KAMPALA–The smoke that has been emanating from unseen embers at Serena-based NTV-Uganda has finally popped into real fire with the resignation of the media company’s topmost manager Agnes Asiimwe Konde.
Konde has a new job. And its a huge posting by regional standards.
Msingi East Africa Ltd has announced the appointment of Konde as its chief executive. The appointment was confirmed on August 7 in a letter signed by Ali Murufuki the organisation’s board chairman.
Konde who will be based in Kigali, Rwanda, reports for her new role on October 1, and is expected to help the Kenyan-based organisation that positions itself to support entrepreneurial works of mainly industries in the region grow through its vision.
Msingi is a highly ambitious and innovative new industry development organisation that seeks to support East Africa to achieve this vision over the long-term.
Msingi was founded by UK-based firm Gatsby and incorporated as a Kenyan Company Limited by Guarantee in June 2016. Gatsby conceived, incubated and established Msingi in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development, with the two agencies continuing to co-finance its activities.
Msingi operates in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.
In her new role, Konde is expected to drive Msingi’s mission to generate a step-change in competitiveness and innovation, as well as driving significant structural transformation and growth that benefits low income sections of society by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Konde’s new role is a big one as she will also be charged with identifying new and existing high-potential industries with comparative advantage and the strongest commercial prospects not only at her duty station of Rwanda but also around the region.
As chief executive, the former Crown Beverages Limited sales and marketing manager will be at the forefront of supporting start-ups in their ambition to upgrade technology, build capabilities and secure finance.
Konde will also be expected to support international technology transfer and learning, while facilitating a range of wider industry upgrades to address critical bottlenecks to wider growth in the industries in the region.
Konde joined NTV as managing director in 2013–replacing Joe Munene–after an eye-catching marketing career with Crown Beverages Limited (Pepsi-Uganda) where she particularly helped turn Mountain Dew into a household beverage of choice.
A departure long overdue?
Under Konde’s watch over the last two years, NTV has been coping with unprecedented staff retention mares as one staffer after another leaves for better options, especially at rival stations.
The departures of Rukhshana Namuyimba, Solomon Sserwanja, Chris Ocamringa, and others has been like smoke signaling some fire within.
Matters have not been helped that through these times, Konde’s future as managing director of the country’s most valued television station was constantly in doubt, with rumours circulating from time to time that Nation Media Group would appoint her replacement ‘soon’.
The return to Kampala of Daniel Kalinaki further galvanised those rumours as the former Monitor managing editor had been tasked to oversee a process to merge the operations of NMG Uganda franchises, including that of Africa Broadcasting Uganda Limited under which NTV-Uganda runs.
Kalinaki started work on June 1 as head of editorial content for all NMG products in the country, a position that propped him in direct collusion course with Konde as the journalist in Kalinaki is not the kind to yield to the compromise of editorial standard and media ethics for the pursuit of brand marketing.
Konde, a marketer, has been widely understood to espouse the latter value as her time at the helm of NTV Uganda has been viewed as having moved with the winds of younger generation desires by placing NTV in competition with all and sundry, including a segment previously seen as a soggy patch for sensationalism.
However, credit to Konde in her pursuit as she managed to raise NTV’s rating and growth, with the station even opening other sister stations like Spark TV that largely quenches the thirst of youthful viewers.
Konde has also managed to stave off rise in competition for viewership from rival station NBS Television as many audience polls continue to put NTV as the most viewed television station in the country.
What next for NTV?
The merger that Kalinaki has been overseeing has already started but it was the issue of some positions that remained to be settled. High on the agenda has been the question of who of Konde and Tony Glencross would keep their cushy seat as managing editor of NMG Uganda.
Konde’s departure has relieved the burden on NMG honchos as the they will now be left with only the Monitor Publications Limited managing director to consider if they push forth with the ambition to bring operations and management of their Ugandan products under one roof.
Meanwhile, Konde is expected to take final leave of NTV Uganda in coming days as she prepares to cross the south-western border into Rwanda.
It is that time when NTV will be tense with staffers anxious to sign off unfinished businesses under her tenure before a new structure or boss takes over with new aspects to business management.