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How Ugandan Hotels Are Killing Local Tourism and Hurting Growth?

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By Ian Ortega

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I don’t claim to be an expert on tourism but I can confidently claim to know when things are going wrong. Of late, I have been observing the Ugandan Hotel Industry. A few weeks back, I was at the Innovation Village in Ntinda. It’s described as a destination for the next BIG IDEAS in Fintech, Climate, Agric, Health, Diversity, Education and Media. Being one of the founders of BigEye Media, Innovation Village Kampala speaks right to me. The location is a grand creative space of various recycled furniture that brings home the African touch. I was impressed.

Yet, when I travel to all Ugandan Hotels, I am shocked to find the African touch lacking. It’s as though every Ugandan Hotel is trying its level best to become a better version of the Western Hotels. Right from the architecture to the decor, all Ugandan Hotels have nothing Ugandan about them.

Hotel room

So then it gets me wondering, where is the unique positioning for our hotel industry? One of the best places to find a unique placement is in the cuisines section. However most Ugandan Hotels don’t have a Ugandan menu per say. The few that do have a Ugandan menu have limited themselves to the basic buffet of local Ugandan foods blended with various other western dishes.

In the past while still young and energetic, I toyed with the idea of a Ugandan cookbook. Together with a friend, we had plans of capturing the various Ugandan foods in a book, with guidelines on how to prepare each of these dishes. We also had plans of having our own Ugandan Food Show. It was to air on one of the Ugandan TV stations and would capture our travels around different parts of Uganda, interacting with the culture and capturing the process of preparing all those unique Ugandan dishes. I never executed on those ideas. But I have chosen to put them in the public domain just in case someone gets to implement them faster than I can.

Definitely when I take my leave soon, I will take my time to compile that Ugandan Cook Book, it may be the single contribution I can make to Uganda’s tourism. Which brings me to the central question-why don’t Ugandan Hotels have a fully fledged Ugandan menu? To make it even spicier, why not have a menu that gives a taste of the different regions and tribes of Uganda, the drinks, the foods, the vegetables, the fruits and the deserts? Why can’t we have a hotel in Uganda preparing ground nut paste with the Gisu’s bamboo shoots aka Malewa?

These are questions that trouble my mind every night. They are very simple questions yet we fail to solve them. Instead of us wasting time running after the big ideas of making tourism better, we could start with the simple things. What is Ugandan about our hotels? You will be troubled to find a Ugandan distinction in our hotels.

Mustapha Mugisa opined in a tweet; “Uganda hotels are killing local tourism: no local menu. Everything is SpinachCannelloni; PastaPrimavera; Penne etc no Kalo.” I couldn’t agree beyond my tails. He had hit the point home. Hopefully, the powers that be in this tourism can pick up these ideas and inject life in them.

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Opinion

Finally, Development Channel boss writes to President Museveni

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My name is Charles N. Lambert and I represent the global Pan-African quest for economic independence through an umbrella known as the “United Citizens of Africa” (UCA). I lead a strong army of over 500,000 subscribed believers in our cause of demanding Africa’s economic independence and the end of gross poverty in our continent. I have passionate followers in countless countries including but not limited to hundreds of thousands in Nigeria, thousands in Kenya, South Sudan, Senegal, Ethiopia, Ghana, Cameroon, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. I can boldly say that I REPRESENT the present day Pan-Africanism in regards to the pursuit of economic independence for Africa, a thing we believe is expedient.

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In case you have not observed Mr. President, you are the last remaining single individual in all of Africa’s 1.3billion people that has the foundation, the understanding and the experience regarding Pan-Africanism. We don’t just need you, we have travelled thousands of miles to Uganda just to find you and rest our pursuit on the grace of our ancestors which you have carried tirelessly for decades. YOU are the only reason why the base of our efforts has been set in Uganda because as the scriptures say “If the foundation be destroyed, what shall the righteous do?” Hence by default, you have no option than to embrace the fact that you are OUR LEADER and one which we MUST work with to fulfill the aspirations of our fathers who fought to set our various nations free from colonial oppression and begin a blue print towards our development as a people.

As you have narrated in the Mustard Seed, the economic pursuit of independence for Africa was to follow the political one but somewhere along the lines, something went missing. Your excellency Sir, we have gathered that which went missing and have the most comprehensive, robust, proven, pragmatic and sustainable platform consisting of 25 companies and backed up with unbelievable ideological followership that is guaranteed to crush anyone who stands in opposition to the cause. There is nothing that is remotely as comprehensive as what we possess in UCA and we have NO MATCH in leadership contention for the pan-African economic liberation movement be it with NGOS, governments, international agencies or private businesses- we are designed to LEAD EVERYONE. There is nothing that will belittle us as referring to us as just another investor in Uganda.

Your Excellency, our movement will practically and permanently ERASE all your nightmares as a leader. Scriptures says “Write the vision and make it plain upon tables that THEY MAY RUN THAT READS IT….” As you can see from the scripture, you have been writing, articulating, making it plain YET no one has bothered to RUN with that which you have written. There is a massive, irreparable disconnect between your ideals and the people to execute them which is most evident that despite the peace, the enabling environment and the countless ideas you give, Uganda was listed three weeks ago as the 3rd poorest country in the world by GDP. I do not believe you want to use another 30 years to discover that you MUST look at unprecedented platforms such as ours to serve Ugandans and Africans at large. The present statuesque does not work and the same people are telling the masses that YOU are responsible for unemployment, poor housing and gross poverty in the land when in actuality the reverse is the case.

