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Interview: Joseph Bogera talks Sales and Distribution at MTN Uganda

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Joseph Bogera,  General Manager Sales and Distribution MTN UgandaBy Our Reporter 

Just over 8 months ago MTN Uganda appointed Joseph Bogera as the General Manager Sales and Distribution. Joseph is a seasoned sales professional who began his career with MTN Uganda as a Business Account Manager, moved to MTN Rwanda as a Corporate Sales Manager, Uganda Breweries as a Divisional Sales Manager.

Joseph progressed to work as the Country Manager for Brightsarcorp Limited covering 11 countries including Zambia, Botswana, Mauritius, Kenya and DRC and more recently before returning to MTN Uganda as General Manager – GOtv Uganda.

We caught up with Joseph to understand his role as GM – Sales and Distribution and his passion for success.

Describe your role as General Manager Sales and Distribution at MTN Uganda.

First and foremost, I would like to say this has been a baptism of fire of sorts, soon after I was appointed in September 2019, we got hit by COVID-19.

The subsequent lockdown narrowed our traditional operating space like never before but then opened new doors of opportunity that many people who only used internet in the office opened up to our services.

As GM, I lead a nationwide team of over 120 exceptionally talented Ugandans whose single focus is growing our customer base, ensuring we are delivering on our Customer promise and addressing their every need.

We have witnessed a migration from voice to data especially during the Lockdown. How has this affected your strategy?

My core responsibility as the head of MTN Uganda’s Sales and Distribution is to optimize resources as the company hits the course of Digital Distribution. For MTN, the migration started well before COVID-19 under the “Digital for Good” initiative.

My focus now is spearheading key change initiatives through a robust Digital Distribution eco system which will create long lasting value for our Customers, Distributors, Agents, employees, and our country Uganda.

Is there room for growth in Uganda?

Incredible opportunity. Uganda has a low penetration of mobile handsets and smart phones, without a doubt there is a great opportunity for the telecom sector, especially with the big youthful population and hunger for information and entertainment.

With Digital Distribution, as a priority pillar our goal is to move towards a cashless and convenience in the palm of your hands and that is why we have to urgently address the affordability of handsets. Owning a smart phone should not be a privilege anymore.

What qualifies Joseph Bogera to this position what roles have shaped your journey?

I have built my career from being a foot soldier in diverse markets as well as working on diverse products. As the General Manager GOtv Uganda at Multichoice, I led the transformation of GOtv Uganda from a flat to profit making entity to a must have offer, through aggressive customer acquisition and retention whilst optimizing the limited resources. I led the launch of the Pearl Magic Channel that now leads in local content development.

On the telecom side I designed routes to market for Blackberry handsets across 11 ESA Countries, introduced Tecno handsets to Operators in Zambia, Botswana, Uganda and DRC as well as executing the distributor management role for Samsung, through robust demand planning and supply balancing while at Brightstarcorp.

In short I am Consistent, passionate and play to win.

Outside Sales and Distribution where do you get your energy?

My wife, kids and prayer. When I can I will be on the golf course to get much needed exercise and inspiration

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Celebrity Gossip

Interview: Meet Hatim and Dokey, the new music duo in town

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Hatim and Dokey

By Our Reporter

There is a new duo in town — Hatim and Dokey!

After writing several chart topping songs for other Ugandan artistes, songwriters, Hatim aka Ken Hatim and Dokey aka Dokta Brain have teamed up to also share in the spotlight. They are getting behind the microphone to record music.

The duo was recently signed under Subwami Empire, a local Talent and Events Management Company and are currently working on their debut music album.

We caught up with them for a quick chat:

1. Who is Hatim and Dokey?

Hatim: Real name Ken Hatim, I am a Ugandan singer and songwriter. I started out as a solo artist in in 2015, but that didn’t pan out. Currently I am one half of the duo, Hatim and Dokey, which is signed under Subwami Empire, a Talent and Events Management Company.

Dokey: My real name is Nkwanga Geoffrey but many people know me by my stage name Dokta Brain.

I started my music career at Sous Records in 2014 where I was an in-house songwriter with producer ManPollo.

In 2015, I got my breakthrough after working the legendary Angella Kalule on her single ‘Malaika’. Later that year, I met with the late Danz Kumapeesa and wrote several hit songs including ‘Musawo’ and ‘Magic’ for Winnie Nwagi, as well as ‘Juice Wa Mango’ by Rema.

