Deep secrets which forced government through the Ministry of Tourism to award Dr. Kosea Wambaka’s Strategic Friends International (SFI) the contract to do the consultancy and execution of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the source of the Nile development project (SONDP) have emerged.
This publication has learnt that a combination of experience and unrivalled track record of executing international level consultancy projects made SFI beat other bidders that had expressed interest to do consultancy for the SONDP RAP.
This secret was revealed by Jimmy Andrew Kigozi, the SONDP Project Coordinator at the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities (MoTWA). Kigozi revealed government’s partnership with SFI during a National Stakeholders’ Workshop for the launch of the resettlement action plan for the SONDP recently at the source of the Nile Hotel in Jinja City.
Kigozi revealed to stakeholders (who included local leaders from Jinja City, Jinja district, Njeru Municipality and Buikwe District among others) that the SONDP is a 20-year long key priority programme in which the Ugandan government through MoTWA seeks to develop the source of the Nile area in Jinja into a world-class tourism facility. The arch goal, Kigozi says, is to boost the Ugandan economy through increase in both the tourism dollars from the world-renowned historical site while at the same improving the household incomes of the communities surrounding the site.
“The Source of the Nile development project is highest on the list of key tourism projects earmarked in the National Development Plan (NDP) III that will fast-track Uganda’s shift to middle income status as per the Vision 2040.
The main objective now, therefore, is to transform the Source of the Nile (SON) into a world class status tourism destination pursuant to the national development objectives,” Kigozi said.
Buttressing Kigozi’s submission, Viviane Lyazi, the Ass. Commissioner Tourism at the MoTWA noted that government decided to prioritize the SONDP following upon strong conviction that despite its global historical status which gives it great tourism potential, the SON in its current state is not only an untapped tourism gold but also an eyesore to the country since it already gets many tourists but who see nothing but shambles and backwardness.
“The Source of the Nile is the most recognizable tourist destination in Uganda right from the years of the early explorers. It’s therefore a golden tourist attraction in terms of recognition and appeal. However, when people come here they get deflated; that’s why Government wants to change this narrative by completely transforming the site to match its intrinsic global appeal,” Lyazi said.
WHY THE RAP?
According to the SONDP Master plan designer, government can only achieve a modern look for the SON area by putting in place modern high class infrastructure with the potential to wow and improve the experience of the global tourist so as to force him to satisfactorily part with top dollar.
Now, as per the SFI-designed plan, this infrastructure will involve roads, a modern pier to accommodate tourist boats and ships, high class hotels, malls and shops, cable cars, zip-lining and critical monuments including the source of the Nile, Mahatma Gandhi. These will be on top of children play facilities, space walkways, living museum, an observation tower, and a glass bridge, among other amenities and attractions.
However, Wambaka notes that whereas all these facilities are needed, government currently has very little land to accommodate them. This, according to MoTWA’s Kigozi, explains why government contracted Dr. Wambaka’s SFI to come up with a Resettlement Action Plan to allow the relocation of people occupying the land needed for this project.
Why Gov’t Chose SFI On The RAP?
Kigozi revealed that government zeroed on SFI to do the SONDP’s RAP basing on the firm’s experience in pulling off successful RAPs as well as the excellent work it did on delivering the master plan.
“I would like to inform members here that SFI did such a very good master plan that simply reading it makes one visualize the entire project. We are therefore confident that basing on what they did on the master plan, they were the right people to do its RAP,” he said.
But SFI’s excellent work on the master plan notwithstanding, the company owned by young Ugandans has established itself as an unrivalled entity when it comes to successfully resettling PAPs in the country and beyond.
Records for instance show that the firm has previously played a key role in the country’s oil sector where it has handled big projects including the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for acquisition of land for the finished Petroleum Products Pipeline from Hoima to Kampala.
Under Dr. Wambaka as team leader, SFI also conducted the feasibility study for rehabilitation of infrastructures for the Uganda Wildlife Research and Training Institute in Kasese, where the major job accountabilities included developing a skills need assessment and proposing a staffing structure and associated salaries/wages and infrastructure that would enhance effective teaching and learning.
SFI also pioneered the consultancy in developing strategic interventions that guided the development and operationalization of Regional Referral Hospitals to exist as self-accounting institutions in Uganda; while it also developed the Ministerial Policy Statement for Uganda Wildlife Education Centre under the then Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Industry, which its lead consultant Dr. Wambaka defended before the Parliamentary session committee of Tourism.
