Ugandan Diaspora News | Letter from the Editor | February 2013 | Happy New Year!

Posted February 1, 2013 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Editorial ~ 3,122 views


Dear Readers,

Greetings from Boston,

I trust and hope that the year is off to a great start for each and every one of you, our readers. In Kampala, as you would imagine, it has been scorching hot with intermittent downpours in some areas, while reports from the Northern Hemisphere have shown some biting cold conditions as I witnessed first hand upon my arrival in New England this past week. The year started off on a sad note for Uganda as the nation mourned James Mulwana, the entrepreneur credited with building up Uganda’s private sector, A true statesman, he leaves a legacy for generations to come.

On January 26th,1986 the National Resistance Army ushered in what was described as a ‘fundamental change’ in Uganda’s history, in a break with the tumultuous past. Back then our dear President was referred to by western powers as part of the new breed of African leaders. However it has now become increasingly evident that the principle on which the NRM Ten Point Program was based to wage the five year guerrilla bush war has long been abandoned. While true that a lot was achieved in the first 10 years of the regime, the removal of term limits, endemic corruption and failure to create a level political playing field have many concerned about the road-map to the 2016 elections. And after 27 years in power, it is fair that some are asking what the NRM party that is increasingly looking militaristic can do beyond 2016 when basic social services are still a mirage to many in Uganda’s remotest districts and constituencies.

Perhaps the NRM party can draw some important lessons from our East African neighbors.  In Tanzania Chama Cha Mapinduzi — CCM party was able to reform itself when Julius Nyerere past on while in Kenya — KANU the party that had been in power since Kenya’s Independence is now a shadow of its former-self  a sign that the leadership then never built strong grassroot party structures to allow its continuity beyond President Moi.

Talk of the threat of a military coup by some high government and UPDF officials has also left many anxious about the motives and implications for such loose talk. First came the Minister of Defence with the warning to Uganda’s lawmakers, then came the Army Commander, both re-echoing the President’s comments of what could happen if MPs do not change course. Perhaps this situation was exacerbated by the ongoing impasse between the Executive and the Legislature. But this very system of the separation of power with the checks and balances that it brings has allowed foreign democracies to flourish. In the US, for example, the Executive arm of government cannot interfere with the Legislative or Judicial arms of government, a system that has safeguarded the Union for the past 200 years. But much has changed in Africa in recent years–in my view, military coups, though possible, might not be sustainable, as the will of the people stands a greater chance of prevailing in societies that have become more enlightened as the Arab spring people’s revolutions only revealed to us recently.

About 12 years ago, while hosting the current affairs flagship show on WBS-TV ‘Issues At Hand’, I interviewed a well respected social and political critic F.D.R Gureme whose column ‘Old Man About Town’, was popular with many newspaper readers. I asked him to describe to me what in his view was perhaps the best Ugandan government since independence. I recall the old man pausing for a minute before telling me that the best Uganda Government since Independence was the first Obote government before the crisis of 1966 basing his argument on service delivery. Of course some might disagree with his opinion but as someone who had lived through all those governments, including Amin’s reign of terror, Mzee Gureme’s views were some food for thought!

On a different note, preparations are now under way for a major trade and investors business exposition this July in Boston. I recently had the great pleasure of meeting with Her Excellency Olivia Wonenkha, Uganda’s newly appointed ambassador to the US, who takes up her post in Washington this month. Amb. Wonenkha promises her full support of the Ugandan community in North America and has also pledged to be in Boston for our first Doing Business In Uganda – Trade and Investors Expo on July 6th 2013. The US Mission in Kampala and the American Chamber of Commerce Uganda (AmCham Uganda) headed by Kelley MacTavish-Mungar have also pledged their support and attendance at this event.

Some might ask, why Boston? — it is no accident that the expo will be taking place in Boston. The biggest concentration of Ugandans in North America live in New England. The area also boasts the highest concentration of some of the top schools and universities in the US, and the best hospitals and pharmaceutical companies are also located in Massachusetts. As the place where the first battles were fought in America’s war of independence, the area is rich in history and offers some great tourism synergies.

Doing Business In Uganda – Trade and Investors Expo has participants both US based and from Uganda ready to give a first hand account to companies looking to do business with Uganda. The primary focus will be on Energy, Health, Education, Investment, Trade and Tourism. Thus far there have been confirmations to attend from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bank of Uganda, Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), the Ministry of Tourism, Promote Uganda and many other private sector driven businesses with focus on Diaspora affairs. Dr. Maggie Kigozi from United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) will also be at the one-day summer event at the Newton Boston Marriott. Let it be stated up front that the expo will focus on Trade and Investment opportunities back home and not politics!

Finally, let us remember that February is a month when LOVE is in the air. So be sure to show your loved ones that you really care and appreciate their existence in your life!!!

A Happy Valentines Day Folks!

Ronnie Mayanja
MSc. Comm –  Boston University
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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.


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