I have since written several other songs like ‘Kisasi kimu’, ‘Binkolera’, ‘Omwoyo’, and ‘Beera Nange’ by Sheebah Karungi; ‘Sabula’, ‘Nakupenda’, and ‘Katijjo’ by Fille; ‘Olindaki’ by Lydia Jazmine, just to mention but afew.

2. How did you meet and what made you decide to team up?

Hatim: We met for the first time in studio in late 2019. It is after this that we discovered that we could do good music together. The chemistry, how our vocals blend, and the positive feedback from other people made us confident and we talked about becoming a duo and the rest is history.

Dokey: I met Hatim in 2019 at Nuff Empire studio where I had gone to record a song with Skills On the Beat. We had a long chat about the industry and music at large, listened to each other’s music, and thereafter decided to record a song together. We realized there was a good vibe between us, and decided to record even more music together in that same week.

After taking time to look through what we had done together, it was addictive and irresistible to our consciences, we felt we belong together musically. It is after this that we thought of becoming partners.

We formed HD Music, H from Hatim and D from Dokta Brain, but felt the name didn’t sound catchy enough. We later settled for Hatim & Dokey.

3. Describe your kind of music and the creative process that goes into making it?

Hatim: Our music falls in quite a number of genres and is mostly influenced by the surrounding environment at the time. Writing lyrics and creating melodies is a natural skill and ours has evolved over time with training and experience.

Dokey: We are versatile artistes, both lyrically and melodically. We are not confined to one music style. We may do a lot of Afrobeat music but we are very flexible, allowing us to realize our full musical potential.

4. Are you working on any music projects at the moment? If yes, when should we expect them to drop?

Yes, we are working on our debut album titled Vibes and Themes (VAT) which will have 20 tracks. So far we have released 2 songs and hope to be releasing more music soon.

5. What challenges have you so far faced in the music industry and how have you dealt with them?

Hatim: The lack of funds to attend studio sessions, record and produce music, shoot music videos and promote the music is one of the biggest challenges we have had to go through, not to mention unsupportive people along the way.

Dokey: Just like any other business, the music industry is challenging, especially financially. But thank God for our management, we’ve overcome that struggle. Now, the remaining struggle is just a question of time, and all will be alright.

6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hatim: We pray for life, otherwise we are working to get to the top. We see ourselves holding successful album releases, music concerts, and global tours.

Dokey: We are just going to do what we have to and continue to grow. Through hard work and persistence that we intend to put into our careers for the next five years, we should be able to put our name on the global map.

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Interviews

Uganda Red Cross’ Robert Kwesiga explains how public donations will support their efforts in fight against COVID-19

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Mr. Robert Kwesiga, the Secretary General, Uganda Red Cross Society of Uganda.

Mr. Robert Kwesiga, the Secretary General, Uganda Red Cross Society of Uganda.

By Our Reporter

MTN Uganda recently launched a MoMoPay Merchant Code through which customers can donate funds to support the relief effort, especially for those most affected by the economic and social devastation brought on by Coronavirus.

To donate, individuals dial *165*3# then enter the code 191919 and the amount of money they wish to contribute.

Proceeds from this intervention are meant to help fund efforts of the Uganda Red Cross as it works to help combat further spread of the virus and support those who are finding it hard to fend for themselves.

The Secretary General, Uganda Red Cross Society of Uganda, Mr. Robert Kwesiga shares more details of what the collected funds will be used for.

Below is an excerpt of that interview;

1. What will the money be used for?

The money will be used to procure and provide essential food assistance to the most vulnerable households whose livelihoods, from their informal jobs, have been adversely affected by the partial lockdown instituted in response to COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda. This will complement the initiative that the Government of Uganda has started.

2. Who are the beneficiaries?

The beneficiaries are poor households who live in informal settlements in urban areas and are adversely affected by the partial lockdown instituted by Government, because they can no longer afford food for their households owing to disruptions of their informal employment.

3. Where will the activities related to this project be executed?

The food distribution shall continue on a rolling basis all through the period during which people are restricted to their homes due to the partial lockdown period. At a later date, an early recovery livelihood intervention programme shall be instituted after the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled so as to support the affected vulnerable households bounce back to normal, dignified lives.

4. For how long will funds be collected?

Funds to support these interventions shall be required throughout the period of the lockdown, and after the pandemic is controlled so as to sustain all recovery efforts for the affected households.

5. When/How often will proceeds be announced/declared?

Total amounts collected shall be announced by the Red Cross on a weekly basis and later after further gaps are identified, the public shall be informed of any extra support required.

