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Ugandan Diaspora News | Letter from the Editor | January 2015 | Happy New Year!

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Posted January 11, 2015 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Editorial ~ 2,007 views

     

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Dear Readers,

Greetings from Kampala!

I trust your year is off to a terrific start. And yes, making those yearly resolutions is in order. What a year 2014 was for some of us, but whether tough or not, we need to pick up the pieces and soldier on — for the best is yet to come.

On 29th December we held our Diaspora Business Breakfast and Gala. In a break with tradition the Diaspora Business Breakfast was held for the first time and was hugely successful. Special thanks go to Ms. Belinda Namutebi and the entire Diaspora team for helping organize this very successful breakfast event.

On 30th December we held our annual Diaspora end-of-year gala that recognized a list of distinguished recipients that included: Mr. Bulaimu Muwanga Kibirige, founder of the BMK group and Hotel Africana he was awarded a (Diaspora Lifetime Entrepreneurship Award); Dr. Margaret Mungerera, President – World Medical Association received a (Diaspora Medical Award); Namitti Musaazi – A Team Leader, Al Jazeera Africa was awarded a (Diaspora Journalism Award); while Elijah Kitaka, Head of Google’s Entrepreneurship Division in Sub–Saharan Africa received our first (Diaspora Technology Award). A special thank you to our Guest of Honor this year, Ugandan Ambassador to Canada, H.E. Alintuma Nsambu. who represented the Vice President and officiated over the colorful ceremony.  http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2015/01/02/the-2014-edition-diaspora-gala-highlights-and-pictures-as-captured-from-kampala-serena-hotel/

I am grateful to team Diaspora who worked tirelessly in my absence to execute and ensure a successful event. We also pay homage to our sponsors for their support as we enter our 5th year. Please mark your calendars for December 29th 2015 – We shall host our second Diaspora Business Breakfast and on 30th December 2015 it will be our 5th annual Diaspora Social Networking Gala. The official Diaspora after-party will be held once more at Guvnor. (This time we have heeded to the call for a more affordable pricing so this year’s gala will cost — UGX 120,000/-)

As we enter the new year we are committed to continue marketing Uganda to the Diaspora. Our belief has always been that those in the Diaspora are the best Ugandan ambassadors to sell and market our nation abroad. However this effort also calls for government support and recognition. In the past when we organised Diaspora events like the annual gala, support from government has been minimal and some department heads do not even bother to attend. This has led some to lobby for a Ministry of Diaspora Affairs whose minister would report directly to the President, as we believe that a full-fledged ministry staffed by those from the Diaspora will do a better job attracting investment and promoting Diaspora affairs. This approach has worked well for nations overseas that celebrate their Diaspora impact.

Hopefully 2015 will see a more robust approach in dealing with the Diaspora affairs, going beyond follow-up on trips abroad for technocrats that come with emoluments — hefty allowances that are the motivation for some government officials to use conventions as shopping trips. Likewise, our Ambassadors ought to do more to engage the Diaspora communities, We need to institute a National Day separate from the Independence Day celebrations at each of our missions/embassies to help sell and market Uganda.  The weekly observer editorial was on point.  http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2015/01/08/observer-editorial-embassies-invest-pick-right-people/

Our government needs to show a more zero tolerance approach toward corruption that is now an institutionalized form of doing business in Uganda. Most of the major deals involving government contracts also attract hefty commissions ( sometimes over a billion shillings plus — in some cases) these kickbacks we the tax payers and our grand children are bound to repay (via loan repayment schemes) by those more interested in putting ink to paper based on their cut. The recent scandals like Katosi and the standard guage railway deal —  the finger pointing that followed is just a tip of the iceberg of the kind of wheeling and dealing that goes on in Uganda today. It is therefore no longer surprising when you new mansions emerge overnight in Kampala. The sad part is that everyone seems to be waiting their turn to milk this nation dry – just wait for the political landscape to shape up as we prepare for the 2016 general elections.

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On a positive note as someone who is now resident on another continent I am glad to see the few positive changes that are slowly changing our infrastructural landscape. New highways (Entebbe Expressway – Southern bypass) and new Malls in the offing seem to show that Uganda is finally getting something right. The ICT revolution also puts us ahead of some developed countries in the region.

Finally, be on the lookout for some exciting events on the Diaspora calendar. We are integrating new elements to help serve you better but we also need new partners. Still pending is a Diaspora Magazine that we intend to roll out later this year. The AmCham or Uganda American Chamber of commerce will host a Agribusiness summit in April. Last week I was invited by the US Embassy Commercial Attache to see how best to get the Diaspora involved in this event that will also attract American businesses to Uganda.  http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2015/01/08/american-uganda-chamber-agribusiness-summit-and-expo-generation-agripreneur-april-22-23rd-2015-kampala-uganda/

For those dearly departed of 2014, we shall miss you; for those we wronged, may you find it in your hearts to forgive us. Together let’s make our nation flourish by contributing in whatever way we can to develop and preserve this beautiful Pearl of Africa!

Our new year quote — And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.  My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. By JFK.

Happy New Year!

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 | +256-703-999-898
Skype | ronnie.mayanja | Twitter | @rmayanja | http://www.linkedin.com/in/ronniemayanja


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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