We Forfeited Salaries to Realise a Dream – Bugos

In a lifetime spanning 46 years, he has juggled careers as a footballer, a print journalist, a broadcaster, and an administrator. Over the last 10 years, however, Sebugwawo has dedicated the vast majority of his time to The Observer Media Limited.

A dyed-in-the-wool Observer loyalist, Sebugwawo lives for the glory of the company. It is that passion that makes him arrive at office by 6am everyday. Since The Observer’s inception, Sebugwawo, who is better-known to colleagues and friends as Bugos, has worked in different capacities. He started out as an office superintendent, before taking up the role of sports writer, which he left in 2008 to ascend to his current position of promotions officer.

Sebugwawo says his passion for the kind of journalism that The Observer promised to pursue tilted the scale in favour of an uncertain dream. It also helped that he had enjoyed a long working relationship with most of the paper’s founders and shared similar passions with them.

“I had worked with and trusted the people that were starting the paper. For me, getting to work more closely with them was like a reunion,” says the outspoken, lean-bodied Bugos.

Preparations to launch The Weekly Observer started in December 2003. And Sebugwawo, then a sports presenter at Star Radio, part of the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), did not shun the opportunity that the project offered him to exploit his journalism talent and organisational acumen. Working with Aliro, the brainchild of The Observer, Sebugwawo trekked Kampala’s streets in a bid to register the new enterprise. In January 2004, The Observer Media Ltd was a fully-registered company.

“Our first office was sheltered under the late Aliro’s wife’s office for about three weeks, until February 2004 when we shifted to Ruth Towers,” he narrates.

The company’s first desks were procured from William street in downtown Kampala and, together with Aliro, Sebugwawo purchased 20 green plastic chairs from Shauri Yako market. Later, office utensils such as cups and a kettle followed. Luckily for the upstart company, the proprietor of Ruth Towers, Edward Kiyenje, offered a section of his building for one month free of rent.

However, The Observer could not pay its new recruits either. It meant that some pioneer employees such as Sebugwawo had to endure up to three months without pay. But for Sebugwawo, the hunger to see a dream come true eclipsed the yearning for monthly wages.

As his colleagues compiled articles for the newspaper’s first issue, Sebugwawo took to promoting a product no one had ever seen.

“We printed many notices and I distributed them with Hassan Badru Zziwa along streets and at the National Theatre. Additionally, I aired aerts for it on Star FM, where I worked part-time until 2007, free of charge for a month even before the first issue had been printed thanks to the kindness of Charles Sserugga Matovu, the then station manager,” he says.

As The Observer marks 10 years, Sebugwawo is already dreaming of other achievements he would love to see.

“In the next 10 years,” he says, “I would want to see the company’s most significant growth being in owning its printing machine and premises.”

Source : The Observer