Archive for November, 2011


A shocking $750 million later the Uganda Airforce has now acquired 8 sukhoi-30 jet fighters from Russia. The multiple role, all weather jets, also known as the Flanker C, by NATO, Will provide the air force with air to air, and air to ground deep interdiction capabilities. It is currently in service with the Russian, Chinese, Indonesian and Venezuelan Air forces.

In one swoop the air force has leapt to the front of the regional queue as the most likely to be able to shock and awe the ‘enemy’. But it’s the price of this capability that has shocked the public. Considering that the state of the economy is not that good, health care is a mess and education is going to the dogs. Each plane is an estimated $35-45 million, plus spares and maintenance and the picture gets bigger and bigger.

The government initially denied they were buying the jets, then they said they needed them to defend the county from unidentified foes (cynics amongst us wonder how jets are used to protect oil fields from people on the ground).

Then the story got murkier: the president announced that they had been bought on the premise that they would be paid for with money from the capital gains taxes that the oil companies will pay……..the case is in arbitration as we speak (counting eggs before they hatch?) However the ministry of energy says that the capital gains tax was promised to them to build a dam at Karuma Falls. Hmmm, now how will the money withdrawn from the Bank of Uganda’s foreign exchange reserves, without parliamentary approval, to complete the purchase be replaced?

There have been mishaps reported in the press over the last few weeks involving the jet fighters. One was hilariously funny: Entebbe is a gazetted bird sanctuary area and a bird watchers dream, now that requires the airport to employ a bird control officer to keep them away from aircraft during take off and landing. The story goes that he signalled the air force that the coast was clear and take off of jets could commence. As nature would have it, birds popped up suddenly and without warning and got sucked into one of the jet fighter engines. The air force was livid and they demanded the arrest of the bird control officer! Honestly!


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It’s finally here, Uganda’s very own national identity card. And it has been a long time time coming, so we can only breathe a sigh of relief that it’s not too soon. It is an idea that is a national necessity considering the security and legal implications that an ID card presents or solves!

One may wonder what Ugandans have used in the mean time. Well one used their high school ID, university or college ID and one issued by your employer. if you did not fit any of the categories above one simply marched into town got a generic ID and wrote down what ever you wanted and got the local council to endorse it! Madness? absolutely!

In fact in Uganda today the whole economic and legal system relies on the local councillors in your home area to verify who you say you are.

That said, people change the order of their names or replace them entirely. The name on one’s driving licence is not necessarilly the same in your passport or work ID. This is obviously a legal nightmare and one that fraudsters would exploit to the full and they have. The banks finally got together a few years ago and established a credit reference bureau that had a biometric card linked to it. This greatly reduced the phenomenon of one person borrowing money from 4 different banks using 4 different names!

But it needs to be remembered that the national ID card does not exist in isolation, it needs to be securely linked to birth certificates, passports, voting cards, marriage certificates and the inevitable death certificate. All this requires honest civil servants who understand the vital nature of these documents and resist the temptation to compromise these documents that define who is a Ugandan.

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I have lost my patience with the developers of four ways junction estate on kiambu road. Waiting till the middle of 2013 to occupy my property is just not on. And i really doubt I am the only one who feels this way. So I am requesting any other property buyers especially those who have paid deposits for the non starter of a phase 2 to please get in touch with me at (fourwaysphase2buyers@gmail.com).

I propose a meeting of minds to chart the best way not to get shafted, perhaps as soon as this coming Saturday the 26th of November 2011.

Just 20 pissed off individuals will be enough to get the ball rolling. So guys and gals please get in touch.

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The joy of almost owning an apartment has rapidly given way to fear and apprehension as the suraya property grouped seemed to slide into a quagmire of litigation. Anybody who reads the papers is definitely aware of the Fourways saga whereby the original land owners felt shortchanged in a deal that made them equity partners through providing the land to build the estate on.

What followed was a legal drama that could easily set precedents on how people in Kenya buy property. The reason I say this is because here were hundreds of people who have paid deposits on the property or even completed there instalments and were due to take possession of the houses and apartments, but were cut short by a court injunction that shut down the whole operation, for a few excruciating weeks, and left everyone worried.

The problem is that if the business crashed all the investors would lose all the money already paid out to acquire their part of the estate, at best we would spend years trying to get it back. This is because developers here use the deposits from buyers to start and often complete their projects. This is a highly risky thing for the man on the street like me and was informed by friends that actually in south Africa your initial deposit goes into an escrow account that the developer has no access to until the completion of the project, therefore they are not allowed to rely on deposits to get their projects going……..they must have completed their financing beforehand!

As the legal tussle amongst the developers ensued, I won’t bother with the details, it became obvious there will be a delay in completing phase one of the four ways estate and that means guys like me in Phase 2 are basically screwed. My sales agreement says completion date is April 2012. Now we are looking June 2013 as the estimated completion date for Phase 2.

And yes I am pissed off!!! The sales agreement makes allowances for almost any type of delay and I doubt I can be compensated. Even worse they have been holding my deposit for a year now plus another eighteen months to go…………..interest free!!!!! The law needs to change and soon.

As for the change mortgage interest rates as I sit out the delays……………..this will be the subject of my next property post.

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