Thursday, May 31, 2007

Rape by another name! Phone taping and in Uganda.

As a citizen wrestles with a horrifying government, who will win? The government of Uganda wants to know what any one in Uganda discusses on phone, who they call, who beeps who, who in Uganda exchanges text messages with who and where, .... And for all this, the government is so understanding! It wants to do these under a legal frame work! Legalised phone tapping. Legalising raping the privacy and freedoms of its citizens and people in Uganda. So disgusting indeed and always will!

Reports 1 and 2 at the The Monitor website hinted on what type of government our government aspires to become! - a disgusting legalised Police State and a surveillance state according to me! Every Tom, Dick and Harry who makes a phone call or texts from and to another in Uganda shall be known. People in Uganda, Kony, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, Bush, and the entire world shall be eavesdropped as long as they make phone calls in and into Uganda! CHOGM 2007, country Code +256 is for tapping. And although it hasn't been said, the Internet might not be spared in this raping exercises.

True! The state might have reasons to eavesdrop in its territory, but nothing changes such a legalised disgust and a raping of individuals' privacy. Also true is that alot is communicated using the phone. Some rumour mongering, business discussion, political plots and deals, intimate and personal, name them, for terror, highly confidential at level one and many times as ordinary as just to say hi as characteristic of some calls I would rate. The state might already be tapping phone calls, but let them be accountable to an extent. Don't legalise it!

Who are the key victims: Privacy, and Businesses in the competitive knowledge age in Uganda.
The losers: The legal framework, parliament of Uganda, the government, and all other rapists!
My wish: I wish the bill to legalise tapping of phone calls in Uganda fails at the door steps of the parliament of Uganda!

From the blue corner, the citizen wins! Use the money for something else! We have enough to worry about already. Period

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

An urgent call to have information literate citizens - Part 1

I am perturbed by some erroneous information that could, in this case, effectively cripple Uganda's prestigious institution, Makerere University her challenges withstanding. What is true however is that Makerere University, Uganda and Africa need to adjust itself for the challenges of the Information age: Misinformations, and Disinformations.
We badly need information literate citizens so that we may not be swayed by issues found on the internet - this site not excluded!

Let me tackle this: Makerere University has been ranked # 54 in Africa by WeboMetrics and in the past weeks, Ugandan newspapers have not only rechoed the said ranking, but also screamed and agreed to an untrue position about Makerere University - declining and in relation to other African univerities and world Universities - 54th best in Africa and 6,429th in the world! But what does the rank mean?
Objectives of the Webometrics Ranking (WR)
Webometric indicators are provided to show the commitment of the institutions to Web publication. If the web performance of an institution is below the expected position according to their academic excellence, university authorities should reconsider their web policy, promoting substantial increases in the volume and quality of their electronic publications.
The message is clear: Webometrics measured Makerere Univerity's commitment to web publication. Period. #54!? The lay information illiterate citizen could take it that Makerere University is not top in Africa for higher education. Webometrics robots might not know that Makerere University has two domain names asevidenced at URLs and, that, and which are different domains but true websites of faculties and institutes at Makerere University. The truth is that the rank #54 measured something different and not Makerere's quality of education.

The Ag. PRO of Makerere University highlighted some issuses though couldn't live upto the age.
Here are other issues and reasons why #54:
  1. Makerere University has two domain names: and Which one was used to measure the web presence of MUK? Which is domain is official?
  2. Makerere university is being represented by several unique domain names like: ug,,,, .... Were these taken into account as being part of Makerere University's web publishing sites?
  3. Makerere University has no Webstrategy, no domain name policy or the domain name / website managment is poor if not both. Makerere University needs only one domain name.
  4. Makerere University's academicia are publishing else where and not at the university's website as a matter of policy. We need that policy.
  5. A bulk of Makerere University's publishing is still on hard copies and for donors! Improve on the e-publishing bit too!
  6. ...
One thing for sure, Makerere Univerity is still shining academically but in need of proper institutional administration and ICT streamlining for a better web presence! Ugandans need not despair that the university is nose diving in its quality of education. It is a fact that Makerere University is undergoing management challenges! Where is MUBS for instance!? Where is Makerere University Business School in relation to Makerere University as an institution in the above arguements!

