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Why you should treat Akon’s grand promises with a pinch of salt

Edris Kiggundu

Singer has previously boasted about manipulating African leaders to get what he wants

If you are excited about the futuristic city that Senegalese-American RnB star Akon has promised to build in Uganda, then perhaps you should take a step back and read this.

Over the past week, Akon has been the toast of Kampala, shuttling from one office to another- making grand promises.

Senior officials led by no less than President Museveni have fallen over themselves to give the artiste red carpet treatment.

The highlight of the visit was Akon’s plan of building a futuristic city in Uganda that will use a cryptocurrency founded by the musician, Akoin.

Government officials said they will find one square mile for the city set to be constructed in 2036, 15 years from now.

Then Akon will be 62 years of age.

Yet if history is to be used as a guide, promises made by the music star should be taken with a pinch of salt.

An analysis of previous news reports about the Akon’s grand projects reveals that many of the so called projects rarely take off while those that do are always implemented half heartedly.

To make matters worse, the singer has always boasted that he knows how to find his way around African leaders, many of whom easily fall prey to quack investors because they are unbothered by doing things as simple as a ‘due diligence’.

In 2015 while launching his “Akon Light Up Africa project, the singer boasted that “In Africa, you’ve gotta manipulate them [the leaders]. You have to. You have to trick ‘em. No, like, really: You’ve gotta trick ‘em.”

So manipulation and trickery have always been part of his game.

According to The Guardian, Akon claimed that the project had helped “more than 32 million people” in Africa to gain access to solar electricity, claims the newspaper said that the singer could not verify with tangible evidence.

Then there is controversy about his smart city built in the shape of Wakanda, that he intends to build in Senegal.

When the singer made the announcement in 2018, he said he had been given 2,000 acres by the Senegalese government to construct the city.

BBC reporters on the ground in Dakar failed to trace the land (which is the size of 2,000 football pitches) even when the singer insisted that the land is just five minutes drive out of Dakar.

Later, it was discovered that the artistic impression of his grand city was similar to that ofDiamniadio, the new city currently under development by the Senegalese government.

Then the Dubai based construction firm, Semer Group, that Akon claimed he had contracted to build the city denied having entered into such agreement with the singer, according to a BBC report.

Even details about his proposed futuristic city in Uganda are dodgy.

When NBS TV senior reporter, Canary Mugume asked Akon thrice how much it would cost to build the smart city, the singer dodged the questions.

Therefore before we pop the champagne to celebrate Akon’s latest grandiose promise, we ought to know that the singer has a history of promising too much and delivering too little if anything at all.

Published by Francis L'Oyet

A Ugandan Media Proprietor, Software Engineer, Creative Technologist and Investigative Journalist

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