New “Ug Power” app naturalizes online electricity payments

The app allows users to save other users’ Yaka meter numbers just like they would in a phone book

The smartphone, mobile money and the internet have changed the way we pay for products and services. Replacing the long lines at the bank with a simple tap on a phone or PC surely sounds convenient. At least that’s what the adverts tell us.

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The "Ug Power" app interface

But if you critically examine the e-pay process (in Uganda) especially for electricity, a series of questions go answered. Like the long account numbers, the absence of a transactions history, the transaction charges and most important of all, flexibility towards various mobile money networks and payment options.
Well, a new mobile app answers all the above. Developed by Ugmart Ltd, the “Ug Power” application erases mobile network boarders, allowing users to buy Yaka tokens using various e-pay options. “You can top up your Yaka using any payment provider available. So far we only have Airtel Money and MTN mobile money. We are still working to add Smart Pesa, Africell Money and VISA. It’ll be possible for a person abroad to buy a Yaka token for their Mum in Uganda”, Says Bernard Tebandeke, one of the app developers. 
The application provides a transactions history with the ability to simply refresh (in case of failure of a transaction) as opposed to the customary method of starting afresh, and also provides the specifics about the unit cost, charges, token numbers and others as seen in the screenshot below.

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Screenshot of the transactions history interface

The app allows users to save other users’ Yaka meter numbers just like they would in a phone book. So if one wants to pay for ‘Mum’, ‘Bro’, ‘Bae’ or ‘Shibubu’, all they have to do is select a name and leave the rest to the app. According to Bernard, the application provides cheaper transaction rates compared to what the telecom companies have to offer.
The “Ug Power” app is now available on Google Play and can be downloaded via this link:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ugmart.power

More screenshots of the app
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Is social media turning our daily lives into a ‘Tell all’?

The real issue lies in whether what started as a trend has turned into a way of life in the electronic world.

“I woke up like this”, “My new look”, “Going shopping”, “Going to bed” are some of the posts a number of social media users put up about their day to day activities, some true others not. But the real issue lies in whether what started as a trend has turned into a way of life in the electronic world.

To delve deep into the matter, I spoke to a number of social media users in regard to what they believe should or shouldn’t be posted online. In other words, when and when not to ‘kiss and tell’.

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Muliika Indy (left), a Ugandan working in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) believes it’s not necessary for one to post everything that happens in their life especially bedroom and relationship matters. Although he makes few such posts himself, seeing more of them on other users’ timelines is a preference. “I can’t stop them because most of their posts kill my boredom sometimes. It’s their lives, their phones, their accounts and mainly their opinions”, says Indy.

img-20170119-wa0090But that isn’t the case with Salama Laila (left), a nursing student from Kamuli, Uganda. She says, “People who post nude pics and bedroom matters are peer pressurized”, and she (Laila) continues to be skeptical about the so called “trend” of posting about one’s day to day activities and coital matters.

When asked if she would post about her day to day activities, Nakaima Bahia’s answer is a hefty “never”. The accounts student from Mbarara attributes her decision to the bevy of online trolls to whom the misfortunes of others call for a “LOL” or “LMAO”.

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Bahia

“Some people online are crazy, you might post wanting some help and people will end up abusing you…So if something happens in my day to day life, I’d rather behave like it never happened…because no one online really cares.”, says Bahia.

For those who post a great deal about their day to day activities online, some feel they have an obligation to do so, like celebrities to their fans. I mean after all the paparazzi already chases after them. But what about the average Joe or Jane, what reasons do they give for posting their day to day activities online?

Mai Abdallah, a Kampala resident posts a great deal about her day to day activities. Scrolling through her Facebook profile is akin to going through the pages of a lifestyle magazine. Posts about when she wakes up, goes to the salon, goes to a party, a new tattoo or in a bikini fill her album.

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Mai

When asked about her reasons for doing so, Mai believes that posting about her day to day activities helps falsify rumors posted about her online. “Those things you are pushed to post not that you want people to know about your day to day life but to prove…..what has been published about your private life by bloggers and newspapers is false. So I end up posting almost everything about me”, says Mai.

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Wadria

Wadria Derrick, a Nkumba University student argues that posting about one’s day to day activities is symmetrical to the invention of social media. To “socialize”. “It’s very fine with me if I posted something about my life on social media because that’s what it means by socializing. Letting people know you and you knowing them back”, says Derrick.

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

There are a series of academic, psychological and sociological theories that explain why people choose to behave the way they do in real life and online. One of them is the Self-verification theory. Wikipedia defines it as;

…a social psychological theory that asserts people want to be known and understood by others according to their firmly held beliefs and feelings about themselves, that is self-views”. Which self-views can be positive or negative.

