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The game of life is a fair one

By Joan Akello

Charles Ocici, Executive Director of Enterprise Uganda spoke to Joan Akello about business and self-development

Any three things we don’t know about you?

I wanted to be a mechanical engineer but my benefactor wanted me to be a medical doctor and I didn’t do well because I changed my combination in the final year. So I instead did agriculture as my first degree and just gained interest in business. I’m a father of twin girls and in Teso I’m referred to as Papa Odwe; that is father of children. I was a tiny naughty child who loved to champion bull fights between large bulls and I’d be the one to charge them. That stopped in Primary Seven.


What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Changing as many lives as possible may be by using your solution or ideas. That is beyond money.

When and where were you happiest?

When I was declared the best MBA student in 125 students from 35 countries and I was the first African to lead such a class and, my sponsors the World Bank told me to get another which was Investment Analysis. I regained my confidence and self belief which was dampened when I didn’t pass well in Senior Six. , Then getting my wife and starting a family.

How did you meet her?

It’s when she had come looking for a job at Uganda Commercial Bank.

What is your greatest fear?

For my children who have stepped into a path where daddy has convinced the world that everybody can be successful and the desire to go back to our ethnic roots by asking for tribal districts and ministers. People may look for external solutions and avoid taking personal responsibility. If you can supply as many water melons as are wanted, you can even buy a plot on New York Street. Don’t use your tribe or gender which is your identity to determine your livelihood.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Over detailed and poor at turning down requests to serve and overstretch my body.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Segregating people based on an economic status. I hate negative company and gossipers.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Shoes (about 14 pairs) and watches, currently I have a Bvlgari.

What is your current state of mind?

My job; my desire is to lift the institution to become Africa’s brand number one on enterprise development. To achieve that; I need to get it a proper home in not more than three years at Namanve.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My height; people say that I’m short.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

One who knows that no matter what background they come from, they can be successful when they explore their talents and competencies.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Independent minded and a go-getter.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Sprinting not the long races, they bring out the adrenaline and speed.

What are your greatest achievements?

To give people hope that it is possible to change any human being economically as long as you identify what is lagging them behind. The game of life is a fair game, everybody is created with the necessary ingredient, so don’t hate your tribe, your neighbour or background, manage your destiny. I empty my knowledge to as many people and will leave a legacy of successful people without giving them a shilling. All stories of successful people apart from those involved in corruption, started with a person. God deliberately prepared me for this by denying me from going into human medicine which would have been a good career but would have denied me a chance from meeting in their happy moments.

Why is there more need for entrepreneurs today?

The society has a more diversified range of needs than 30 years ago. Our appetite for choice has deepened.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

When somebody has failed to look after his own family and himself – to get basics, like food.  That is worryingly terrible.

Who are your favorite writers?

Motivational and inspirational books like Ken Blanchard whose books cover all aspects of self development, finance especially `The One Minute Manager’, `The One minute manager meets the   monkey’, then `The One Minute Entrepreneur’. The Spencer Johnson’s `Who moved my Cheese’. Everyday examples bring excellent lessons, don’t complicate things.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Nelson Mandela, he defied all odds and sacrificed everything else for other’s freedom. Margaret Thatcher left a legacy that truly revolutionalised the office of prime minster in the UK.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Paul Masembe, my former boss at UCB, Late James Mulwana for his advice, leadership and wise counsel.

What is your greatest regret?

Humanity has a very short life span. Time is not enough. If God was to give a human being another 80 years then I would be of great use to the world.

How would you like to die?

Effortless for people around just as Mulwana left. A week before he died he had attended functions. It was as though he just walked out of this world to another level.

What is your philosophy about business?

Business is one avenue through which anybody who has lost anything in their earlier years; like education,  can restore that.

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