6. How will accountability for the funds collected be communicated and in what intervals?

All funds and other donations received towards this cause shall be put to good use as planned and accounted for in accordance with Uganda Red Cross standard financial guidelines. These funds shall be subjected to formal audit, whose report shall be published on the URCE website and in other official communication channels that shall be open for public viewing.

7. Does the public have a say in how the collections are spent?

The Uganda Red Cross shall remain accountable and engaging to the public, as much as possible. The public shall be engaged through our various public communication channels and as well as our branch offices which cover all districts across the country.

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Celebrity Gossip

Interview: Fort Portal’s Joseph Israel Mwebesa talks about his music journey

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Joseph Israel Mwebesa

By Our Reporter

Joseph Israel Mwebesa is a household name in Fort Portal. He is a singer, song writer, instrumentalist and also Director at Creations Band.

We caught up with him as he prepares for his debut solo album launch titled “I Love Fort Portal”.

Tell us abit about yourself.

I am a gifted song writer, singer, composer and instrumentalist. I am also a trained counselor and a professional Marketer (ACIM).

Why did you choose music despite your good professional training?

My professional training has continuously created in me a conviction and challenge to use my musical talents to create a bigger solution in society especially tapping into people’s special talents and abilities. Most importantly, its passion driven since my childhood. Without passion, I would have given up.

What new things have you brought to the music industry in Tooro?

By 2011, many considered it hard to sing Rutooro and English. But my coming to the industry proved them wrong. If you access them on our creations band website www.creationsband.com or on YouTube, you will confirm this. People in Tooro and western Uganda now appreciate and enjoy Tooro Music. In my musical career, I have written a number of songs for people including couples and organizations, put up my first Rutooro Album “I Love Fort Portal” and will be launching it on the 27th of December at Nyaika Hotel Fort Portal. Have also come up with 3 key collaborations including “True Love” currently doing very well on a number of radio stations. I have established Creations Band a recording and performing band.

Which achievement do you take pride in so far in your music career?

My music and message have so far reached many people in Tooro and changed negative attitude towards Tooro Music. The online platforms for my music have very encouraging feedback. We have somehow twisted the role of music from mere entertainment to edutainment using songs like Beautiful Land, Power within you, Myekwaso, I love Fort Portal etc. and that’s good.

What’s so special with your new album you plan to launch?

This is my first-born album, that alone drives a special attachment. It has unique songs many of which are inspirational talking about my sentiments and attachments to my sweet Motherland Tooro. Its rare for an artiste to just come up with a full music album about a place. Its on record, I have made a great contribution to lift the brand of Tooro and that’s quite special about the Album.

Tell us more about the “I Love Fort Portal” album.

The album has 14 songs – 4 of which directly talk about Fort portal and the Beauty and endowment of Tooro. These include; the Beautiful Land, Tooro Nsi Nungi and Come Home. Most of them are inspirational in nature while others are very nice love songs. The song “I Love Fort Portal” lays the foundation for the entire album. It was not only my very first song but also provided direction for writing other songs on the album. The album has two collaborations with the recent one being True Love, a very captivating love song. There are other very enjoyable songs like Nyamaizi which is a blend of modern styles and traditional Tooro style of music.

What can people expect at the launch?

We have planned to make it quite different, very entertaining and memorable. It will be a live show of entertainment and a demonstration of solidarity for Tooro Music. I am working hard to ensure all legendary Musicians of Tooro like John Kaawha, Akiiki Romeo and others perform at the concert.

What are your long-term goals as a musician?

With Creations Band, I hope to make it a strong music label in Uganda which will not only promote musical talent but also be a platform for advocacy, empowerment and promotion of special talents and abilities among youth in Uganda. My dream is to make more or less a home of best talents at creations Band. There are currently many unemployed talented young people and that hurts! They should be employing their talents.

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Interviews

Northern Rapper Of The Year O.P.U KOBOKOBOY Speaks about Life In The Village and New Music

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By Staff Writer

  • What have you been up?

I took some time off and went looking for inspiration in other areas of life. Moved back to Koboko in June 2017 been here since for about 2 years and 1 month. 

  • Moved back of Koboko? What inspired that move? 

I lived in Kampala my whole life and needed to get away from the noise and hustle of the big city, I needed to reset.  I believe that Kampala is already divided in terms of business opportunities, it already has business men like Patrick Bitatrure and Sudir who have defined the business world by running so many businesses in different fields. They have defined Kampala. However this is not the case in the West Nile there are many businesses that are yet to be established and I would like to be a part of that next wave. 