For example, if a girl believes she has a great body (which is a positive self-view), posting a bikini selfie and attracting likes and good comments will help her “verify” that self-view. And using the same example but on a girl with a negative self-view about her body (being overweight), getting few likes and negative comments will have the same effect, and that is “self-verification”.

Identity Negotiation Theory.

Amana Kaskazi, from the University of Michigan and author of; “Social Network Identity: Facebook, Twitter and Identity Negotiation Theory” describes in detail the ‘Identity Negotiation Theory’:

 “Identity negotiation theory is a sociological process in which people assign roles during the formation of a relationship. It is broken into two components. In the first phase people look for others who see them as they see themselves and approach interactions that are likely to uphold their self-view and self-esteem. This is known as self-verification. In the second phase people make predictions about how the other person will behave, and then act in ways that are likely to make the prediction true. This is called behavioral confirmation (Swann & Ely, 1984).

In his publication, Amana argues that Social Network Sites (SNS) like Facebook and Twitter “enable users to negotiate an identity online”. By creating a profile with aspects like age, gender, employment and others in relation to one’s self-view.

That’s why on social media, “Nakigudde” can turn into “Naks”, a Ugandan resident can “live in New York and work in Pyongyang”, a “single” person can become “engaged” and so on and so forth. Amana further argues that; “In order to protect their identity and preserve their self-view, users are less likely to add someone who might threaten their identity”.

Perhaps that’s why some people won’t add their parents, lecturers, priests, neighbors and other close individuals on social media. Thanks a lot for reading. And please share and keep following Adam’s Blog.

References

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-verification_theory

‘Social Network Identity: Facebook, Twitter and Identity Negotiation Theory’: Amana Kaskazi, University of Michigan.

EID AL-ADHA: The origin of Islam’s holiest day.

Celebrated 70 days after Eid al-Fitr (Festival of breaking the fast), Eid al-Adha also known as the “Festival of the Sacrifice”, is not only the greatest of two holy days on the Islamic calendar, but also a landmark in the long history of the religion of Islam. Dating back to the time of the Prophet Ibrahim.

Today 1.6 billion Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha, a day that traditionally involves animal sacrifice, performing special prayers, feasting, spending time with relatives, donating to the poor and needy, making pilgrimage to Mecca (optional) among other activities that are carried out to the day. But to better understand the origin of this great day, I take you over a thousand years back to the time of Islam’s 6th Prophet, Ibrahim (Alayhi Wasalam)

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An artistic expression of Ibrahim sacrificing his son

During his time as messenger of Allah (the Islamic God), Ibrahim received most of his revelations (from Allah) in the form of dreams, unlike other Prophets like Musa (Moses) and Muhammad who famously received some of Allah’s revelations though a burning bush and Angel Jibril (Gabriel) respectively.

In what was to become the greatest test of his life, and later earn him the title “Grand father of the believers”, Ibrahim had a dream of him sacrificing his son to Allah, a dream he told his son about, and whose response tested Ibrahim’s faith even more. According Surat Saaffaatt (Chapter 37) verse 102 of the Holy Quran, Ibrahim’s son willingly accepted to be sacrificed.

And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, he said, “O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think.” He said, “O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.”
[QS. As-Saaffaat: Verse 102]
* Via the Beautiful Holy Qur’an: https://goo.gl/p3W2h4

Through out the process of preparing to sacrifice his son, Ibrahim was constantly tempted by Shaitan (Satan) to disobey Allah’s command by choosing not to sacrifice his beloved son. However, Ibrahim was able to chase the Shaitan away by throwing stones at it and reciting praises of Allah.

And just as Ibrahim proceeded to sacrifice his son, Allah blunted his knife, and instead ordered him to sacrifice a sheep, as he (Ibrahim) had passed this colossal test of faith. Qoran Chapter 37, Verses 103-105 narrates this in astounding detail.

And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon, We called to him, “O Abraham, You have fulfilled the vision.” Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was the clear trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice,…….

[QS. As-Saaffaat: Verses 103 – 107]

* Via the Beautiful Holy Qur’an: https://goo.gl/p3W2h4

During Idd el-Adha celebrations, Muslims commemorate Ibrahim’s sacrifice by slaughtering sheep, goats, cows, camels and other animals whose meat is divided into three portions (for family, neighbours and the needy). Ibrahim’s stoning of the Shaitan is also reenacted by pilgrims in Mecca, a ritual known as “Rami al-Jamarat” or the stoning of the pillars. 

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Pilgrims gather to stone the pillars in Mecca

Earlier in Ibrahim’s life, before the dream to sacrifice his son, Allah had ordered him to construct a house of worship and pilgrimage in Mecca. Ibrahim and his family performed annual pilgrimages to this house and performed rituals, including those that later honoured Ibrahim’s choice to sacrifice his son.

Today the house still stands, and bears its original Arabic name “Kaabah” meaning the “cube”. And Ibrahim’s pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) is considered a pillar of Islamic religion, one of the rituals performed as part of Idd al-Adha celebrations.

