‘Madness’ makes Batanda’s dreams come true by Racheal Ninsiima

 

Photo credit: Edward Echwalu

Success is measured differently by different people.

For some, it is the contentment that comes with putting food on the table; for others, it is the sought-after job promotion, and yet others it is fame and wealth.

But for the outspoken, bespectacled and fair-skinned Jackee Budesta Batanda, it is the ecstasy that comes with living one’s dream. Her success as a writer, a dream she has nurtured since childhood, is awe-inspiring.

It won her some of the world’s coveted awards such as the Macmillan Writer’s prize which recognizes unpublished African fiction for children and the 2004 African regional winner for the Commonwealth short story competition.

Read full article in the Observer.

 

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Real estate development is still the safest way to invest by Francois Griessel and Jackee Budesta Batanda

Real estate development is still the safest way to investInvesting in real estate is still the surest way to make any meaningful returns. Photo by Ismail Kezaala. 
World over, real estate remains the best investment vehicle, and the easiest and safest way for people to invest and make money. Over the last couple of years, there has been a real estate boom in Uganda. While some analysts have pointed to a potential bubble within the real estate industry, for the savvy investor, this is still one of the best ways to build assets, create wealth and earn a passive income.

Demand
One reason for this is that there will always be a need for a roof over one’s head, office space and many other needs related to real estate. In Uganda when banks increased interest rates on mortgages, many people were negatively affected because the new rates impacted on their lifestyles.

You might have read articles about key city businessmen losing their properties to banks and the banks being stuck with houses they had foreclosed on. The real estate market seems tricky now, and for some, your fingers have might been burnt, so to speak.

In these articles we show that the secrets to real estate investment include educating oneself, learning how to identify good property deals, putting deals together and raising capital. With property, you can diversify your investment portfolio. We will also show how you can eventually diversify your portfolio by having properties in other markets around the world.

Read more: Daily Monitor

A leak in high places puts Ugandans on edge

Photo: Ronald Kabuubi/AFP/GettyImages

KAMPALA, Uganda — Kampala is in an uproar. The Ugandan government has just shut down four private media outlets — a move that follows a crackdown on journalists from the Daily Monitor newspaper a few days earlier. The government’s anger was prompted by a story in the paper said to reveal details of a plan by senior officials to assassinate rivals opposed to a scheme by President Yoweri Museveni to arrange for his son to succeed him in office. By exposing deep rifts within the ruling establishment, the paper has shaken Uganda’s political establishment to the core.

The Monitor quoted extensively from a letter by a senior intelligence officer, General David Sejusa, calling for an investigation into claims that the government is planning to target opponents of the so-called “Muhoozi Project,” an alleged plan to pave the way for 39-year-old Brigadier Kainerugaba Muhoozi (pictured left), commander of an elite army unit, to take over the presidency. The state-owned Uganda Communications Commission (which controls licensing) warned radio stations that they would be shut down for airing the story of Gen. Sejusa’s letter.

Read more: Transitions

Celebrating ordinary Ugandans doing extraordinary things

Photo by MICHELE SIBILONI/AFP/Getty Images

Now that 2012 has come to a close, I can say that it has been an interesting year for Uganda, with the country experiencing some of the greatest highs and lows in its history. The country just buried a young woman member of parliament from the ruling party, Hon. Cerinah Nebandah from the Butaleja District in Eastern Uganda, who died under mysterious circumstances. Her suspected poisoning has strongly divided the nation. The official government autopsy report claims she died from a drug and alcohol overdose, but her family and legislators have rejected the findings. The debate, however, does bring to the fore the alcohol and drug problem in Uganda, which society has failed to acknowledge as a deeply entrenched problem among young people. What I see, above all, is the loss of one of Uganda’s most vibrant young politicians. For many young people, the 24-year-old Nebanda represented a new political force that could potentially cleanse the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party from within.

Read more: Transitions

What Uganda can do to end the crisis in Congo

L-R: President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Joseph Kabila of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at a press meeting in the Ugandan capital Kampala to discuss a solution to the M23 rebel group and the escalating conflict in eastern DRC
Photo: Peter Busomoke/AFP/Getty Images

Last week the UN finally released a controversial report that accuses Uganda and Rwanda of supporting rebels in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). When a leaked version of the report first appeared in October, Uganda’s Army spokesperson, Felix Kulayigye dismissed it: “It’s hogwash, it’s a mere rumor that’s being taken as a report,” he told Radio France Internationale. “It’s undermining the credibility of the mediator which is Uganda, and when you undermine the credibility of the mediator you are actually undermining the entire process.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that Uganda has threatened to respond to the charges by withdrawing from its African peacekeeping missions in the DRC, Somalia, and the Central African Republic.

The paper quoted the Ugandan Foreign Ministry as follows: “Uganda’s withdrawal from regional peace efforts, including Somalia… would become inevitable unless the U.N. corrects the false accusations made against Uganda.” In addition, a delegation of Ugandan officials held talks with individual members of the UN Security Council in early November to protest the allegations in the UN report.

In May, Aljazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri visited a base of the M23 rebel movement in eastern DRC near the Rwandan border. The rebels told her that they were fighting because the Congolese government had failed to meet its obligations outlined in the peace accords.

Read more: Transitions

Are Ugandans reaching the breaking point on corruption?

Photo by Kasamani Isaac/AFP/GettyImages

Photo by Kasamani Isaac/AFP/GettyImages

The Daily Monitor managing editor and columnist, Daniel Kalinaki, deftly captures the state of Uganda’s corruption in a poignant opinion piece he’s just published in the paper. The title says it all: “Uganda used to have thieves, now the thieves have Uganda.” He writes about the sky-high level of official corruption and how it has become an institutionalized phenomenon. Kalinaki’s piece neatly expresses what a lot of Ugandans have been thinking, and it’s become a favorite in online discussions. As for me, I agree with Kalinaki that the thieves have Uganda by the balls.

The recent high-profile scandals involving mass embezzlement of funds in the Office of the Prime Minister scandal make one weep. The worst part is that money donated for disaster relief and post-conflict reconstruction was channeled into personal accounts — even while the Ugandan media reports everyday on destitute people in need of all forms of assistance.

Read more: Transitions

Another case of high-level corruption in Uganda

Uganda’s Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, whose office is affected by the corruption scandal
Photo credit: MICHELE SIBILONI/AFP/Getty Images

Recently Ugandans had one small cause to celebrate. The World Bank announced that their country had moved up in the rankings in its annual ease of doing business survey. And not only did Uganda move up — it also overtook regional rival Kenya, which had long enjoyed a much better rating in this area. The ratings are important, of course, because foreign investors quite understandably prefer to put their money into places where there are fewer obstacles to business.

But that little bit of good news was quickly supplanted by a more ominous story. Ugandan social media have been avidly following this week’s revelation that Ireland has suspended aid to the Ugandan government after an audit showed that over 4 million Euros ($5.2 million) had ended up in the unauthorized account of the prime minister.

According to the Irish Independent newspaper, 16 million Euros ($21 million) given directly to the Uganda government for aid purposes has been suspended. The paper adds that aid given to non-governmental organizations will continue.

Read more: Transitions