Baz Waiswa

Baz Waiswa

Ambitious Kwese TV Ready To Compete, Promote Local Content

Pay Television services provider, Kwese TV, has said they have made the right investment to ‘stand the test of time’ as they look at conquering the television broadcasting spectrum on the African continent.

Herbert Mucunguzi, the General Manager of Kwese TV Uganda said they have carried out research ‘to understand the market’ and will be keen on creating local content for their dynamic viewers.

This content will also be accessed on mobile phone Apps and their website. Kwese Tv has two mobile apps – Kwese TV and Kwese Free Sports – all accessed on Android and iOS operating systems.

Mucunguzi, who was speaking on Tuesday morning in Kampala at the launch Kwese TV at Kabira Country Club, said they have launched an industry first payment model which will give Ugandan consumers the choice to purchase pay as you watch subscription packages. The lowest being Shs17, 000 for three days.

Kwese TV is owned by Econet Group founded by businessman Strive Musiyiwa. It brings to Uganda new exclusive channels like DreamWorkds, DTX, Viceland and Revolt. The Kwese TV platform will also host Uganda television channels.

Kwese TV made an entry into Ugandan market December last year when they launched their free to air sports channel – Kwese Free Sports. It is a dynamic satellite TV service provider bringing ‘premium sports and entertainment content to the market’.

“We have done our research. We will keep understanding the market and add channels that address your needs,” Mucunguzi told the media at the launch. He added: “I see Kwese producing professionals in the next coming years especially on the side of production. We want to create local content.

“African viewers have become increasingly more discerning and we cater to these diverse viewing appetites not only thourgh premium content but also by means of a multi-platform broadcast offering which includes traditional TV, Mobile Apps and digitall viewership options.”

Visit Kwese website HERE

Government To Spend Shs25bn On Minerals Lab

The Ministry Of Energy And Mineral Development is expediting a directive from President Yoweri Museveni requiring that they equip the mineral subsector with a modern laboratory to test, qualify mineral presence and determine its quality.

Speaking at the Ministry Of Energy And Mineral Development Joint Sector Review meeting at Speke Resort Munyonyo on Thursday, the minister Irene Muloni said they are progressing well. She revealed that they have repaired some of the old equipment and they are functional.

“We need the state of the art laboratory to be able to test the sample mineral that we pick from those areas. We need to assess the quality of those minerals, the percentage of this mineral contained in the ore so that further development can be carried out.

The laboratory that we currently have in Entebbe has some equipment which we have repaired. The ministry of finance allocated us Shs1bn to have the equipment repaired but in a period of three years, we should be able to have an ultra-modern laboratory."

The permanent secretary Robert Kasande said that for the midterm, they have budgeted Shs25bn to have the laboratory at its best. The lack of the lab has been a hitch for the mining sector as mining investors had to take mineral samples out of the country to do necessary testing.

No with own laboratory, Muloni said this will give them some sort of independence. Uganda has over 50 different minerals including rare earth minerals that the government and private sector have shown interest to explore and produce.

The other two president’s directives concerning the miing subsector are to register artisanal miners and build capacity of small scale miners and to ensure that commercially exploited minerals are declared for export through formal channels.

Indeed the ministry has moved to act on artisanal miners. Recently the ministry evicted miners from the Mubende Gold Mines leaving over 60000 gold miners stranded. The Minister speaking at Joint Sector Review said they are going to other mining camps to sensitize them and help them formalize their operations.

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Energy Development: Envoy Calls For Women Land Ownership Rights Protection

While government of Uganda and other stakeholders strive to develop every aspect of the energy sector, the importance of women as modern heads of homes and caretakers of children must be highlighted and their rights, including owning of land, protected, Norwegian ambassador to Uganda, H.E Susan Eckey, said at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Joint Sector Review.

The ambassador was making a statement on behalf of development partners at Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo wherethe Joint Sector Review meeting took place. She said that Uganda is facing many challenge as the country audaciously moves to exploit her natural resources.

Challenges like a high growing population and issues of compensation of land as country tries to develop the required infrastructures are prominent. She encouraged government to solve these and other challenges. It is here in her speech that she said rights of women and children regarding owning of land should be protected.

