversies related to freedom of speech, human rights, allegations of nepotism, and even the killing of Ugandan citizens. But President Museveni claims Uganda is one of the most democratic countries in the world and that he is leading his people out of poverty and to an even better future. At 72, though, he’s three years away from the constitutional age limit to serve as president. But there is already speculation he will try to change that limit so he can get around it.  As he visited the State of Qatar, Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda, talked to Al Jazeera.

  • On being remembered as a dictator: “A dictator who is elected five times? That must be a wonderful dictator.”
  • On a potential sixth term: “We will follow the constitution”
  • On the length of his rule. “My party has been winning. Is that an offence to win elections? What are you worried about?”
  • On alleged nepotism: “My wife, against my advice, she went and stood for the elections and had the biggest majority in the whole country.”

Al Jazeera: Human Rights Watch, in its latest report, criticised Uganda’s government’s dealings in terms of human rights. Suppression of free speech, putting dissidents in jail … we have the case of Stella Nyanzi who is still in jail just because she expressed herself. We also have the opposition leader who has been in jail several times. We have the government cracking down on opponents and preventing people from rallying freely. By law, more than five people should have the consent and agreement of the police before they can express themselves in the street.

Yoweri Museveni: Uganda is one of the most democratic countries in the world. In terms of free speech, we have something like 250 private radios, which say whatever they want. We have so many television stations, private … I don’t know how many you have here in Qatar, private ones … maybe you can tell me. I only see Al Jazeera. But for us, we have so many. The empowerment of women – many women compared to other countries – in leadership.

Al Jazeera: Why is activist Stella Nyanzi still in jail just because she expressed herself?

Museveni: If you are an activist and you commit an offence, because with human rights you must also speak of the rights of others, you cannot trample on the rights of others, and you say “it is my right to abuse other people”, to insult other people … no. Rights go with responsibilities – if you know anything about democracy.

Al Jazeera: More than just jail and cracking down on dissent, we have bloodshed in Uganda. In western Uganda, in Rwenzururu, just a few months ago, more than 100 people were killed by security forces who attacked a traditional cultural kingdom in the area, saying that that place had “terrorists” inside. What do you say to this?

Museveni: That issue is in court and according to our law, when something is in court I am not allowed to comment. The court will tell us whether those people were arrested for nothing or not.

Al Jazeera: We are talking about those who were killed, not those who are in court.

Museveni: Yes, even those who were killed. Were they killed for no reason – we shall find out from the court. It is in the court now. We call it the principle of sub judice. If I start saying they were wrong, they were this, they were that … then I’m interfering with the court. What I can tell you is since the matter is in the court, bring all your cameras, come to the court and film what they say. I invite you.

Al Jazeera: But we here, and the international audience of Al Jazeera, want to know what happened and we won’t be in court to see it. We want you, Mr President, to explain to us why you sent your troops to that area, to Kasese, to kill more than 100 people.

Museveni: Because they were breaking the law.

Al Jazeera: In what way? They were just guarding the palace [home of Omusinga Mumbere, king of the cultural institution] and they didn’t have any weapons.

Museveni: In Uganda, we’ve got many kings. They are not guarded by militias. They are guarded by the national army.

Al Jazeera: According to our facts, those people were killed and the king was persecuted because they were opposed to the president in the election. Because they are not pro-the ruling government.

Museveni: Not at all, and there are so many [opposed to the ruling government]. If they opposed the president, then what was the militia doing? Do political parties have militias?

Al Jazeera: Mr President, it seems that Ugandans are a little fed up with you because we are reading a lot of reports about this Facebook revolution. People are trying to go to the streets even though they are prevented and they are afraid, of course, of the security forces. They want to create something like the Arab Spring in Uganda. They are fed up because it has been more than three decades of your leadership and term after term after term, it is only one man ruling the country and the world around Uganda has changed. All presidents around Uganda have gone. Do you agree with me that there is a little bit of fatigue with your leadership?

Museveni: Have you heard of something called democracy? Democracy means you elect the people you like. We had elections about one year ago and my party won 62 percent of the vote. That does not show that the people of Uganda are fed up of our party because they have voted for us five times.

Al Jazeera: According to some reports, you have demanded to be given the right to choose the next leader of Uganda. You were unsuccessful.

Museveni: No. I cannot demand that. The people are there. The people have been electing me, in spite of Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera: Are you going to run for another term?

Museveni: We follow our Constitution.

Al Jazeera: There are reports that you are about to change the Constitution so that you can run for another term. Is that going to happen?

Museveni: I cannot change the Constitution because I do not have that power.

Al Jazeera: Reports also say that you are now preparing your own son, who is now highly elevated in the army and he’s your special adviser on certain issues. Your wife is also a minister – she sits next to you on the cabinet. Reports are you are preparing one of the two to become the next president of Uganda. What do you say to this?

Museveni: Why should I prepare them? The people of Uganda will choose the one they want.

Al Jazeera: People in your family are very close to you right now, closer than anybody else. There are reports that you are focusing on your own relatives and this is nepotism – giving them higher seats in the government. Isn’t that nepotism, Mr President?

Museveni: That’s not nepotism. The few members of my family that are involved, I involve on their own merit. My wife, against my advice, stood for election and had the biggest majority in the whole country – because the population appreciate what I have done.

———————————————————————————————————————————

Full Summary — Ugandan Diaspora News Received From Al Jazeera Africa.

When asked if he was planning to run for another term as president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni told Talk To Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall, “We will follow the constitution.”

Museveni has ruled Uganda for 31 years, with five presidential terms in office. At 72 though, he is three years away from the constitutional age limit to serve as president. He dismissed speculation that he will try to change that limit to extend his term. “I cannot change the constitution because I do not have the power.”

