Global Publishers — Tanzania’s Leading Publisher of Tabloid Newspapers


By Paul Ndiho
There are numerous media outlets in Tanzania, including dozens of daily and weekly newspapers. The government controls two daily newspapers, and the two main political parties own one each. But Global publishers, the publishers of the leading gossip, entertainment, sports and popular Culture newspapers, are literary giving the other publication on the street a run for their money. VOA’s Paul Ndiho has our story
Tanzania is said to have a vocal and relatively free press by the standards of the region, and even criticism of leaders is often tolerated. In a report published earlier this year by Freedom house, Tanzania was ranked as partly free. As a result, dozens of major daily publications, television stations, radio stations and numerous internet platforms are thriving. Eric James Shigongo owns Global Publishers.
“When we started this business back in 1998, we were just a group of young people who thought we should do what is missing in society. There were newspapers, but they were all mainstream newspapers, the political newspapers mainly, and we said “What more can we do?” We looked at the newspaper industry and we realized there was a gap, and the gap was actually tabloid newspapers.”
Eric James Shigongo is one of Tanzania’s most prominent entrepreneurs. Born in Mwanza, on the shores of Lake Victoria, he has a wide variety of ventures pursuits, including media, hotels, farming, real estate and property development. Shigongo’s story – from poverty to success, AS A celebrated African author, motivational speaker despite repeated hardships – is remarkable.
“We always tell people, that we are not in this business mainly to make money, we are in this business to change the community and help the community become a better community. So, in short, it is hard work.”
Mr. Shigongo has always turned adversity into triumph. Over the years, he has expanded his business holdings across much of the country, and he employees a hundreds of people. Eric’s publications dominate the streets. In fact, they out sell mainstream newspapers almost three to one. Benjamin Mwanambu is the head of marketing.
Salleh Ali, is one of the senior editors of “Championi” one of the best-selling sports newspapers.
“I want the Championi not only to compete, but to be the king of all the sports papers. Yes I mean the king! If people see Championi, they say this is the paper.”
Like all great entrepreneurs, Shigongo’s success was built on his canny ability to spot opportunities – and take risks. He also credits the help of many people along like one of his trusted friends and longtime colleague Abdullah Mrisho. Abdullah says what gives them and edge is the ability to showcase what’s trending and talk about issues that of concern to Tanzanians.
“We didn’t have that kind of paper which is specifically dealing with people, talking about people, writing about people, especially the young and celebrities.”
Mr. Mrisho also attributes the success of his tabloids to the team of talented young journalist who are deployed on the streets to capture what’s happening.
“Our number one qualification when it comes to selecting our journalists or group of people who want to be journalists at Global Publishers, our number one qualification is passion. That’s the number one. Do you like what you are doing? Do you think you can be a global journalist? Well, global journalist is somehow different from other journalist.”
Analyst say newspapers in Africa are still “king” and will continue to play significant role as the major source of news, gossip, entertainment, sports and popular culture despite declining advertising revenue. Critics say that although the constitution of Tanzania provides for freedom of speech, numerous other laws encourage self-censorship and limit the ability of the media to function effectively. The government reportedly continues to withhold advertising from critical newspapers and websites, especially those that favor the opposition.

Uganda Technology and Management University Students Competing In an APPS Challenge


By Paul Ndiho
Students at Uganda Technology and Management University in Kampala, Uganda are excited to participate in an apps competition. The talented app developers are devising homegrown solutions to problems in the east African nation.
UTAMU is a private university; fully accredited by Uganda’s National Council for higher education, to offer carefully designed and uniquely blended programs at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The tech university was created less than two years ago, but it’s already taking on other universities in the area of innovation. Professor Venansius Baryamureeba is the school’s vice-chancellor.UTAMU
“What we are trying to do as a university, is that we have said, that we don’t want to say that it’s only degree holders, or master’s holders or Ph.D. holders who can innovate. We’re now going to the schools; secondary schools to introduce to them the culture of innovation and student are doing wonders in I.C.T. They are innovating a lot of stuff.”
Until recently professor, Venansius Baryamureeba was the vice chancellor of Makerere University, Kampala’s oldest institution of higher learning. He is arguably one of the best information communication technology professors in the country. Professor Baryamureeba is credited with raising the standards and the quality of education in the area of ICT. Even his critics acknowledge that his achievements. Today his university, UTAMU has some of the best ICT professors in Uganda.
“We get the top professors, pay them about five thousand dollars a month, but in a year, they make that money back. We are bringing the top guys, because we do, recruit the best, pay them well and they make the money for us.”
To stay ahead of the competition, UTAMU has introduced a mobile app contest that’s open to all university students– and it’s generating a lot buzz on campus. The competition is geared towards giving the talented young students the opportunity to showcase their innovations and provide solutions for some of Uganda’s problems.
Akim Ali Ojok is the university guild president and an information and technology student. He’s developing an app called “Mobile Yakka” that allows people pay for their electricity bill through their phones.

