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Letter from the Editor | Ronnie Mayanja | December 2011

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Posted December 1, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Editorial ~ 3,465 views

     

By Ronnie Mayanja | Editor, UNAA Times Online | Greetings folks and welcome to last calender month of the year 2011. It’s International Aids Day and ofcourse a call to all of us for more responsible living.

My second month in Kampala has been quite eventful. As soon as I arrived at the end of October, I was greeted with intermittent load shedding. So bad were the blackouts that sometimes after 24 hours the power got switched on for only 30 minutes, perhaps just enough time to allow us to charge our phones before it went off again for another 24 hour cycle. I got the impression that someone might be playing with the main switch or somehow singled out my village. These rampant power outages have in fact been the cause of riots in some parts of the city, like Nasser Road, which went without power for days, yet many of the businesses there operate heavy equipment that cannot run on generators.

One particular story left me in stitches when a friend recounted his horror at the barber’s when in the middle of his hair cut power went off and this particular barber shop did not have a generator. With only one side of his head shaved he had to find a hat before looking for another location with a generator to complete the job. I am also left wondering how any productive work is done in our economy in both the public and private sector. That means to the Diaspora community planning their holiday travel back home in time for the Holiday season budgeting for solar flash light and solar powered laptops might be ideal.

The other aspect of my stay that has also caused interest has been the rainy season –believe it or not it has literally rained every single day of November in Kampala, something I am not sure I ever experienced in the past. A sign perhaps of the changing weather patterns. With heavy rains come the heavy floods that block many of the access roads, creating traffic jams on all the major highways leading in and out of the city. It’s a challenge our city road engineers and decision makers must grapple with in order to decongest the city.

One news item that caused jitters and interest worldwide was Vladamir Putin’s announcement that he would once again stand for the Presidency of Russia in next year’s spring election. With the Presidential term limit extended from four years to six, pundits predict Russians could be easily faced with the prospect of 12 years [two new consecutive terms] under this peerless former KGB spy as leader. Not sure how this will be interpreted in Africa where many of the continent’s strongmen do NOT like to relinquish power, but Putin’s gamble is perhaps a sign that the Kremlin’s might is still intact today!

On a positive note, I attended a seminar toward the end of November organised by Mr. Edward Katende of Focus On East Africa, whose initiative helped bring together great minds and developers at the First East African Real Estate Investors Conference in Munyonyo Nov.22-23. I was particularly impressed by the calibre of speakers from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, UK and the emirate of Dubai, many of whom are looking to East Africa as the budding real estate hub. Presentations by Judy Rugasira of Knight Frank LTD on the real estate market in Uganda were quite insightful. What was equally shocking were some of the premiums paid on Kampala’s city plots, whose highest bid now stands at $9.8M, a record by Ugandan standards. On the final day of this great conference we heard from the newly appointed Finance Minister, Mrs Maria Kiwanuka, who refuted reports that new property taxes had been instituted by the Uganda Revenue Authority to hamper growth in the housing sector.

As the year comes to a close, we are also reminded of those Ugandans whose contributions have placed Uganda on the international stage. This year, among the top 10 CNN finalists is a Ugandan, Derreck Kayongo, whose soap project will perhaps earn him a nod at the live presentation from Los Angeles’ Kodak Theater, hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Hopefully many Ugandans did vote for Derreck to win the coveted $250,000 prize money.

Talking of notable Ugandans, come the 29th of December 2011, the very first Ugandan Diaspora Social Networking Summit will be held in Kampala at the Serena Hotel. The event, which will be part cocktail and part dinner, is also meant to celebrate and recognise those prominent Ugandans that have made a difference through philanthropic work, academia, entrepreneurship and social development in the countries where they reside. This event will precede the ‘Home Is Best’ Summit that is themed ‘My Home’ My Investment’ a summit in its 5th year pioneered by Ugandan Investment Authority. I have also enjoyed the great opportunity of sitting on the organising committee for this great event.

[http://www.ugandandiaspora.com/sponsorpartner-updates-uganda-investment-authority-uia-invites-you-to-5th-home-is-best-diaspora-summit-2011]

I therefore hope that many of our Diaspora communities will be able to participate in our inaugural social networking ceremony that will be attended by the Ugandan diaspora, diplomats, government representatives and various friends of Uganda. More details are contained on our event official website. [www.ugandandiaspora.com]

Other events planned for the new year include the First Ugandan Canadian Business and Social Convention that will be held from June 29th to July 2nd 2012 in the great coastal city of Vancouver, Canada. Hopefully many Ugandans in North America and other diaspora communities will turn up in great numbers in support of our Canadian brethren. [http://www.ucabc.ca/]

As we end this year, we at UNAA Times Online would like thank you, our readers and well wishers for the show of support. As we start 2012, we pledge to improve and expand our Diaspora operations. Please watch for the launch of the Ugandan Diaspora Magazine and a re-branded ‘Ugandan Diaspora Times’.

A special thank you to all those businesses that have supported us by way of advertising and promotion of our brands! Last but not least I wanted to thank my colleague and friend Mr. Solomon Jagwe for his dedication and creative touch in keeping us above the competition, Mr. ‘Clutch’ you most certainly delivered!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Prosperous 2012!

Ronnie Mayanja | UNAA Times Online | www.unaatimes.com |
Ugandan Diaspora Inc | www.ugandandiaspora.com |
Soreel Mayas Grafx Ltd | www.soreelmayas.net | UG Media |
USA | +1-978-235-2459 | Uganda +256-773-212-007 or 0703999898
Skype | ronnie.mayanja | Twitter | @rmayanja |


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

2 Comments


  1.  
    Alysha

    You really have got to update your news!! Every time I visit your site, it is the same
    crappy news from months ago. Sharpen up Mr Mayanja!!




  2.  
    Stella Okello

    Dear Alysha

    We Ugandans have to apreciate people’s effort. I don’t think Mayanja is publisihing a daily bulletin that he has to update everyday. Just revisit and show some apreciation please. Stella





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