“The development of energy sector should along the way improve the lives of women in terms of owning land rights, security, financial stability, skills development and in other aspects.

Government and other stakeholders should highlight the importance of women as heads of homes and caretakers of children.” AmbEckey said at a press conference on the Joint Sector Review meeting.

Ownership of land in Uganda is predominately a male affair. This is majorly brought about by cultural norm which prohibits women from inheritating their parents land. Women also have less access to well-paying job to enable buy their own land. This leaves them at the mercy of their fathers, brothers and husbands.

In her quest to exploit its oil and gas, minerals and several sources of energy, government needs land. This land it must acquire from citizens. When government compensates land owners, women and children are sidelined by the greedy husbands, brothers and fathers.

Uganda recently acquired land to develop a refinery in Hoima, western Uganda but many women didn’t benefit from this compensation. Many were left homeless as husbands drunk all the money, married other wives or blatantly ran away with the money.

Also, Uganda will soon construct a crude export pipeline to Tanzania port of Tangaand products pipeline to Rwanda plus other related infrastructures like an airport. These and other infrastructure will require government and investors to acquire and compensate land owners.

The ministry of energy and ministry development annually organizes the Joint Sector Review. The ministry’s permannt secretary Robert Kasande said the Joint Sector Review is organized to account to stakeholders on how government used resources in the previuis year and obtain feedback on strategies to get the best of natural resources.

The theme for this year’s theme was ‘Energy and Mineral Resources for Employment Creation, Value Addition, Industrialization and Local Content Development.” A Sector performance report for the year 2016 – 2017 highlights was also launched. It highlights some of the achievement and plans the ministry has for power, mining and oil and gas.

More Artisanal Miners Across The Country To Be Evicted

There is a big chance that hundreds of artisanal miners across the country will be evicted from their respective mining camps by government if they don’t formalize their operations by creating associations or working groups.

The minster for energy and mineral development, Irene Muloni, said at the ministry’s Joint Sector Review meeting being at Speke Resort Munyonyo that they won’t work with miners who are illegal and disorganized.

On 4th August, 2017, government deployed Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) and Police officers who evicted gold miners in Mubende. This time the ministry is engaging miners in Namayingo, Buhweju, Karamoja and other places.

Going by examples of places named, it looks like gold miners are targeted.

“You recognize that minerals are a wealth in this country. It belongs to all of us. We want to tap into these minerals and generate revenue for the country and improve our lives,” the minister said.

“We want to mine these minerals and add value. Gold occurs widely in this country. We want our ordinary Ugandans to participate in mining in a way that is legal so that we can track gold produced and how much revenue we can get,”

“These miners are not licensed and are using crude methods including using mercury and cyanide. They dig pits without caring about their lives. We are going to sensitize them about safety methods of mining that are not harmful to them and environment,”

The minister who spoke at this year’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Joint Sector Review welcomed artisanal miners and small-scale miners to organize themselves so that they are given location license.

The minister revealed that the investor manning the Mubende gold mines offered 10sqkms to artisanal miners. The land is going to be demarcated and allocated to three miners associations out of the five who were formed during the time they were being told to vacate and relocate.

Muloni said evicting Mubende miners was necessary because of the dangers these miners had exposed themselves to. “We also had foreigners mining Ugandan resources,” she said. At least 172 foreigners, according to the minister, were operating in Mubende.

One of the issues that come up during engagements between government and artisanal miners is miners lack money to invest in technology required. However the minister said they will try to build their capacities once they form association.

Uganda is home to over 50 minerals however only eight percent of the country has been surveyed. The other twenty percent, which is largely the Karamoja region, was not surveyed because of security reasons.

The private sector during the recently held Mineral Wealth Conference organized by Uganda Chamber of Miners and Petroleum asked the finance minister Matia Kasaija to avail USD20m so that Karamoja is surveyed.

Kasaija asked them to put their request in writing so that it can be considered in the subsequent budgets.

Every year, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and industry stakeholders meet to review and assess the ministry’s overall performance and progress of planned undertakings in the previous financial year.

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