He defended the length of his rule. “Have you heard of something called democracy?” he asked Vall. “Democracy means you elect the people you like. We had elections about one year ago. My party got 62% of the vote. In fact, it would have been more if it had not been for quite a lot of spoilt votes. So that does not show that the people of Uganda are fed up with our party, because they have voted for us five times, winning free competition… My party has been winning. Is that an offence to win elections? What are you worried about?”

Similarly, Museveni denied he would go down in history as a dictator. “A dictator who is elected five times? That must be a wonderful dictator.”

He denied that his party had manipulated the elections. “Why did we lose elections in some districts? It was arranged that we handed some districts to the opposition? Don’t you think that’s ridiculous?”

Museveni also dismissed claims that he is preparing either his wife or his son to replace him. “Why should I prepare them? The people of Uganda will choose the one they want… There is no way I can choose for them, my wife, or my son, or even other people.”

He claimed their current prominence had nothing to do with nepotism. “The few members of my family who are involved, I involved on their own merit. My wife, against my advice, she went and stood for the elections and had the biggest majority in the whole country.”

He also dismissed criticisms that he has failed to raise up leaders to succeed him. “The leaders are there. We are a population of 40m. We have got 130 districts. All those districts need leadership. The parliament needs leadership. The ministries need leadership… The other leaders are there. But to maximise the leadership input, we use all our leaders. The young ones. The older ones…  So my people will decide on the who according to the what, the problem they are facing that needs to be solved.”

Museveni said he needed five terms “to start from zero, to where we are now. We were at zero; we are now able to do things by ourselves.”

He says the biggest issue “was to transform the traditional preindustrial society to the modern era.” He listed a number of his achievements: more than 25% of Ugandans are currently studying, through universal education; covered roads have increased from about 800 to nearly 6000km; and for the first time Uganda has surplus electricity.

He dismissed criticism of the number of Ugandans living below the poverty line. “The people under poverty in 1990 were 56%. The ones now under poverty are 19%. Yes, that’s 1/5th but we have covered 4/5ths.”

Museveni also dismissed claims that freedom of speech is restricted in Uganda, pointing to the number of private radio and TV stations. “Uganda is one of the most democratic countries in the world,” he said. “In terms of free speech, we have something like 250 private radios, which say whatever they want.”

In a tough interview, Museveni also fielded questions about the jailing of opponents like Stella Nyanzi and opposition leader Kizza Besigye; rules preventing people rallying freely; the recent killing of more 100 people by security forces in Western Uganda; and his foreign policy.

Source — Al Jazeera

Artists | Kenneth Mugabi Unveils New Music Video ‘Naki’ – From The Album ‘Kibunomu’

Sun, 04/30/2017 - 09:10

Kenneth Mugabi is a singer, songwriter and recording artist from Uganda. Naki is a song from his debut album ‘Kibunomu’. It is a love song from the lovestruck boy next door who finally plucks the guts to tell the pretty girl that he is in love with her. Naki speaks about the lengths that men will go through just to be accepted….for Diaspora Concert Bookings — email Joeapuuli@gmail.com

Gulf News | Uganda To Establish An Investment Promotions Office in Qatar

Sun, 04/30/2017 - 08:26

Gulf News — Uganda has proposed to establish an investment promotions office in Qatar to enhance trade and facilitate investment opportunities between the East African nation and Qatar, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has announced.
The office will also promote Uganda’s flourishing tourism industry, said Museveni, who addressed members of Qatar Chamber and the Qatari Businessmen Association in a meeting held yesterday at the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel.

Uganda’s Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Kasaija Matia later told reporters that the investment promotions office would start operating in July this year. “We want to open it very quickly but if we have to go through the normal process, it would have to open in the next financial year, which is the first of July this year,” Matia explained.

Uganda has signed four memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Qatar in the areas of bilateral exchange and cooperation, investment protection, agriculture, and defence. “But we will also sign MoUs in the areas of double taxation and aviation services most likely in June, once negotiations are finalised,” Matia told Gulf Times on sidelines of the meeting.

Matia also said the East African country wants to attract Islamic banking products from Qatar to facilitate growth in its business sector. He said in 2016, Uganda’s parliament amended laws governing finance to accommodate Islamic financial products.

“We got this concept from different business communities and now that laws and provisions are in place, we want Islamic banking to come to Uganda,” he pointed out.

Matia also said Qatar “is welcome” to participate in oil explorations in Uganda, which is expected to produce oil by 2020. Matia said Uganda has 350bn barrels of proven oil reserves. In response to the proposed investment office in Qatar, Qatar Chamber vice chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari said he will push for the creation of a business council for Qatar and Uganda to facilitate trade and investment between the two countries. He said trade volume between the two countries stood at QR18.5mn in 2015.

Upon returning from Qatar, Matia said he will encourage the Uganda Chamber of Commerce “to communicate and share information” with its Qatari counterparts. Museveni said the investment promotions office will be part of Uganda’s embassy, which is based in Riyadh.

Source — Gulf News

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

Sat, 04/29/2017 - 08:08

BBNAC 2017 Convention highlights…

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

Friday May 26, 2017:

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

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

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

Ssaabasajja Kabaka message.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Organized by Agaliawamu Atlanta
Visitwww.agaliawamuatlanta.org

Registered attendees are entitled to:

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

 

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

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 05:58

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

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

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

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

Buy tickets Here — https://www.eventbrite.com/e/limitx-timeless-concert-tickets-33453444152

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

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 09:28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Banz The African Instagram: @ emibanz Email: Emilybanya@gmail.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source — Daily Monitor

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

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 06:57

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

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

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

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

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