“Anybody who uses a phone, as long as you are in a place where you have access to network signals, then you is able to communicate with their meter at home. As long as, if you have app downloaded on your phone.”
These students have created some interesting applications that could change the way Ugandans interact with their smartphones and tablets. Kenneth Twesigye is a second-year computer science student who is currently working on a social networking application called “Kapya ki” or “what’s new”– that is user friendly.
“The public is absolutely ignorant about what’s trending and what channels or media they can use to develop themselves. So I created an app that people can use to get all those updates. I said, that if I’m to reach every one, then i have to use every kind of phone, but for me to use any kind of phone then i cannot use internet because I’ll be targeting one class of people. So I discovered that i could use un-structured service data or U.S.S.D. this is the application that can always help you find messages using your local phones, any type of phone, big or small provided you are on any network.”
Another I.T. student Katumba Ivan Koreta has developed a cutting edge security application called secure-citizen. He says that he wants to live in a crime free society.
“We live in a world that is full of crime, a world that is harbored by gangsters, a world that is harbored by people from different walks of life, a world that is full of people who have no heart. With me, I bring an application where citizens are entitled to feel secure and safe in their daily lives.”
John Ngubiri, dean of the schools of computing and engineering department, says the university is making a deliberate attempt to expose and encourage students to become critical thinkers. They’re challenged to think outside of the box, identify problems in their communities and develop their own solutions.
“We work on making sure that we excite the student to learn not just getting the information from the lecturer – therefore our students are always challenged with a lot of projects, a lot of personal study and they are highly evaluated and in the process they are challenged to learn more about what they have been taught.”
Education analysts say that UTAMU has the potential train and produce some of the most highly sought after students in the area of i.c.t and that the institution will have a major impact the continent.

Malawian student Mixon Faluweki wins GIST 2014 Competition


By Paul Ndiho

Humility is what describes 24-year old Mixon Faluweki, a student at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College — pursuing a degree in education science, majoring in physics.
He is part of a new breed of young African innovators trying to charge Africa’s image. I recently met with him on his own tough in Zomba Malawi.7604_10152769470392270_3245926538147346105_n
I’m here at Chancellor College, Malawi University. Where, I have just met Mixon Faluweki, an incredibly talented young man, and the inventor of “Padoka charger.”
On campus he’s just regular student, in fact, very few students know about his innovation that is creating a buzz on the international scene. Mixon Faluweki was earlier this year crowned as the winner of the GIST 2014 Competition — or global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) finals in Marrakech Morocco.
“Padoka charger” is an innovation, which enables people living in rural areas of Malawi and the other neighboring countries to the use the bicycle, which use for transport, to also use it for charging their mobile phones, and powering other devices such as a radio and also a torch.
Faluweki is part of talented group of students that has been tasked to find home grown solutions to some of the problems Malawians are facing. He says thinking out of the box is what is drove him to be creative.

