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By Moses Kaketo

Once upon a time, there were businesses and brands in Uganda that were household brands-if you wanted something in that line-it had to be that brand. Fast forward, these companies and brands have lost it all. While some still exist, they are no longer as popular as they used to be. Read on.

Jomayi Property consultants

The demise of the Father and mother of ‘fly by night’ model of Real Estate business in Uganda, Property Masters left a vacuum, which Joseph Magandazi of Jomayi Real Estate quickly filled up. Jomayi, become a household name in the real estate sector. Over the years, Jomayi helped many Ugandans particularly low-income earners acquire land at affordable prices.

However, it is said, all is not well with Jomayi. Some sources say he got caught up in bad land deals and an extravagant lifestyle that slapped all his capital. Examples of such bad land deals include: Mbalala-Mukono Phrase two, Buloba-Kisamula project,and the mother of all bad deals the Maya-Mpigi land project.

also read: JESA Dairies beats the odds to go global

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The once mighty Jomayi is said to be rocked and bobbed in a sea of debts and land deals gone bad. Jomayi has since scaled down on his activities.

The Observer News Paper

Six years ago, the Weekly Observer, now The Observer had established itself as the only source of analytical, in-depth, and insightful news in Uganda. Simply put, the Observer was the source of untold news. If something happened during the week, you could only get the details in The Observer.

The Paper’s circulation was growing by the day that at one time, competition wanted to stop printing the paper. How do you groom someone who is going to finish you? The paper has since lost it all.

Today, the paper reports just like any other newspaper. And the readers have paid owners in kind. Today, the paper sales an average of 2,500 copies up from 20,000 copies seven years ago. Senior reporters have since left for greener pastures. The paper can best be described as struggling to survive. We wait to see if the yet to be named investor will turn around the paper. The deal is most likely to be completed soon.


Owned by the seasoned entrepreneur Gordon Wavamuno, WBS TV was one of the pioneer private TV stations in Uganda. The WBS TV groomed some of the current TV personalities you admire today on NTV, NBS and Bukedde TV.

WBS TV is no more. Before it closed it had lost market share and no near the top TV’s in Uganda-NTV, NBS and Bukkedde TV. The TV’s share of Spends , according to Ipos had dropped from high a 20 percent in 2011 to below 10 percent. With Bukedde, NBS and NTV take the lion’s share.

The once mighty TV station is now more less a training ground for the rivals. Talk about talent management and employee retention.


READ: How Greed, wheeler-dealing, influence peddling is denying Stanbic Bank shareholders, employees a decent pay

Once upon a time, Unilever’s powder detergent OMO was the only brand in Uganda commanding 100 percent market share. That is no more. Despite the billion-dollar brand global tag, OMO has failed to sustain her market share in Uganda thanks to aggressive competition.

also read: Unilever to re-launch OMO and Sunlight as Magic takes over the market

The once might brand has since lost it to new entrants NOMI, Magic and Ariel. While the brand is still around, Magic, NOMI AND Ariel command lion’s share of the market. Over to you, our readers, when was the last time you brought and used OMO?

Sanyu FM
Sanyu FM broadcasting on 88.2 is one of the first private FM radio stations in Uganda. For those of you in early 40’s, back then, it had to be either Sanyu FM or capital FM. Later came CBS FM, Simba FM and a couple of others.

Some homework for you, Ask ten people in town or friends at your place of work to tell you just three programmes on Sanyu FM. You will be lucky to get two correct responses. The original owners had to sell it to Businessman Sudhir Ruperilia. The latest Ipos research reveals the station is no near the top stations in the country: Radio Simba, Buddu FM, Super FM, Capital FM, CBS 88.8 and NBS radio.

Katumwa Sports centre

Five years ago, if you wanted anything sports, you had to go to Katumwa Sports centre near Arua Park. The Young entrepreneur was the talk of town. Everyone was wondering how the young man with little education managed to make money at such a tender age.

Competition from Chinese and Asian traders has since swept Katumwa and his business under the carpet. A visit to his shop near Arua Park reveals very little activity. Talk about the disappearance of the once might Ugandan entrepreneurs.

Somana Jelly

If there is one Ugandan who understands marketing, he is none other than Ssalongo Kasawuli-the founder of Somana Products. He packaged his product (Somona Jelly) and positioned it properly. Back then, it had no serious competitor. He built his company on just one product-Somana Jelly. The product was in high demand throughout the country-particularly among the low end.

The company sales sharply increased. This brought about complacent. Around the same time, Movit Products Limited was coming up. He learnt from the success of Somana but also used his weakness to boast his company. Today, Movit Products not only boosts of more skin and Hair verities, the company’s products are also sold in Eastern and Southern Africa. Meanwhile, Somana has been relegated.

Picfare industries

Ten years ago, school opening, meant harvest time for Picfare industries. The Picfare exercise books particularly, 48 and 96 pages were in demand. In fact, if you went to the shop and asked for an exercise book-the attendant would not ask you but simply give you a Picfare book.

Times change, competition and changing environment have seen Picfare relegated-Counter books have taken over exercise books. So when is the last time you brought a Picfare book?

The Giant Eagles

Once upon a time, if you wanted to buy a phone, your next stopover would be Giant Eagles on Kampala road. They had phones for all classes. Everyone in town knew about Giant Eagle.

When we were preparing this article, we struggled to locate them. The majority of the people in town we asked had long forgotten about Giant Eagles and thus they did know where they are located. An indication of slow business. When we finally located their shop, their stock tells the story.

And the list of Ugandan brands and businesses living positively continues next time.

Enter Crane Bank:The bank started as a Forex Bureau, along Kampala Road before transforming into a fully-fledged commercial bank. Launched in 1995, Crane bank grew very fast threatening traditional banks like Standard Chartered, Stanbic Bank, Barclays bank –never mind these are multinationals. the bank is no more.

Lessons learnt

Keeping a brand on top is not easy. As a businessperson, you need to constantly innovate to match the changing customer needs, environment and competition. There is also need for succession planning, talent management and retention.

Above all, you need to keep the brand in the faces of consumers through advertising and marketing. Otherwise, every year, there are new consumers coming on board. After 100 years in the market, Coca Cola would not be spending heavily on marketing.

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read: Why Ecobank, NIC bank merger talks failed

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