I was left awe when I read in the Observer a Ugandan paper known to be critical of the sitting government when Hon. Ssemujju Nganda confessed that the Ugandan UK Convention is the most highly attended and best organised Diaspora event he has ever attended.
For over 5 month the Ugandan media, especially those sympathetic to the opposition, have conducted a systematic campaign of character assassination aimed at Mr. Willy Mutenza, the convention’s founder and organizer and discrediting the convention.
The day came when everyone thought the forum would be attended by only a handful of people. However, everyone was amazed by the quality of delegates flocking the venue from all over the world. The forum had volunteers who paid their expenses from Uganda to be part of this incredible event.
The private businessmen in the audience included Herman Kasekedde MD Standard Chartered bank, Patrick Bitature, Mr. Joseph Akol, to mention a few.
The Government delegation was led by the Vice President Edward Ssekandi and included Energy minister Irene Muloni and junior ministers Sam Engola (Housing), Barbra Nekesa (Karamoja), Ruth Nankabirwa (Fisheries) and Christine Aporu (Teso).
The presentation that generated the most applaud was by Patrick Bitature of Simba Telecom and chairman of the board of the Uganda Investment Authority, who proved that he is not only successful but knows how to sell Uganda and all the country has to offer.
From the House of Lords, there was Lord Sheikh who, during his strong speech urged the Uganda government and Ugandans to support Mr. Mutenza’s efforts of selling Uganda as he has been doing it single-handedly. “Mutenza needs all the support of Ugandans,” he said.
Due to the success of the 2nd Convention, and the impact the 1st Lady managed to achieve at that event, Hon. Nekesa was well suited to be on the panel to stress the point of opportunities and the need for investment in the Karamoja region.
Hon. Muloni not only attracts set out to investors but she was an eloquent speaker and she managed to sell the energy sector with great conviction.
I must commend Hon. Ssemujju for his article in the Observer because it was balanced though he should note that any effort that markets Uganda should be supported holistically.
Nganda misquoted Mutenza’s speech that “To invest in Uganda, you either meet the president and his wife, as Mutenza suggested” In Mutenza’s speech he was not implying that meeting the President or the First Lady were the only ways to do business in the country; In fact, he was stressing and emphasizing a success story of when he took investors to meet the 1st Lady as a follow-up visit as a direct result of the previous convention because it was the First Lady’s speech at the 2nd convention which had convinced those investors. I can’t see anything wrong with emphasizing a point of fact.
Mutenza with his organizing team had a Sierra Leone, a Tanzanian and Kenyan. they proved that actually he is garnering support from a broad Diaspora community, which includes but is not exclusively Ugandan.
In fact, it could be said that he is doing a great deal for intra-African trade and relations.
As the Sierra Leonean on Mr. Mutenza’s team said: “we can all learn from each other because, what impact one country and its Diaspora, is replicated in the challenges and opportunities for other countries and their Diasporas.”
Well done Mr. Mutenza for your resilience and proving a point to the haters of Uganda that you are beyond small anti-campaigns and partisanship and that you have the interest of Uganda as a whole at heart. Bravo to you!
Ugandan in the Diaspora