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The Legacy of Aggie Konde: Why NTV Uganda Will Hate and Love the Iron Lady

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Agnes Asiimwe Konde

By Our Reporter

Last week, Msingi East Africa Limited appointed Agnes Asiimwe Konde as its Chief Executive Officer. This to many came as no surprise considering that Konde was on her way out, something we reported about months back. The restructuring of Nation Media Group has already cut her name out, with the merger of operations at NMG. Now that Konde is out, many have wondered, what will be the legacy of Konde at NTV Uganda?

Konde’s tenure at NTV was one of mixed reactions. She was a lady who succeeded in keeping NTV afloat yet miserably failed to give it that quantum leap. It was during her tenure that NBS TV became a force to reckon in Uganda and almost claimed NTV Uganda’s top spot.

Whereas Konde kept NTV profitable, much more profitable than how she found it, it backtracked on its core elements, its core defining factor of great visual content. It became another television station and not the NTV that everyone knew as NTV. Perhaps it was a puzzle too hard for Konde to solve. She could have been lost for options. Given her sales and marketing background, she could have thought more in terms of the monetary numbers. What Konde lacked was the editorial background to stir the ship that was NTV Uganda.

At the time of her exit, Konde leaves behind an NTV that is lost in the jungle. No one really knows what NTV stands for. It is as though Konde found an Apple Inc and succeeded in converting it into a Samsung. Konde in many ways bore similarities with John Sculley, the Pepsi executive who was recruited by Steve Jobs in 1983 to be Apple’s CEO. By the time Sculley left Apple, it was in the bottom of the rung as regards innovation. Sculley brought a manufacturing mentality to Apple, and so did Konde to NTV.

Konde also left behind a very divided newsroom. It is during her tenure that NTV Uganda lost all its big names to competition. Even its top shows became a shadow of their former self. Fourth Estate’s light dimmed when contrasted with NBS TV’s Front Line. What had gone wrong?

There were also rumours of nepotistic tendencies that had infected the NTV Uganda newsroom with a big percentage of the newsroom being made up majorly by one region of the country. In fact many explain that Konde’s replacement in the interim has been brought in to try to clear that image that had been formed about NTV. The journalists and presenters at NTV were all up in arms about their reducing living standards. For example the station demanded that all its anchors take vehicle financing loans and live up to the billing despite their pockets and wallets being in disagreement.

There was also a new wage policy where people earned money per show produced and not a monthly salary. Many TV presenters at the station felt that this was taking away their dignity. It was a nasty affair every end of week as presenters and anchors lined up with their 50K and 40K vouchers for shows made.

Konde also outsourced most production. In the end, NTV became just another platform. As long as one had a show idea, good or bad fully produced and the financials made sense to NTV, Konde would endorse that show. At least 90 percent of the shows on NTV were not internally produced, many were contractual arrangements. This many thought was not a sustainable route as a media enterprise always needed to keep its core elements internal.

But there were also bigger ventures at which NTV burned its fingers. One of those was Spark TV. At first, many thought NTV was starting a Luganda TV show to compete with Bukedde. Instead, NTV brought a show to target female viewers. But which demographic exactly? It was never clear, were they targeting urban corporate ladies, or the local woman in Kampala? Spark TV till today is one idea that NTV should never have executed. According to sources, Konde felt like she needed to be remembered for something. Her ego took precedence over the market reality. Today Spark TV remains another dead weight that should be killed off sooner than later.

Despite all the negatives, Konde succeeded at what she does best, ensuring that an organisation keeps profitable no matter the times. Whereas other TV stations suffered during economic downturns, this was not to be heard of at NTV Uganda. Konde ran a very lean TV station, it had less expenses because of its outsourcing and partnerships model. It did not have to spend on getting good content, it liberalised this front and gave everyone a chance at the channel. Perhaps, this was the only model that could have kept NTV afloat.

But now that Konde is out, NTV may have to rethink this model. Is it sustainable? Is NTV comfortable being another TV station or its high time it comes an innovative channel, as regards great content? NTV Uganda was always about great content, it was its differentiator. Will the new MD bring back this fire? Will NTV rediscover its core values or it has strayed too far from returning?