SFI also participated in the development of the first National Development Plan (NDP I) by inputting Tourism and Trade interventions which now guide investment operations towards the direction of the overall vision and mission of Uganda as a country in adherence to international benchmarks. This has thus cemented its understanding of the operations and strategic directions of key sectors of Uganda’s economy such as the Energy, Agriculture, Tourism, Industry, Trade and the Service Industry among others. It is such experience which has made it an unavoidable candidate for executing projects of global magnitude.
Knack for excellence
Famed global business strategist Peter Strople once remarked that Legacy is not leaving something for people but rather leaving something in people.
To Dr. Wambaka, SFI’s growing brand equity is largely attributed to working for a legacy with every piece of work executed under the ambits of the consultancy firm.
“Before starting any work, we prioritize the values of professionalism, perfection, honesty and value for money because we believe that once a client is satisfied then we can retain him and beget more business either from that customer or a referral from them; that’s why we go to extra lengths to deliver work to the best of our abilities,” Dr. Wambaka said.
And without doubt, Dr. Wambaka’s assertion can be confirmed by merely looking at his consultancy methodology or by the glowing tributes he and his firm have received from some of the clients or individuals who have worked closely with them.
To pull off the SONDP master plan, for instance, Dr. Wambaka benchmarked on a number of leading global tourist attractions including the Mein River and Heidelberg Castle in Germany, R. Brisbane in Australia, the Nile Delta in Egypt and Red Square in Moscow, among others.
He thus came up with a plan which encompasses bits of all these attractions for the Source of the Nile. In fact, participants during the launch of the RAP in Jinja were wowed when he presented the animation showing the futuristic impression of the source of the Nile tourism area upon completion. The stakeholders quickly marveled and went in praise, with UTB boss Hon. Migereko declaring that with such an impression SFI is “bringing Dubai to the source of the Nile”.
And while commenting on Dr. Wambaka’s RAP for the oil refinery which led to resettlement of people from the proposed refinery land, Francis Muganzi, the RISO Oil & Gas Area in Hoima referred to Dr. Wambaka (who’s incidentally the country’s most educated man) as a bulldozer for solutions. Muganzi recounted how Wambaka executed a very clean resettlement plan which made the work of security in the area seamless as they have never experienced a forced eviction of any person to date while people were resettled in areas and given adequate social amenities including schools, health centres and religious amenities such as churches and mosques.
“In my entire life I’ve never met a person as clever and efficient at work like Dr. Wambaka. He has exceptional knowledge and skills and I discovered this in him when he was working as a consultant in Oil & gas. The truth is that the activities in Hoima are very difficult but this is the first person of his kind who did his work without being challenged. Many people came and got challenged but ever since Dr. Wambaka came on board, we’ve never gone back. I actually appeal to people and agencies with contracts to give Wambaka twice as many contracts because single ones are just a walkover for him,” Muganzi said.
But perhaps SFI and wambaka’s competence in executing projects of international standards can best be brought to life by the words of Katusiime Doreen, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism, who branded him a national treasure/asset because he demystified the fallacy that only whites can execute consultancies of the magnitude of the Source of the Nile development project.
Branding Dr. Wambaka as an embodiment of perfection and excellence, Kansiime said: “All I want to attest today is that Kosea means a lot to us as a country. I got to know him when the government wanted to develop the source of the Nile. We advertised a tender for consultancy to develop the 20-year Master plan and SEA report for developing the Source of the Nile. Kosea through his Strategic Friends Company put in the bid and everyone was curious because such consultancies were usually done by bazungu. None of us at the ministry knew him but luckily he emerged the best evaluated bidder on pure merit. From that day we know Dr. Wambaka for always pursuing excellence and that’s how he has branded himself; we just pray that he maintains that enviable track record.”
So, in lieu of the above endorsements, there is no doubt why government chose SFI— it simply settled for the best!
About Dr. Kosea Wambaka
Dr. Wambaka (PhD, PhD) is Uganda’s most schooled man who is also among Africa’s academic giants with 7 degrees to his name. He is the holder of two PhDs, 4 Masters and one Bachelor’s degree. He is the founder and lead consultant at Strategic Friends International (SFI), a leading consultancy firm registered in Uganda, the USA and Hong Kong. The firm offers a wide range of consultancy services in the areas of capacity building & training, strategic planning, research & survey studies, project design, monitoring & evaluation.