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#UgandaisnotSpain – first published in 2012

Jun 17 • 3670 views • 5 Comments on #UgandaisnotSpain – first published in 2012 politics, Society and culture, Uganda


Er … we knew that.

The American showman, entertainer and sometime scam artist, Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810 – 1891) was remembered for founding his famous circus and for a number of well-known sayings, such as “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”


American showman and sometime trickster PT Barnum is famous for saying “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”

I wonder what PT Barnum would have made of this week’s #UgandaisnotSpain international spat? [June 2012].

Not to miss out on an opportunity, Ugandans (the media and the private sector at least) had a field day this week with #UgandaisnotSpain on Twitter.

Who started the #SpainisnotUganda and #UgandaisnotSpain Twitter debate?

Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy sent a text to his finance minister during negotiations of a bailout for Spanish banks. The text read: “We’re the number four power in Europe. Spain is not Uganda.

“Spain is not Uganda!” we retorted with er, no actually, Uganda is not Spain.

Frankly it’s all academic to me.

Spain may be a wealthy country – but it has huge debt.

Uganda has (comparatively) high growth –  but equally huge deficits in terms of infrastructure and skills.

For a fascinating snapshot of Ugandan society (tourists look away now), read this excellent article Yes, Uganda is not Spain, but what do we see when we look in the mirror? from this week’s Daily Monitor newspaper. Not all the comments make sense to me! But debate is alive and well in UG.

If you prefer figures and stats, read this article ‘Even With Its Loads of Problems, Spain Indeed Is Not Uganda.’


Don’t you love these beautiful hand drawn posters for PT Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth?

Two years later, at the Africa Travel Association (ATA) Congress in Kampala, President Yoweri Museveni reignited the Uganda vs Spain debate. Museveni is a great speaker, often funny (not always intentionally), but he’s no fool. Jokes aside, he had a serious message. Opening the annual week-long ATA Congress, the President of Uganda told the audience that whenever he watches international weather on TV, the presenter shows us that “They’re roasting in Riyadh and freezing in Sweden…”

“Don’t go to Spain, it’s too hot” the President said “come to Uganda instead.”


At the Africa Travel Association Congress in Kampala, President Yoweri Museveni reignited the #UgandaisnotSpain debate

The Guardian newspaper picked up Museveni’s comments and asked Uganda or Spain: where would you prefer to go on holiday? – poll of Guardian UK readers – at which point UOT (Ugandans on Twitter) – and Facebook too – got busy (busier than our Spanish counterparts at least!)


Uganda vs Spain – poll on the UK’s Guardian newspaper website. And Uganda won!

And here’s some more from President Museveni on the subject: Uganda is a better holiday destination than Spain, president says

And how about you – where would you prefer to go on holiday? Uganda or Spain?

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5 Responses to #UgandaisnotSpain – first published in 2012

  1. lizzziema says:

    I read the potent article and thought, as the song goes “there could be trouble ahead”.( Not least for the journalist who wrote it?) It may be the only way to right the present wrongs which I have seen for myself and experienced: the fumes and potholes, seen the poverty everywhere. Perhaps Ugandans are still so happy to have got rid of I.A. that they have let their aspirations drop for the sake of peace? But it wont always be so…

  2. the muzungu says:

    Following an off the cuff remark by Uganda’s President Museveni at the Africa Travel Association’s Congress (held this year in Kampala), there was an interesting poll on the UK’s Guardian web site:
    “Uganda or Spain: where would you prefer to go on holiday? Uganda’s president has been mocked for suggesting his country has more to offer tourists than Spain. But is he right? Tell us where you’d prefer to go”
    Where would you prefer to go on holiday? The results were:
    79% Uganda
    21% Spain

  3. Kakoma says:

    Thanks Charlotte. Hadn’t read the articles you’ve quoted. Off to check out Kalinaki’s

  4. the muzungu says:

    The latest Uganda / Spain development is an incredibly positive one. Barcelona FC talent scouts have found Uganda to be brimming with talent. A massive pat on the back to Uganda tourism marketing guru Amos Wekesa in particular for spotting the opportunity, inviting the talent scouts to stay and tour an extra week in Uganda and setting up the meeting with President Museveni. Investment, future deals and plans for a dazzling new lodge – and more – are now in the pipeline.
    Read Sunday Vision columnist Simon Kaheru’s article “good Ugandans can be friends with good Spaniards”

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