Network marketing in Uganda: ‘It’s after you’ve joined that you realise you are bound to make losses’

Network marketing seems to be a common temptation for many in Uganda.

The promise of overnight riches, wealth and prosperity for new recruits is often hard to resist.

Especially for a population that is young, desperate and filled with ambitions, many of whom are unemployed, this sounds just like the right kind of thing to get into if one’s to get ahead in life.

It’s a sure bet for many, if you like. Sadly not many speak praises of this business, after getting burnt.

With companies like Forever Living Products, GNLD, Questnet, Dynapharm, Tianshi, Oriflame and many others expanding across the country, many more unsuspecting people are yet to taste the bitter pill of network marketing.

You see, network marketing firms make their money by getting new recruits to buy products from them – often food and nutrition supplements – at what you can call high prices.

With the recruit gaining by (1) selling the products at a profit, and (2) getting a percentage (commission) off the sales of those they recruit into the network.


The NewVision ran an exposé on the subject matter in a story published Saturday February 2, 2013.

Below is an exerpt of one woman’s cry about her experience with Forever Living, a network marketing firm.

SaturdayVision investigations have revealed that the distribution system does not guarantee profits and majority of members dropout along the way, after losing millions.

Sarah Mukisa, a smallholder poultry farmer in Bulenga, Wakiso district, bought a combo of assorted Forever Living products in March last year [2012].

Mukisa’s up-liner (the person who recruited her) had promised her high profits of over 43% return on investment.

But for two months, Mukisa failed to recruit anyone despite spending about seven hours daily, teaching other people the benefits of joining the network.

She also barely sold 10% of the products she bought.

“Whoever I told about the products complained of high prices. I used some of the products and gave away the rest,” she recalls.

In network marketing, the sales force is given bonus not only for the sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of others they recruit.

Her first recruit came in the third month, and Mukisa was paid sh60,000 as commission. Encouraged, she sought sought alternative ways to woo more people to join her network.

“I began paying for those willing to join, hoping to earn commission from their sales,” Mukisa, also an assistant pastor of Busega Miracle Centre, reminisces.

She paid sh400,000 for one of her recruits and sh200,000 for another. She never profited from any of the two, since both quit after a two-week futile hunt for buyers.

Mukisa also recalls spending over sh700,000 on fuel during travels to teach and recruit others into the business.

“One Sunday, we drove over 40 miles to a church in Mukono district. We spent about sh300,000. I was disappointed when no one joined at the end of the day. I quit the business there and then.”

It was clear she had lost her investment which by that time was close to sh3m.

“It is after you have joined that you realise you are bound to make losses,” she states.

For anyone wishing to join, a look at the full article is a must. Now you know.


Public administrators and health professionals most sought after on Uganda’s labour market

Uganda National bureau of statistics recently released results of a survey carriedout between 2011 to 2015.

It looks at the demand patterns in the labour market focusing on job advertisements carried in the daily monitor and newvision papers.

An accountant

This survey was the subject of a recent article by the Observer Newspaper that concluded – accoutants, secondary school teachers and business administrators were the most sought after during the period of the survey.

Here’s a breakdown of the survey’s results as reported by the observer newspaper

– Jobs in the public sector accounted for 49-60% of all advertised jobs

– 18.4% of jobs were in health and education in 2015

– Going by education level, most jobs required diploma as a minimum with the accounting profession at 43% (5502)

34.1% (4331) needed degree as a qualification

Only 52 out of the 12687 jobs advertised in 2015 required a phD

– At graduate level, accountants, secondary school teachers and business administrators took 15.6%, the highest

African nurse

Health professionals (doctors and nurses) came in at 5.8%

– And going by regional distribution, Kampala accounted for most (35%) of all jobs advertised

Western region (20.7%)

Northern Uganda (18%)

Eastern Uganda (16%)

How our generation got where it finds it’s self today

A while ago I was reading about the generation X (born before & after the great recession), millenials (born 1987-1997) and generation Y (the children of millenials) in the US.

African child

There was a noticeable variation in the lifestyle of all three generations as they were shaped and influenced by different dynamics.