“i had to think of a project that I would come with and that project should solve problems faced by Malawians. In my mind, i just came up with the issue of a charger that could be used for charging mobile phones but that charger should not use electricity that many people in Malawi do not have access too. So that’s when i decided to come up with the “Padoka” charger.”
Among his peers, he’s well respected and he’s become an inspiration to many of them. He explained how his innovation works.
“When one is riding the bicycle, as the wheel rotates, it also rotates the wheel for the dynamo, the generator. And then the power generated by this generator, goes to the system/charger and then the charger converts that power into useable power for charging the mobile phone. So it is regulated, so that the power going into the charge is optimal for charging the mobile phone.”
In places like zomba, Malawi, where very few have access to electricity or solar power, inventing a low cost battery or phone charger, mounted on a bicycle that people can use to charge their phones has been a long time coming. Most people have access to a mobile phone, but they don’t have any electricity outlets to charge their phones.
Despite some challenges, the young entrepreneur is focused on perfecting his innovation.
The event’s organizer, the American association for the advancement of science says Mixon faluweki’s innovation was selected alongside other 65 innovations from a total of 502 worldwide.
However, Faluweki is yet to earn any money from his innovation, but he hopes to use this platform to network and look for potential investors.
Tech analysts in Africa say Mixon faluweki’s achievement, is great, but it will take him years to release the product on the market. But, they say his product has the potential to change the image of Malawi.

UGANDAN WOMEN INCORPORATING MODERN DESIGNS INTO TRADITIONAL BASKET WEAVING


By Paul Ndiho

In western Uganda, more than 200 women dubbed the Rubona basket weavers association are using naturally dyed raffia to make baskets of all shapes and sizes. The baskets are then sold to international markets.
Baskets have long been part of Ugandan culture and many women here still use the traditional ones known as “Ekibo ‘ to carry various goods. Here at the Rubona basket weaver’s association, an outlet on the outskirts of Fort Portal, Uganda — Women are trained and dedicated to weaving basket “masterpieces.” They use naturally dyed raffia to make their products. Kallen kengazi, sales manager at the Rubona basket weavers association explains the process.Robona Baskets
“This is plant is called Rubia and out of this plant we get maroon, yellow, and brown. We use the tubers from this plant to make certain colors.
About 200 women work here — they produce and sell about 500 hundred baskets each month. This is a very successful project that is self-sustaining and contributes to the economic independence of local women in the region. These women have developed a way of incorporating modern designs into traditional basket weaving and still sell their work at reasonable prices.
“The women who make these baskets work in their fields or gardens and when they are free, they work on their baskets.
To make a quality basket, the weavers select different plants and then extract their leaves or roots. These are then dyed and dried.
The weaver brings out unique colored patterns as the basket shapes up from the center. A 12-inch diameter basket takes about a week to complete. The baskets are used for storage or put up as wall hangings.
Kellen says it took years of research and experiments until a wide range of colors were obtained from local plants. The most recent additions to the color palette are blue from the indigo plant, and black from the bark of the wattle tree. Kenganzi, explains the different types of baskets and what they are used for…
The project is owned and run by the local women. The income goes directly to the local women to meet their basic needs. Once the handicrafts are finished, they are carefully packed for shipping.
Baskets in Uganda were traditionally used to store food, as decorations during weddings and even to ferry secrets from one woman to another. Through the Rubona basket weavers association, these women can earn a living but the effectiveness of the group will only be determined once they leave and put the skills they have learned here to the test, by running their own businesses.

Uganda to Manufacture Cars by 2018


By Paul Ndiho

Engineers at Uganda’s kiira motors corporation recently unveiled a prototype of its sedan hybrid electric vehicle dubbed the Kiira EV Smack. The car manufacturer is slated to start commercial production of the kiira brand vehicles and passenger buses by 2018.
People are likely to ask, “What kind of car is that?” And the answer is… It’s the Kiira EV smack -, an improved version of the Kiira EV car, that was first unveiled in 2011. For those who dare to be bold, the Kiira EV Smack has a striking design – one that commands attention. Kiira Motors Corporation recently gave the Voice of America, exclusive, behind the scenes access. So let’s get inside for a test drive!Kira Motors Uganda test drive
It drives and feels like any regular sedan on the market. And for those who had any doubts, it’s time to let everyone know, this sedan has arrived.
Kiira motors are a Ugandan government project, under the presidential initiative for science and technology innovations programs. The project is aimed at establishing a framework for commercial production of Ugandan made cars. Dr. Sandy Stevens Tickodri – Togboa is the executive director of the kiira EV project.
“We are now targeting the third quarter of 2018, when we think that we will begin to roll out say about 300 of these cars off the assembly line. But we are creating a capacity of about 850 per year.”
The five-seat sedan is powered by a rechargeable battery and it also has an internal combustion engine-based generator, which charges the battery.
“All these were installed here manually. We don’t have any automation at all. And these are the young people you see here who were involved in this project. The genesis of this project really goes back to the very first car that we made the Kiira EV proof of concept.
Paul Isaac Musasizi, chief innovation and technology officer of kiira motors says that kiira EV Smack has impressive power, and is designed to thrill.
“The kiira smack platform comes with three power train options. The conventional ice power train, the full electrical power train and the hybrid electric vehicle power train, which is what the concept actually is…!
Once in mass production, kiira EV Smack will be available in three packaging options, the two doors, the four doors or full size sedan– and the five door hatchback. This car was recently displayed at a public exhibition in Nairobi, Kenya. Akovuku Albert, is the chief operating officer.