Diclaimer: Henry Owera is only an alumnai of Makerere Univerity, and not its Public Relations Officer.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Rwabuna! I heard and saw a white hen quacking at a reception area!

[Slight edits on May 29th 2007]
What has happened to the floppy diskette!? Thank you Rwabuna! We have got rid of it already. I haven't used a floppy in ages! That annoying 31/2" thing, infecting computers with virsuses, causing me to explain again and again what a computer virus is and that we don't need ngabo condoms to avert the consequences of recklessness in the information society!

A revolution began when Alpha Oscar and Hotel Oscar, who were very fresh from university (2003) were contracted to set up a resource centre and a bibliographic e-database for an NGO. Assignment well accomplished. While I soon took up a position as a programme assistant, Alpha Oscar continued job hunting else where.

Firstly I had to learn about our organisation and be prepared to respond to queries about the institution. Two weeks I was reading and consuming the new doctrine I have sincese mastered. But then I came accross phrases in our annual report that puzzled me and caused me to begin the thoughts towards upgrading our I.T systems: LANs, WANs and their annual budgetlines! And I didn't see a LAN nor a WAN! No I.T lord but me the fresher!

LANs! WANs! Not really! Not the one the comrade or any I.T aware fellow would say he knows or about cables, peers and servers, but something abit different. Local Area Networks and Wide Area Networks, LANs and WANs were taken to mean the collaboration / engagement by our institution with other institutions both within Uganda and accross boarders!

Today - May 2007, the institution has a LAN and has forgotten about having its own WANs in the more strict sense. They network! No more budgets for LANs, WANs and floppies! Talk about streamlining I.T in the institution! No use for floppies now! Internet, Flash, ... and Skype are the talk!

Rwabuna! How could a professional be more grateful in this age! I couldn't believe it! I couldn't! I heard and saw a white hen quacking at a reception area! =))

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Blogger or Journalist? A new vocation?

If you don't want to be touched by a monkey tail, don't join the monkeys dancing. I don't remember joining the monkeys dancing. That I used to hop from tree to tree should not tantamount to my being a monkey. I am not a monkey. I am not a journalist. I am a blogger. I blog. I run an online diary. Period. Could being a blogger be a new vocation?

Running an online diary shouldn't mean that I am a journalist! I quote my self: That I used to hop from tree to tree should not tantamount to my being a monkey. My be I mimic monkeys! May be I mimic journalism. That one writes should not construe to a fact that one is engaged in journalism! A writer is a writer and a journalist is a journalist. And a blogger is a blogger! It is true, we could be cousins. Let us not forget the webmasters and Listserv creators!
"It seems to me that if a blogger is a journalist, everyone can produce a blog and never be subject to a subpoena," McCorriston
The law is being manourved by the evolutions stirred by the internet. Even if it means bending, the law should adjust its self to suit new age. The law should never come in the way of human capacities! The way the world thought yesterday is not helpful to the realities of today's information age and communication revolution. Journalism, publishing, copy rights and related rights need to be readjusted too to match the times!

Here is an instance of some known journalists and students of online journalism who eventually become bloggers: I present Esther Nakazi's blog and Kimume Paul's blog. Blogging and journalism is different. Whereas journalism has a formular, blogging presents none ... as yet. Are (all) bloggers journalists? Should a blogger enjoy the privelegdes of journalist? Even then, should the journalist continue enjoying those archaic privileges? An interesting case at the First Ammendment Centre site by Associated Press is here

Attorney William McCorriston, in a lawsuit brought by landowner James Pflueger over the failure of the Kaloko Dam, claims that Malia Zimmerman of is a blogger who isn't entitled to withhold her sources of information.

