We would like to thank you very much for the thunderous response you gave to The Muslim News. By 7.00pm yesterday 8th Feb 2013 corresponding to 27th Rabiul Awwal 1434 A.H., the issue had sold out!
My personal work method ensured that I as editor, sell the first issue of the paper myself – (I could do so at at two different locations) so that we can get first hand feedback. What an experience!. First, of all the price : UG 500/- was indeed laughable. I could see the struggle of our middle class Kampalans trying to find a 500 coin – and poor me, I had not prepared enough to carry some initial 500 coins for the change. In the end quite a few people bought between 2 – 10 copies – just because they had no ‘small’ money. And this is the point! The idea of an affordable newspaper was based on the finding that we Ugandans don’t really like to read newspapers (compare -please google- the daily circulation figures the the Daily Nation/Taifa Leo of Kenya and New Vision/Bukedde). It gets worse if those newspapers don’t have pictures of nude to half nude women and sensational headlines that often don’t have nothing to do with the details of the story. (We all recall what befell Ngoma – Daily Monitor’s Luganda paper which was hoping to appeal to people with a good sense of family values and morality). Secondly, may Ugandans, even the well educated, cannot afford a paper which costs UGX 1000/- or more without missing their meal. This is the sad reality of life in Uganda today.
So, for your non-political, non-sensational newspaper like The Muslim News to be read, you want to make sure that the few that want to and can afford to buy it may buy as many copies as possible do donate them to those who would like to read al-right, but cannot afford it for some reason. Maybe a (university) student, an unemployed youth, maybe a primary school teacher who has not received her salary for the past two months. Maybe any nurse who has been laid off.
As you welcomed this unique product, I recall vividly these first hand comments from you, our reader:
1. Can you really sustain this paper? or is it also going to die off like the rest we have had?
2. Mutuyambe temutuleetera bino ebya ba Mubaje -Kayongo/Kibuli – Old Kampala twakoowa ebyo ebituzza emabega singa mukimanyi!!! (Please don’t bring us this Muslim community divisional politics – we are really fed up with those things that take us backwards – if only you knew!!)
3. Abasiraamu no olowooza baagala okusoma amawulire? Do you think Muslims like to read newspapers?
4. Lwaki temufulumya ka nnimibbiri oluzungu n’oluganda) Why don’t you publish a bilingual English/Luganda paper?
5. Ani abawadde ssente okukuba akatabo nga kano? Who has given you people the money to publish such a newspaper?
6. Mutuwonyezza ebisambi byabakazi abyabuli kumakya – kati naffe tufunye kyetunasoma nga tetwesittadde (You have saved us from the nudity on the news we have been getting every morning. At last now we have got a paper we can read without being embarrassed).
7. Ebirango munabigya wa? Mulowooza amakampuni agategeerekeka gayinza okulanga mu lupapula olwabasiraamu? Mbasaasidde (I pity you, do you thing real/big companies can advertise in a Muslim newspaper?
8. Do you really think you can avoid politics?
9. The Americans, Israelis, and the British will make sure that this paper is closed down in less than six months – I promise you! Mwe bagenda kubayita ba “alikaida” (They will label you Al-Qaeda elements). Gwe Umaru otuuse okufiira mu kkomera! (You Omar, you will end up dying in jail!)
10. Musabe abawarabu babawe ekyuma ekikuba amawulire, temugya kusobola nga ssi mwe mugeekubira (Ask the Arabs to buy you a printing press. You will not be able to sustain this paper unless you have your own printing press.
11. Why didn’t you give it a neutral name? Do you want only Muslims to read your paper?
These comments were all given in good faith, we suppose, and we take them seriously. Maybe some of them resonate with you.
We thought it was important that we share this feedback however hard hitting and often demoralising, with you, as we embark on this hard task of defying all skeptics. As we pleaded in our editorial, this paper will live or die with your active participation. You will either support it through buying it, marketing it, and advertising in it or by sitting by and watching to see what happens next – and then triumphantly say ” I told you that paper would die”!!. The choice is really yours.
We at TMN are quite excited with the prospects of a truly humanitarian paper, and are determined to make a difference, for as long as we can, inshAllah. But we really need your support. How we wish you knew how helpless and to be honest, how “terrified” we are, deep inside.
Thank you, once again for this warm welcome to The Muslim News. If you wish to respond in private, outside the Ugandans at heart and UMBS forum, feel free to drop us your private feedback directly to “Consulting Editor” .
Cheers for now!