“We are members of the East Africa community, and this project that we did needed to be recognized within the region. We also needed to seek partnerships, and working with other.”
The kiira EV Smack is sleek, with a leather interior and smooth transition lines across the vehicle. This creative team at kiira motors has capacity, the drive, and the passion to make this dream a reality. Doreen Orishaba is one of the engineers.
“It is very exciting to be part of a team that is going to transform Uganda because if you look at the automotive section, it’s not just about the cars themselves, but it’s going to develop the other sectors.”
Analysts say Uganda is trying to position itself as a rising force in the region, by producing the first hybrid vehicle in East Africa. Meanwhile, kiira motors already has its sights set on expanding the brand to include 32 solar-powered Kayola passenger buses.
Industry analysts say Kampala’s fast growing population and rapid urban development has meant more cars on the road– and having locally manufactured passenger buses could ease the crush of people using public transportation.

Ugandan President Appeals to Tourists to visit Uganda


By Paul Ndiho
Uganda is positioning itself as a tourist destination and organizations like the Africa Travel Association (ATA) are working hard to spread the word about places to visit in Uganda. Last month more than 600 delegates from all over the world gathered into the Ugandan capital, Kampala, for this year’s Africa Travel Association’s world congress.
The Ugandan government says tourism is now contributing close to 8% to the country’s GDP. The tourism industry has been growing steadily over the last couple years and more than a million tourists visit Uganda each year. The industry employs close to 600.000 employees and public records indicate the government earned about 1.4 billion dollars from tourism.
Speaking recently at the Africa Travel Association congress in Kampala, Ugandan president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni pledged his full support for tourism and the assured the international community that east Africa is a safe destination. ATA VIDEO MUSEVENI INTERVIEWS
“Peace is there in the core part of Africa where tourist’s circuits are most developed. We are also dealing with the easy of travel for example here in E. Africa we created a one visa for a number of countries… Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda where we said, please get one VISA and visit all the others countries.”
Edward Bergman, Africa Travel Association’s executive director, says the goal of the 39th congress was not only to promote tourism, but also to recognize the major contributions Uganda plays in maintaining peace and security in Africa.
“We have a lot of work to do with changing perceptions while also not being naïve to the dangers of Terrorism has in the world and the direct impact on tourism. As an industry we are united and we do not let the fears of terrorism or fears related to that stifle our passion for tourism.”
Uganda’s Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, noted that among other things, the government is promoting the country’s ten national parks, where visitors can view wild animals in their natural habitat.

“What we have here is almost everywhere, the animals are the same, the lions, elephants and all that but when you come here you find those elephants in their natural habitat and that is unique. And we have tried as much as possible to maintain that…
Amos Wakesa, a tourism guru and owner of several resorts and lodges, says Uganda has the potential to lead in tourism.
“Ugandan’s tourism is just growing. We haven’t even tapped even 5% of the tourism potential that we have. In terms of earnings Uganda last year earned 1.4 billion dollars from tourism without a lot of investment and we are hoping that tourism can bring in about 5-6 billion.
Despite the growth of the tourism in Uganda, the industry is facing a lot challenges, according to Herbart Byaruhanga, president of Uganda Tourists Association.
“The challenges of the sector are really beyond us, they are quite international. When a disease breaks out people cancel. And when they cancel, we can’t do business. We also have the international negative advisories they’ve become a very big challenge for the country.”
Other challenges include, Africans not traveling as tourists but as business travelers. Ikechi Uko, a Nigerian travel business consultant says for Africa’s tourism industry to realize its full potential, Africans need to start to travel within Africa.
“We need to have more Africans traveling within Africa and discover Africa and I’ll give you an example – When Nigerians started travelling to Ghana – They started investing in Ghana and some of the big investments in Ghana today come from Nigeria and the same thing can happy on the continent.”
Tourism analysts say hard to find activities, such as gorilla tracking, add to Uganda’s appeal. Visitors on safari can also enjoy cultural tours, game drives, boat rides, and hiking, as the country prides itself as having the best lands for exploring the real beauty of Africa.

