The Party was only held in Uganda, to its despair

It was the time for Uganda to be in the lime light in the world, to feature on global wires and Papers.  It was a time to consolidate the Pearl of Africa’s international image, to pull down the face of Amin and the ghosts that remain of him and put up Museveni’s face- a ‘liberator’ who picked up the country and ‘put it back on truck.’ 

Indeed over 700 journalists descended on Kampala to perhaps bump into this cause. If each journalist could reach at least 1million people even when repeated, 700 million people would know Uganda for Chogm and the praises that came with it- at least for its leaders. 

But to its despair, the media did not –to the occasion’s hype- make good Uganda’s cause.  Or was the meeting dull? The international media reported proceedings, from the arrival of the queen, to the opening and closing ceremonies.

With media reporting that climate change took a soft turn at the Club Summit, perhaps it’s the CMAG announcement that Pervaiz Musharaf’s Pakistan was suspended from Commonwealth, that gave hacks something to write home about- but this was not about Uganda at all. 

For most of the local Press, to their own folly, was marvelled at the locally rare media operations and international colleagues whom they read over the internet or watch on T.V.  And could this be why they missed the real stories, and settled for headlines such as- “Inside the Queen’s Shs4m room” and “The Queen rejected State House food.”  Where they also too busy to work and settled for By-lines such as- “XXX and the Agencies.”   

The Ugandan government wanted the local press to put out stories on investment opportunities that the country has, and cover the Royal family with at most accuracy and of course spare the skeletons in governance for the time the party went on.                                                                                        

But the real stories were missed. Save for The EastAfrican which reported on a spared Museveni-person as the Summit kept busy with Pakistan and Climate Change (not because I work for it). 

Did anyone go down-town, in the thick of strokes of the baton, where a handful of demonstrators struggled to have their voices heard?  I know they did, but that picture was not seen in various reports.  Masses in Uganda like other developing countries would have loved to hear more talk on the real development factors needed to pace up development.  International trade, immigration policy, health, good governance, and the list continues.  But where ever these featured, it was flat rhetoric. 

Perhaps the party is only held in Africa, but some times is not really for Africa  

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One Response to “The Party was only held in Uganda, to its despair”

  1. ARIAKA Says:

    Good writing David and very good observation. CHOGM was not really about us. Even Macnon parred away an obstructive question on third term, reminding the journalist that there many more amendments in the third term constitutional changes.

    He could not consternance the embarrasment that the host would endure from the question and yet the commonwealth is supposed to be about good governance, democracy etal. This contrastin sharply to earlier suspension of Zimbabwe and the eminent suspension of Pakistan.

    The local press especially the tabloids have been full throbble. Bearing the inadequacies of the coverage of CHOGM and dealos gone bad for luck of payments.

    That UBC failed to telecast the Queen’s speech to the world, that most network did not relay critical events, that the media centre; despite its glitzy machines could not…, that the media centre was hosted in an unfinished hotel with gaping holes in the ceiling; dripping water on gadgetry, that…. proceed to the end.

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