But Zimmerman, an editor and reporter for the Web site, says she is a legitimate journalist, not just some hack who offers half-baked commentary on the news of the day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


EASLIS is an acronynm for the East African School of Library and Information Science, while FCIT is Faculty of Computing and Information Technology. Why shouldn't these faculties merge! Here is a slightly edited and blog version of my contribution to an online listserv discussion of "Information Professionals" in Uganda on the future of EASLIS at Makerere University.

A merger with FCIT would suffocate and eventually kill EASLIS. There is too much hype about everything ICTs as evidenced by FCIT'$ ambitiou$ li$t of cour$e$. Please no merger whatsoever between EASLIS and FCIT!

FCIT is for technology, e-data and with a gluttonous appetite for a hands-on-technologies! FCIT's prodcuts are yet to realise full potential in everyday Ugandan businesses! Let them wait and merge with Faculty for Engineering and Technology' particularily the Electrical / Electronic unit. We shall find them there. The hype surrounding the majority of FCIT courses should be allowed to rest here! I have also noted that FCIT graduates hate to handle information, are inadequate in professional information handling and communications and hate documents.

Many FCIT courses ideal to EASLIS professional can be found as international cerifications from Microsoft, Novel / Linux, Macromedia suite, Oracle, CompatiA+ and even CISCO. These are readily available and can be studied in other institutions anywhere not necesarrily at FCIT but even on self pace study! FCIT becomes a poor choice for a merger with EASLIS. EASLIS can do without.

My buy is a School of Information Science and Communication Studies, Makerere University.
Information Science covers up for the information technology shy Library Science. Here, therefore are the premises for which I support a merger with Mass Communication department! An EASLIS graduate will pretend to do what a Mass Communication graduate does and while a Mass Communication graduate assumes to perfom the tasks of an EASLIS professional! We are cousin disciplines to an extent. A merger is ideal.We are processing, producing and communicating products using information technologies primarily for human consumption. I dare add, we would be the ideal synergy of professionals in guiding the nation in the the Information age and the communication revolution. We would complete the Information Literacy training together!

Having studied BLIS at EASLIS (2000-2003), got confused in the midst of the Information era and blundered by studying CCNA at the then Institute of Computer Studies, toyed with the idea of a Msc. Information Systems at FCIT, I finally came to agree that surely Msc. Information Science is better that anything in FCIT for among reasons, its long term strategic skills and its similarities to Mass Communication, Public Relations, and journalism or technical wrting as EASLIS puts it.

EASLIS (/ Mass Communication merger) can however collaborate with FCIT in the areas of Informatics, systems analysis and designs so as to give a meaningful application of Information Technologies for development.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mayflies! Here is an opportunity for you!

The sun may be great but of recent, the same sun that sets in the West, chose to set at noon. I must give note: These are trying moments for a citizen of the age in Uganda. Two notable gallant sons of Uganda have died and were buried in a space of a week! RIP Hon. Eng. Dr. Okullo Epak. RIP PS Brigadier General Noble Rwaboni Mayombo.

But then there was the Labour day! May the first. I must make quality gains for my services. I chose to observe the last Labour day by setting some terms!
  • Do things myself!? Always and should! Yes! Because I can and can learn!
  • Available for Non Profit jobs? Yes! Every thing to do with NGOs, Programmes, Projects, Information, Communication, Information Technology, PR, knowledge Management and of recent M&E. Ask for my CV.
  • Private Professional Consultancy? Yes! Here are some terms:
What - Information and Communication, PR, Systems, and research.
When - Then, Now, whenever and forever.
Where - Uganda, Southern Sudan, and East African region for 2007-2008
Yes!? Okay! Email me!
  • Jobs without pay! Maybe! I am a professional! Pay me for my professional services.
  • Voluntary position? I will always weigh!
  • Job without Terms of Services nor defined Terms of Reference! Never! Did You hear me scream!? No!? Ok! NEVEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR ... Did you hear me! Oh Thank you! I fell shouldn't retard my professional development ever!
  • Period