Zambian Gay Rights Activists Appeal to Government


By Paul Ndiho
Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia; it’s a situation that has drawn increasing criticism from many western nations. Local activists say that the rights of homosexuals and other marginalized groups should be protected and are calling on the government to be tolerant towards people with different sexual orientation.Zambia Clips Cam 1-1
Homosexuality is taboo in many African countries. It is illegal in 37 nations on the continent and activists say few Africans are openly gay, fearing imprisonment, violence and to some extent losing their jobs. However, gay rights activists are beginning to speak out about the treatment of homosexuals, and other marginalized groups.
Zambia’s tough anti-homosexuality laws date back to the British colonial era and public opinion remains strongly against gays and lesbians. Jane Kulaba, is a renowned human rights activist and runs the Dette Resources Foundation, a Christian nongovernmental organization. She says that the government says that any discussion concerning gays or homosexuals is considered promoting immorality in the nation.

“Since we’re Christians, let’s us tolerate one another. It’s my appeal that we should me
At certain point, and let us allow for dialogue and call for dialogue certain dialogue to discuss these things and just create that relationship with the public.”
Ms. Kulaba’s organization is trying to engage the government, churches and other
Human rights organizations in shaping the paradigm shift on how society views the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community. Some churches are beginning to open up and to speak publicly about the rights of gays.
Reverend Patson Kabala of Presbyterian Church of South Africa says that people who feel oriented towards people of the same sex should be embraced.
“My question is, do they use their humanity? The answer is no. They are human beings and they also need to be protected. In my view, they need to be embraced. They need to be given space in society”
Reverend Tellas Shumba, reformed church of Zambia shares the same sentiment. He says discrimination against the LGBTI community is widespread and remains rampant across much of the continent.
“People have been closed up because we have been too judgmental. As Christians, our mandate is to preach and to share the word of god to people regardless of what status they fall in.”
Zambian gay rights activist, David Musonda, says the government needs to create an atmosphere where the LGBT community, government, church leaders and civil society can meet and have a dialogue to forge a way forward.
“So to all the people out there, when you see a person who is gay, or who is a lesbian, who is intersex, let us not rush to killing them. They are a child to somebody; they are a father to somebody. Let us just look for remedies. What is the best remedy? If we have an understanding with them, let us strike that balance because then we will have actually gone and bow our head. The world is after all one world that all of us have to live in.”
In 2013, a Zambian gay couple, Philip Mubiana and James Mwape, were living together in Kapiri Mposhi, before they were arrested, after the authorities were tipped-off by the relatives of one of the men. They were later detained, tried and acquitted on charges of having consensual gay sex after magistrates said the state failed to provide sufficient evidence of the crime.
The subject of gay rights is almost always greeted with disapproval and many believe homosexuality goes against the religious values of the country – at this workshop organized by Panos Institute, an organization that empowers communities to shape their own agendas has brought together community leaders, civil society groups and gay rights activists to debate the issue.
“So we know that we are treading on a sensitive ground, but we also acknowledge that
Homosexuality exists in Zambia and the fact that it is underground and hidden, it creates other complications in other aspects of life.”
In Zambia a conviction for sodomy carries a 14-year prison sentence. Other African countries are struggling with anti-homosexuality laws that date back to the British colonial era. A Ugandan constitutional court recently annulled tough anti-gay legislation signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni.
Voice of America reached out to Zambian government officials for comment on their anti-gay laws but they declined.