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The Kaaba in Mecca

However, the celebration of Idd al-Adha by muslims came hundreds of years after the death of Ibrahim. And this was during the reign of the final Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (PBUH). According to www.eid.net.in/history.htm, Swahaba Anas, one of prophet Muhammad’s companions reported that:

When the Prophet Muhammad arrived at the city of Madinah, he found some people celebrating two explicit days in which people used to amuse and entertain by merriment and playing. Prophet Muhammad asked people regarding the nature of these sorts of celebrations and merriment at which people responded that these festivities were occasions of recreation and fun of days of jahilliyah. At this point, the Prophet Muhammad remarked that the Almighty God has set two days of holidays instead of these festivities for you, which is far better: Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.

Thanks a lot for reading. Happy Eid to all Muslims. More articles to come your way from Adam’s Blog. And please don’t forget to share.

UPCOMING EVENT: The 9th Annual Nile Gold Jazz and Soul Safari.

For Jazz romantics and soul music enthusiasts, the 9th Annual Nile Gold Jazz and Soul Safari is set to introduce an all new session at this year’s festival.

Scheduled for Saturday 8th October at Lugogo Cricket Oval, the new session has been dubbed the ”AFRO SOUL & RHUMBA CLASSICS”. It (the new session) will be performed live at the festival which will get under way at 3:00pm till midnight.

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From Fathers to Sons to Daughters

According to Tshaka Mayanja, founder of the Nile Gold Jazz and Soul Safari; This session will be headlined by living Ugandan music legends; Moses Matovu, Tony Ssenkebejje and Eddy Ganja who will be backed by a stellar cast of seasoned musicians. The legends will be joined on stage by younger but very talented and successful Ugandan artists. Among these, the sultry vocalist Lillian Mbabazi and Saxophonist Michael Kitanda.

This ‘mix’ of our legendary Elders and the young ones performing these classics on the big stage, is something we’re looking forward to a great deal. They will not only perform their classics, but classics by their peers and contemporaries.
Tshaka Mayanja

The main artist for this year’s Nile Gold Jazz and Soul festival will be the prolific Maxi Priest from England. Accompanied by the trumpeter Lin Rountree and saxophonist Jackiem Joyner from America.

Tickets to the event cost Shs.130,000 for Gold, Platinum goes for Shs.250,000. And for a group of 10 people, they can choose to pay Shs. 2,500,000.

Proceeds from the 9th Annual Jazz and Soul Safari will be chanelled to the Rotary Cancer Run and the game of Cricket.

The event’s organisers “highly doubt anyone will be left seated!” at this year’s festival. And have urged fans to put on the greatest of their “dancing shoes” to the day.

Sports can eliminate the disunity politics and religion create

For decades, the growth of our nation has been stunted by religious and political skirmishes, but sport has shown how vital a tool it can be in annihilating the inhibitors of our development.

September 4th will forever be heralded by Ugandans as the day they qualified for the continent’s premier football competition following a 38-year old wait.

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Uganda Cranes team united the nation with their win against Comoros

Playing at home, in their famous Mandela National Stadium (Namboole), this vital match brought with it, a mixture of optimism and nervousness as memories of the team’s previous disappointments still lingered in the fan’s minds.

But the match also brought about a sense of unity in the country that didn’t even exist during the fight against colonialism. In the 90 minutes of the game we teased ourselves of what this nation should be.

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Education and Sport Minister Janet Museveni (In white top) celebrates cranes victory will fellows at Namboole.

We stood united in support of a single cause, under the Black,Yellow, Red flag. Putting aside our political, religious and social affiliations. At the game, Janet Museveni was the Minister of Education and Sports not the wife of the man some believe has been in power for too long.

In those 90 minutes, Sheikh Shaban Mubajje was the leader of all Muslims in Uganda, not Old Kampala, not Kibuli, not the Tabliq, not the Salafis, but all Muslims in Uganda. There was no NRM or FDC supportets at the game, only Ugandans supporting their team.

And when Farouk Miya scored that memorable goal in the 34th minute, we rose in celebration as a nation, not as tribes or Muslims and Christians.

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Farouk Miya's goal took Uganda to the promised land

For decades, the growth of our nation has been stunted by religious and political skirmishes, but sport has shown how vital a tool it can be in annihilating the inhibitors of our development.

Thank you very much for reading. And congragulations to the Uganda Cranes for making us proud. Have a great week.

PLEDGE YOUR ALLEGIANCE: No matter the result, stay Ugandan.

The last time Uganda played in AFCON, Iddi Amin was still president. And we’ve had over 5 presidents ever since.

The clock’s ticking, fans check their tickets one last time before setting off for the stadium and the players are going through their paces after an empowering breakfast, on their backs they carry the fate and hope of a nation 40 million strong. All to be decided within 90 minutes.

