Daniel Kalinaki's weblog

A commentary on news and events in Uganda and elsewhere


Just an ordinary bloke.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Commerce vs Independence

SECOND FLOOR - My new best friends at the Uganda Revenue Authority held a press conference on Tuesday to give more details about how some of their officials have been conniving with license plate makers to issue 'fake' or duplicate plates.

Having gotten that out of the way, they turned to the Transparency International survey which ranked them as the most corrupt tax body in the region and said the survey was, ahem, fake.

URA bosses said that because 60 per cent of the sample was made up of people from rural areas -- and who do not "interface" with URA, it could not be representative or accurate. First of all, that is wrong' opinion polls try as much as possible to mirror the national demographics and majority of Ugandans live in rural areas.

Secondly, notice that the focus has shifted away from evil Monitor which reported the survey, to the survey itself. No word yet on the advertising ban and the Commissioner General is reportedly too busy to take calls. Should we run the story of the advertising ban now or give diplomacy a chance?

Meanwhile, I learnt something interesting today; at least two of the top PR honchos at URA, the same people talking into Kagina's ears, are former New Vision (our competition) reporters/sub-editors.

Go figure!


Blogger wesonga said...

Give diplomacy a chance.

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) tantrum is like a wife who refuses to cook for her husband. Just to prove her usefulness, by ‘starving’ him.

She overlooks the fact he used to eat before happenstance brought her into his life. And that now they are need each other even more, because Jesus Christ’s dad considers them one. Starving him affects her, too.

A vengeful husband can give her a ‘blackout’, and even boycott her dishes regardless of the aroma that waffles from her kitchen.

Like a woman who leaves her hubby for her parents is soon sent back by her parents; The Ismaili and Boss can chat on phone, make a few phone-calls to Nakawa and soon URA administrators will say: ‘We want to book advertising space in Monitor. But next time Monitor should speak to us to about stories on URA.’

The truth, however, will be that they also got bored seeing their ads only in the mainly government-owned paper. Once you have been exposed to variety, you will miss it after you foolishly let go.

If you think I am exaggerating, ask socialite Sylvia Owori what she thought of the one week-siege of Monitor Publications premises in 2002. For that one week, central government vandals ensured that the paper does not make it to the streets because, like in URA’s case, Monitor had offended moneybags.

Owori said – after the goons retired to freshen up and compensate for lost sleep – that she felt she was missing something then that she had been deprived of an alternative to The New Vision.

In the not so distant future, URA minions will – the way some dog wags its tail - meet the advertising folks over bottles of mineral water, and book space.

And they will laugh about it the same way some Kenyan women who had imposed a week-long sex ban on their partners did. They lifted the ban when they realized they were punishing themselves just as well.

But Monitor Publications Ltd should also, seriously, diversify its sources of income. People die every day. And friends and relatives must be informed.
Granted, few readers buy the Monitor – I understand about 14, 000 persons now. Audit Bureau of Circulations has not told me anything so I will believe the rumour about 14, 000 readers. And even fewer readers spend much time on the obituaries sections. Buy why?

How does Central Broadcasting Service (CBS) manage? Surely, there must be people who listen to their death announcements; otherwise others would not waste money to place theirs.

And the East African Media Institute (1998) says about 11 others access the paper bought by one individual.

If four of such individuals can be coaxed into buying space to eulogise their departed loved ones, Monitor can wean itself from institutions with URA’s mentality. The death announcements Daily Monitor runs are few to make a significant impact.

Many people thought that Nation Media Group/ Aga Khan's controlling shares in Monitor Publications Ltd would translate into quality print – this is what they appreciate about the Daily and Sunday Nation. Of course, the serious stories are the other likeable bit. And proofread copy, too. But before people read copy, the must see it.

Just like a thug is ‘pulled’ by a lady’s looks, quality paper, design, and print will – and you can bank that at Barclays – attract the passerby. He or she may not buy the paper, but they will talk about it.

Unfortunately, the sons of Mumbi are more interested in how much they make from Monitor Publications Ltd. As long as the Ugandan branch managers can bring in more ad revenues and ensure that sales rise, ‘finished’. That can explain your answer to East Africa Press (ET) about you speaking to ET at length after June 2009.

NMG is not ready to plough something into state-of-the-art printer at Namuwongo. Or is one in the pipeline?

To sum up, Monitor Publications Ltd should ignore URA. URA was unsophisticated. Do not throw back stones at madmen.

6:29 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home