Generation X was shaped by the economic collapse at there time and so didn’t have the financial muscle to spend as they wished.

The millenials were born after the 2nd world war and so didn’t participate in the war. They are the largest workforce at present.

Generation Y came after the millenials.

Using the western world categorisation of there generations using a key historically significant events, our generation here in Uganda is sqaurely millenial. And fortunately or unfortunately were the majority.

With a background of the wars in Uganda, there has been limited parenting from our parents who r busy at work because their parents didn’t hv the best of envirnments and were unable to send them to school or even build enough wealth.

This is when one is generally speaking. There are, of course, a few exceptions to this.

The country lost out valueable time that subsequently resulted in a drop in the aggregate wealth of the populations.

Our generation therefore doesn’t have a firm footing to lauch from and is thus unable to start early families proper as we would have loved to.

We have to build a wealth base for ourselves and the many dependant around us that will enable us make up for our parents’ ‘lost generation’ while at the same time propelling ourselves forward.

We aren’t yet out of the woods.

It will take a completely different view on life, and not just copying whatever we see in the movies, and onto the right track of financial stability as well as the good life that we rightfully so desire.

This is the predicament we find or selves in. None of it is really our own making but we, nonetheless, have take responsibility for it.

Married life: When is it time to marry, and why

Earlier on today I came across a post, by a media personality, that made the case for one not delaying marriage regardless of whether one has the financial resources to undertake that or not.

A family

She makes the valid point that one can’t predict with certainity the time frame within which they’ll get the resources, financial in this case, to take on the responsibilities of a family.

She draws the reader’s attention to the need to have children old enough to take over from parents when they’re in their old age.

That leaves me wondering whether that outwide view of things won’t entrench young families in more poverty especially when putting into context the Ugandan situation.

It’s no secrete that many individuals live lives as couples – cohabiting – but aren’t actually married. Most cite financial hardships as the major impediment to marrying their partner.

And with a patriachal society such as Uganda’s where the men are seen as the primary providers and bread-winners for their families – rightly so, a significant number of women aren’t ready to step-up and for obvious reasons.

Starting a family early on in one’s life is preferrable for the benefits that it offers however embarking on that journey when not ready especially finacially is akin to condemning oneself to years of unhappiness and misery.

Striking a balance in all matters life should be the goal of many a human but where such a balance is hard to strike one is better off not going down that path.

The Sadness about televison… and the people who find it irresistable

Watching television
Until last year, the Ugandan media landscape was gased with foreign programming in the form of soap operas, south African drama, you name it.

This had placed a ceiling on the growth of the local entertainment industry advertently or inadvertently and was evidenced by the relegation of the Ugandan local performing arts, like dramas and comedy shows to crumbling theatre stages and entertainment local bar revellers.

The average of say soap operas on one of the channels was 3 and all running concurrently in the same day. And this is only a conservative estimate.
Other stattions had even more.

The late nights would have their own set of shows.

Well, as you ought to be the know by now, their was a directive passed by the Uganda Communications commission requiring all media houses to air local indigenous content by upto 70% at a minimum of their content.

One could claim that this was NRM’s gift to the entertainment industry and particularly the performing arts, since they are the biggest beneficiaries of this policy decision.

The industry has largely grown out of it’s own effort without a lot of incentives from the government.

That’s besides the point.

When you look at the content and the class of viewers its intended for and looking at the general makeup of our population, you easily conclude most viewers shouldn’t be watching.

It’s fascinating how we prefer the likes of NTV, NBS, channels that are targeting the middle class to which most of the population doesn’t belong.

NTV was the most watched station followed by NBS and Bukedde in a survey carriedout last year. Should it assumed that most of their viewership is ‘middle class.’

There is a lot of tolerence for fantasy or wishful thinking by most. Television is unreal by it’s nature. It’s a fictional representation of events much like movies.

The recent 70% local content has only localise the fictionality much like the effect of dubbing of most movies. Suprisingly, local movies are also dubbed.

Sadly more and more people continue to endulge and even flirt with whatever fanatsies aired on televisons every hour of the day.