We are about to move into the next steps of our Pan-African economic liberation movement and we are setting up a phone manufacturing plant in YOUR VILLAGE (Rushere, Rwakitura municipality, kiruhura district) by November 2018 and it will be the first place in all of Africa where mobile devices and IT products are made. This is an honor our movement has bestowed on you because you have stood for more than 50 years on the same ideals we now represent especially in regards to your position on “… benefiting foreign economies to the detriment of the local people” (Economic War proposed by you-President Yoweri Museveni in the 10Point Program). In all intentions and purposes, you are our father, my father. This is why we have set up the first tool for our first of 25 battles in your hometown and have vowed to foster your legacy to ALL of Africa so as to receive and maintain the grace of all the fathers of Pan-Africanism long dead.

In continuation of our commitment to Uganda BECAUSE OF YOU AND THE GRACE OF OUR ANCESTORS IN PAN-AFRICANSIM WHICH YOU CARRY, We are also set to establish a car manufacturing plant in Jinja, food processing in Gulu (I am excited to turn your value addition theory on coffee to living reality), a women empowerment oil and gas corporation in Masindi, a home construction institute in Soroti, the Black wall Street in Kampala, an e-commerce processing in Nakasongola, and so much more. I can guarantee you that given your support from this month of September 2018, that by January 2019, over 1 million jobs will be available in Uganda for the Youth with work assimilation training provided and wages exceeding your middle income projections for the country. Your Excellency, we can ERASE unemployment in Uganda in a twinkle of an eye given your support.

Your Excellency, it was you and NOT my humble self that called for a combination of “capitalistic and socialist ideals” in the building of the nation. We responded to your own ideas in our “Our child support program for Uganda” yet because you are not yet publicly on board with what we are doing, we have been oppressed by members of your own government, called various names including scam by your own police and harassed without mercy by your own government’s media (New Vision Group). This is the same program that is bound to give you countless international awards and recognition for the country! Your Excellency, we are tired of seeing our best intentions destroyed because of your silence towards our movement which the Ugandan people unfortunately do not have the slightest understanding about.

You cannot afford to leave us defenseless anymore among very uninformed and highly ignorant public as too much will be lost in the process including our planned Job seekers allowance for job seekers and the various other initiatives unheard of by any other country in the history of Africa. In summary, history is unfolding through our presence in Uganda to tap into your grace and we are employing you to embrace our platform, stand on it and lead Africa to economic independence through us. We are formidable, dependable and ruthless in efficiency.

Finally, just like the political independence was finally attained, we will attain economic independence for Africa and permanently delete our identity with poverty and death.

May God bless and keep you.

May God bless and keep Africa.

Your Ideological Son,

Charles N. Lambert

Founder & Chairman

United Citizens of Africa (UCA)

Development Channel (DC)

Great Uganda Initiative (GUI)

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Opinion

Opinion: If 1% of Uganda’s Population Started Mining Bitcoin, UEGCL Would Have To Construct A New Dam Every 2 Months

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By Ian Ortega

It is now clear that there is no escaping the Bitcoin revolution. Bitcoin is here to stay, and so is Blockchain, the technology upon which Bitcoin runs. Yet even more scary is the power consumption that is used up in the Bitcoin mining process.

An individual bitcoin transaction is estimated to use up 300kwh of electricity, an equivalent of boiling over 30,000 kettles of water.

Current global Bitcoin energy usage is 0.13 percent of the world’s electricity consumption. According to Joel Bellenson, at Bitcoin’s current growth rate of 30% per month, Bitcoin mining energy consumption will exceed global solar energy production before the next Christmas. “It will take 25 months until Bitcoin mining completely eradicates human civilisation,” he notes. “25 months at current bitcoin mining energy growth rate of 30% per month before mining exceeds 100% of all the electricity on the planet.”

The bitcoin users are estimated to be peaking towards 18 million, as per those with a Bitcoin wallet. As per UETCL records, “Uganda’s peak power system demand currently stands at 500 MW against an installed generation capacity of 851.53MW.”

This implies, that if 1% of Uganda’s population were to start mining bitcoin, UEGCL would have to construct a new dam with the same capacity of Karuma every 2 months. And this should be a very scary thought for the Electricity bodies as Bitcoin could prove to be a bigger threat to energy usage than anything.

But is UEGCL prepared for such an eventuality? Would it cope if Bitcoin mining and transactions became the order of the day in the country? Probably this may not happen. And we could see a country coming to a total standstill. The country then may surely need to open up conversations about Bitcoin and Blockchain.

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Opinion

OPINION: It is time for Gospel Artistes to break out of their shell and shine

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Judith Babirye

Judith Babirye is one of the leading gospel artistes in Uganda

By James Propa

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It is evident from several digital music selling platforms that comparatively gospel music is one of the most selling genres of music in the world. However it is evident in Uganda, most gospel artists tend to lock themselves in serving ‘the converted’ than serving the entire market.

It is also true that however much there is too much politics in the music industry, there is equally too much politics in the churches and this further reduces the audiences to which the gospel artists promote their music. This also affects the turn up at their concerts.

With this kind of politics hitting you up from both angles, there is absolutely little room to shine and benefit from your career.

Don’t you find it quite terrible that in 2017, we have only had 2 gospel artists staging relatively big concerts? Hon Judith Babirye and Levixone at the Museum. What is common about these 2 is the way they tapped into the radio stations and opportunities that are not driven by religion.

It is time for other gospel artists to start creating universal content using simple language that even non-believers can understand and like. This is when they will become happy and also have an opportunity to own mansions and sleek cars like their counterparts doing other genres of music.

Get out of your shell and shine!

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