Aside from that I just wanted to connect with my roots. 

  • We saw on your social media handles as you documented this change as you closed your apartments in Kampala and urban Koboko, how was that change for you?

It was exciting and scary but needed to be done and I have now been living in the village for the last 4 weeks. The village is everything I thought it would be, it very quiet and peaceful. I get a lot of time to read and reflect. I finally got a TV after 4 years of living with no TV, so am really enjoying watching local TV, I feel like my TV connects me to the rest of the world. I have got a chance to get learn my history better. Overall this change was overdue. I have also got a lot time to listen to my podcasts.    

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  • We see you of late posting a lot under the hash tag Camp-Ludaville, what can you tell us about this?

One of my plans is set up a camping site in Koboko and we are in the process of making this reality, we hope to be open soon and are currently getting everything in place we hope to be open before the end of the year. With Camp Ludaville we also hope to expose the other beautiful tourism attractions in Koboko and the West Nile in general. This is going to be the first camp site in the West Nile and am very excited to be a part of this project. Looking forward to seeing how this will unfold.

We shall be opening our doors soon and will let the public know.   

  • Tell us about the Made in West Nile Tee-Shirt Line? 

The Made In West Nile brand is bigger than a merchandise brand, to me it’s a reflection of a state of mind showing where the West Nile is heading with this new millennial generation of West Nile youth. It is up to us the millennials and Gen Z generation to build a new modern identity for the West Nile to do that we have to build new and beautiful things from the West and export them to the world. MADE IN WEST NILE is just the start of a beautiful story in the making.

For now though we have started with the  Made In West Nile T-Shirts that are on sale at a very low price of 20,000 UGX and can be delivered anywhere in the world. We look at these t-shirts as a statement of pride for those coming from the West Nile.     

  • In December of 2018, we saw that you expanded your business portfolio by venturing into the Silent Disco business, what can you tell us about that venture?

 Well I got inspired to venture into the business after attending a few silent disco events myself in Kampala. I got the inspiration to replicate the experience in the West Nile, at the time of our first silent disco we were the first to pull of an event of that nature in Koboko. The brand name of the event is called the “West Nile Silent Disco” and we have been able to hold 6 editions so far. The idea was to bring this new technology in entertainment to the West Nile and we at West Nile Entertainment are committed to creating new experiences in this region. I have acquired some silent disco headphones that are open for hire for any readers out there if in need.

One of the challenges is that we had to introduce the people in Koboko to a relatively to a new entertainment concept that costed a lot more than what they are used to paying a ticket costed 30,000 Ugx per ticket at an upscale hotel out of town plus we also pushed for early bird ticket purchases and these were all new to the masses but the few that got the concept enjoyed our level of service delivery and look forward to future editions.

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  • You began 2019 by winning the award for “Northern Rapper of the Year” at the 3rd MTN Hip Hop Awards. Tell us about that experience.

Well I have been nominated in the previous awards in the past years in a number of categories but this was the first that I won at. I think moving back to Koboko played a big role in getting me that award because I have been able to make music that relates with my people who have in turn become fans and built for me a more loyal fan base than before and that’s how we won.  The West Nile radio stations have also played a big role getting my music played more frequently and this massive radio rotation has been a major factor in my growth and I will always be thankful to all the media personas and fans, it’s with their support that I won that award.   

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  • We saw a picture of you on social media with Gbaraspoken and Rappa BlueTit under the hashtag Coko_Coko_Clan, what is that about?

For that you will have to wait and see.      

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  • You have been questioned for taking too long to release new music, what is your thought process when putting out new music and is there any new music?

For me its quality over quantity, my focus is to make music that carries a long term message and will last for the taste of time. I have only put out so far 4 songs on West Nile radio which were Alemi, Akamine, Dear Listener, and Nyege Nyege Turn Up. Now look at what we have been able to do with only 4 songs now ask yourself what we are going to able to do when we reach song number  10.I guess time will tell. But I think it will be massive. As for the new music yes, there is new music on the way, I did a song with Pasha and Andy Music, the song is called “Number Alu”, it will be on radio soon. Also the music video to “Dear Listener” is ready we will be dropping it soon for now everyone should subscribe to my YouTube channel or visit www.kobokoboy.com.The music video to Nyege Nyege Turn Up featuring Kemishan is also ready and should be out soon. 

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