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Kidepo National Park Enchants Government Communicators

posted onMarch 25, 2024
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By Dennis Katungi

Kidepo is indeed the ‘true African wilderness’. Arguably the most remote safari park anywhere in East Africa, it is also one of the most beautiful as we witnessed this weekend.  Set below a range of rugged peaks bordering South Sudan, the park protects an atmospheric tract of savannah carved by two perennial rivers [we found the rivers dry]. It is studded with giant boulder-strewn hills.  Despite its remote location, Kidepo offers exceptional wildlife viewing.  We had a guided game-drive and observed  rich bio-diversity as well as numerous animals. The Park has the largest herds of buffalos in Africa.

It is also rich in predators, including lions, leopards, cheetahs and bat-eared fox. It has twelve antelope species including oribi, eland, kob and klipspringer. 

The visit to Kidepo was the last segment of the retreat of Government Communicators Forum [GCOF], a body of professional PR personnel mandated to harmonise the communication function across all government entities. It aims to revive the key role in policy dissemination, public engagement and inter-departmental collaboration. GCOF will be proactive, anticipatory and strategically aligned with the nations objectives.

Organised by Internal Security Organisation in collaboration with the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, the GCOF retreat run from 18th to 23rdMarch 2024 in Moroto.  At the end of the retreat, the team had guided tours around the Karamoja region. We drove onto the Moroto – Lokitanya –Loroo Amudat road currently being upgraded to Tarmac, and also visited the Sunbelt factory in Moroto that mines and processes stone to marble. The team paid a courtesy call to the Bishop of Karamoja who, together with his staff hosted a Dinner and gave an insightful pep talk to the team on Karamoja’s unique issues. He talked passionately about what needs to be done to put the region on an irreversible transformational footing.

GCOF engaged district leaders including RDC, regional security officers, District information officers as well as the 3rd Division Commander, Maj. Gen. Don Nabasa and his Deputy Brig. Felix Busizoori.  

The icing on the cake was the Kidepo Valley National Park.  The Katulum Lodge where we spent a night is itself a wonder of sorts.  Ensconced right in the middle of a huge boulder -hill, it was established by Idi Amin as his hunting jaunt in the 1970’s. It offers panoramic views of the kidepo plains. Without leaving your Hotel room, you can observe animals and birds at close range from the comfort of the balconies at the Lodge.

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The GCOF team will set-up a Secretariat at the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance to serve as an operational Hub to ensure strategic alignment and provide administrative and logistical support to its operations. Key among those functions will be to coordinate key Government events, public engagement and campaigns as well as stakeholder collaboration. It will lead on capacity building initiatives to enhance communication skills across government.  The retreat was a culmination of the 3 day residential Training by GCOF at the Institute of Security and Intelligence studies [Garuga] which was organized by Internal Security Organisation in conjunction with the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance in April 2023. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Amina Zawedde together with the Deputy Director General of ISO, Col. Emmy Katabazi facilitated and guided the process from inception and were present in Moroto for the retreat. They will continue to chaperone the new initiative in order to optimise the communication function of government.

The potential for coordinated re-alignment was observed recently - at NAM where the two leaders played a leading role on Communication at the International Munyonyo event. They and their teams were involved before, during and after the event. They are seeking to replicate such success across government.      

 

The writer is Head of Communications & Media Relations – Uganda Media Centre.  

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