All together, Konde will be remembered as the MD who we hated that we loved. We hated that we loved her, but we also loved that we hated her. She was an iron lady, she was a fighter, but she did not have that founder’s charisma, she did not have the spirit to burn bridges and really get inventive and innovative. The only times she did, it was on a very egoistic venture such as Talent XP and Spark TV. She tried to target the female audience with her shows such as the Ugandan Second Chance and Be My Date, but these still fell short. Although she brought in the money, she made NTV Uganda lose its monopoly. She will be remembered in great light but she will also suffer from negative criticism for all the losses in content positioning. Konde’s legacy will be one of a swinging pendulum bob from great profits to very mediocre content. All the same, we are glad she was at NTV and wish her the very best on her new path.

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Seanice Kacungira named among Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business

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Seanice KacungiraBy Our Reporter

Former radio personality Seanice “Lojede” Kacungira has been recognized by Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government and Titans: An award ceremony that took place at the Hilton Sandton, in Johannesburg – South Africa.

The awards are the leading African recognition programme honoring excellence in the private and public sector. The programme covers 23 economic sectors and has for the past nineteen years independently recognized those leaders who are at the pinnacle of their industry.

“Nominees undergo a rigorous multi-tiered judging process,” says Annelize Wepener, Chief Executive, of CEO Global. “The highest possible standard is maintained throughout the judging. Those individuals whom have been recognized as winners in their field can be assured that they have truly excelled.”

The SADC South leg of the recognition programme is the first part of CEO Global’s recognition programme that takes it around the continent to 8 regions. In each of these regions, country and regional winners are identified.

Seanice, who has set up what can be termed Africa’s first Indigenous female run Pan African Digital Agency with physical offices in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, Blu Flamingo Digital Africa, is also the Founder of the Digi-Con Academy, which has to date trained over 25,000 young men and women in all things digital.

“It feels surreal to be recognized, this means so much to me, but at my core I’m really just about the work and pursuing the highest level of excellence for myself and those I have the privilege to work with,” Seanice said about the award.

Seanice was awarded in the category of Business and Professional Services.

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Pastor Bugembe to use concert money to build 6,000-seater church

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By Staff writer

Pastor Wilson Bugembe today held a press conference at his Nansana based temporary church where he will also hold his upcoming concert ‘Tuzimbe’. His concert is slated for 31st August at his church in Nansana and will be accompanied by other artistes doing both gospel and secular music.

During the press conference the pastor revealed that all monies collected that day will be used to construct a well furnished church with sitting capacity of over 6,000 people. The said church is expected to be completed by January 2020.

Bugembe urged all his fans to flock his Light The World Ministries church and also not to politicize his concert by wearing attires with political colors especially the berets because he was warned by police not to allow politics to interfere in his concert or risk being stopped from performing.

Pastor Bugembe has over years domeyhits albums and singles like Kani, Ani, Yellow, Njagala Kumanya, Akawala Ako, Sibiwulira, Wanaza, Biribabitya, and Lengera Embaata among others.

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Kenyan DJ Pierre Makena coming to Uganda

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By Staff Writer

Kenyan Female DJ Makena will be coming to Uganda and particularly to Bbunga based nightlife spot Nomad bar and grill. The grill is slated for 7th September in a night themed “All ladies affair party”. DJ Pierre will be joined by DJ Lola from Uganda.

Event will be hoosted by NTV’s MC Esco, DJ Ace and DJ Kerb. The DJ Makena is also an actress and TV host and has served in the inaugural season of popular reality music show, Tusker Project Fame.

Determined to network with industry bigwigs, she poured herself into her duties and soon enough, climbed through the ranks becoming a camerawoman. The calls she so desperately longed for also started pouring in as the producers of TV drama series Tahidi High contacted her for a role.DJ Pierra Makena won best supporting actress for her role in When Love Comes Around at the annual Nollywood and African Film Critics awards held in Los Angeles.

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