For too long, citizens have been content to follow where government and multinational corporations lead. The profit motive has become immune to attack. It is understood that as long as something is profitable for shareholders, nothing else matters enough. One of the representatives of a multinational company openly told me that the company is not here to do charity work for locals. This took me to the fact that MNC’s are an offshoot of western colonialism, albeit in a more subtle manner. Far from improving the balance of payments on both the current and capital accounts, critics argue that MNC’s worsen it.
That aside, on the real protoplasm, i have seen projects come, grow, prosper but others vanish before seeing day light. Peculiarly, i saw one project being drafted in blue ink on paper some years ago, the Kampala Rolex Festival. A fresh graduate with a few of her Basoga friends thought of selling their local food to the world, this would also boost the tourism sector along the lines. She had no much to invest but the brain and the social capital. Brains aside, the people who hopped onto the wagon were loyal because they were hitchhiked on the wheels of hope and faith expecting to grow together. In short, the pioneers of the project invested whatever they had in their reach.
My reminiscence about the day the first Kampala Rolex Festival ever happened, the organizers owned nothing but breath. The artists that were supposed to perform literally refused to come through because there was no money for them. For those that showed up were rather upcoming or desperately low key. I witnessed things in an upside down format, of course i was on my phone tweeting about how the event is a “not to miss party” just like any other lying influencer. Whilst, my online audience definitely knew it was lit and got FOMO. People actually came through!
There is just one person that whiffed my doubts off artists. This particular guy held the picture of the festival from the day it was written on paper till it happened in real sense. Maro (Magada Ronald) is a young gifted vocalist from Jinja,Uganda. This guy invested in his efforts to see the Kampala Rolex Festival grow because literally. Just to remind you, the rolex idea originated from a chapati seller’s creativity in the Busoga region “the basoga” then the idea spread to Wandegeya next to Makerere University in Uganda, fulled by students who needed a quick meal because of time and budget limitations.
Maro has been nurturing and supporting this project like it was his own because the project developer is his fellow Musoga, probably neighbours. He marketed the festival to his loyal fan base, helped reaching out to prominent sponsors to see the festival a success.
And boom, out of his tireless efforts, the second season of the Kampala Rolex Festival saw light at the end of the tunnel when Coca cola accepted to sponsor the event. Coca Cola’s sponsorship was a great deal, but how much good would it do vis-a-vis the harm? We are watching closely! Ultimately, Coke injected in the cash as usual and honestly i would say, the event took a giant stride ahead. I had the chance to stare on while this happened because i was abreast.
The second season was a good show and the organizers ripped their harvest without fear or favour but seemingly, part of the organising team got it twisted on their way home. The project owner started being a skilful while playing cat and mouse on her own fellows. Rumour from an in house source reached me that the sponsor (Coke) had harsh terms and conditions for sponsoring the event.
I won’t blame the eagle for snatching the chicks, but rather, i will blame the mother hen for taking the chicks far into the bush. I think locals should be vigilant on some terms and conditions that these multinationals bring in. MNCs’ can easily undermine economic and social rights of citizens in many occasions. The Multinational Corporation is an adaptable and established entity that profits from the principles of neo-liberal economics, as well as the predicament of the “home and host” state, the combination of which with restricted levels of liability and a decentralized decision-making hierarchy allows for abuses of human rights to take place internationally, by having doubt standards.
Basically, the Rolex fest would be the number one agenda for Uganda tourism but barbarically, Tourism is asleep as well. Waiting for the monies from the multinationals. If a rolex is a local food invented by the Basoga, why don’t these multinationals respect the fact? Why are the Basoga not included in the celebrations for purposes of legacy and appreciation? Why is Maro not on the list of performers for the Kampala Rolex Festival? What was the criteria used to get Maro off the performers list? I need answers on this!
Maro has nurtured the festival from scratch, he has a loyal fan base, he invested a lot and never got a penny out of it. Is scrapping him off the performers list the best reward that Kampala Rolex Fest organizers and sponsors could give him now? I don’t think that will commensurate with the MNCs objectives of growth and development of locals. I reckon that having Maro as one of the performers would be of preponderancy especially when it comes harmonising a bigger audience for the festival. We have seen events vanish because of wrong decisions taken by sponsors just to suit their ambitions.
The festival is not about what the sponsors want, it is about what fans and clients want because a bigger turn up informs what the sponsors and organizers jump out with. Let’s give credit where it deserves and also uphold the local talent. We all need to work together, because there are no jobs on a dead planet; there is no equity without rights to decent work and social protection, no social justice without a shift in governance and ambition, and, ultimately, no peace for the peoples of the world without the guarantees of sustainability.
With due respect, the fact should also capsize into the abstract the people can actually boycott what they don’t and the bandwagon effect is never an issue to ridicule, whilst it may lead to demise.