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Uganda Cranes play Comoros at 5:00 pm today

Today is the day of reckoning, the massive advertising campaign has come to an end, all tickets sold, and fans from all over Uganda ready to witness as the nation quench the 38-year old thirst of not qualifying for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Now to demonstrate the length of this thirst in simple terms, one would say, the last time Uganda played in AFCON, Iddi Amin was still president. And we’ve had over 5 presidents ever since.

And as a country, as a team, we’ve been in this position before, having one foot into AFCON and the being dragged out at the last moment. It happened Against Kenya when we drew 1-1 and against Zambia when we lost on penalties.

However it is the attitude of some fans after these disappointments that raises questions about whether we are in this (Uganda Cranes) relationship for love or for the fame and glory?

On one of our previous disappointments, angry fans went ahead to attack the home of the then Uganda Cranes captain Andy Mwesigwa for what they (angry fans) called treason but was in fact a tackle in the box that led to a penalty.

Other fans take on to social media to express how filthy and inexperienced the national team is and how they will never watch any Uganda Cranes game ever again. But today, they are back out there, doning the nations colours and chanting #MujjeTulumbe. And trust me, deep inside their hearts they have set aside which statements to make just in case we don’t make it.

But as Ugandans, when did we become so opportunistic that we can’t hold a permanent stance on our own national team. If you’re a no, be a no. If you’re a yes be a yes. There’s no “in between” in this.

So no matter what the outcome of the game today is, let our support for the team remain unwavering as it is prior the game. And trust me, our team will remain strong and motivated to continue their quest for inspiring and making us proud as a nation.

Thank you for reading, and please don’t forget, Uganda vs Comoros is at 5:00 pm today, and will be broadcast live on various TV stations. For those heading to Namboole, roar so hard in support that screens of our TVs break out. #MujjeTulumbeeeeeee

What impact should old social media posts have on your future?

Maybe 4 years from now someone will pull out an old post of yours and suggest you’re a rebel

The sports media fraternity was over the weekend awash with tweets that were posted by Burnley FC striker Andrey Gray four years ago. The tweets contained language that was deemed “homophobic”, ” sexist” and “racist”. For a man who had helped his team to a 2-0 win by scoring the second goal against Liverpool, one would have expected cheers and lauds but the response he got online was the kind that no match winning goal scorer would ever want.

Gray was able to issue an apology through the club’s official social media page which contributed mere to nothing in as far as reducing the social media outrage was concerned. Andre Gray wouldn’t happen to be the first let alone the last human being to post a line or two on social media, and he sure as hell won’t be the last to get stick for it, years later.

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Burnely Striker Andre Gray was widely criticised for a homophobic tweet he made 4 years ago

It could be you, maybe 4 years from now someone will pull out an old post of yours and suggest you’re a rebel, and at the moment it won’t matter whether you posted it as a joke or copied it from another person’s timeline. The social media world will judge you like Benjamin Odoki in his prime.

Your critics will at this point appear to have been right all along. Your employers will suspend or even fire you. Your entire world will collapse about you, just because you made an ironic post 5 years ago about how good the Gaddafi regime was or about who should or shouldn’t sleep with who.

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Social media allows users to post views and opinions, some of which may stir a negative response from other users

The retrieval of these old posts by whoever is responsible should in no way be separated from ill intent and/or sabotage of one’s career and life. You ever wonder why such old posts resurface when one is running for president, newly married or has recently acquired a prestigious job?

It is the timing of the resurfacing of old posts that raises eyebrows. Andre Gray’s tweets were released a few hours after Burnely beat Liverpool 2-0 on Saturday. A game in which Gray’s goal dealt a coup de grace to the Kops. So instead of Gray being in the news as a hero, he was the biggest villain of the back pages.

Reading through most of comments that followed the released tweets, one argument seemed to be more prominent than others. And that’s whether Gray has changed from the man who posted those words 4 years back, and whether it is relevant to harshly criticise him “now” and not “when” he made those posts.

Perhaps maybe racial, sexist and homophobic remarks weren’t very clear to social media users 4 years ago, or it’s just social media’s contribution to the surging levels of euphemism.

On social media, terms like Terrorist, Rebel, Racist, Anti-Semite, Sexist, Blasphemer and others are interchangeably and in most cases wrongly used to refer to Muslims, Freedom Fighters, Gender equality activists, Arabs, liberals and anti-Zionists. Just as I wrote about in this similar article Amin wasn’t an Anti-Semite but an Anti-Zionist

And for those willing to ruin one’s life or career, pulling out an old post of yours could be the difference between you being a racist in 2016 for a tweet you made in 2012. So the next time you post something on social media, ask yourself how much impact that post will/should have on your future.

Thanks alot for reading. Keep reading and I’ll keep writing.