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Monday, June 16, 2008

I will be more successful than the apprentice

Ugandan lawyer Deox Tibeingana [pictured] is the only East African among the top four at The Apprentice Africa show. He was fired last Sunday but he told Dennis D. Muhumuza that he’s not worried because he’ll make more money than the ultimate Apprentice.

What was the experience like at The Apprentice Africa?
It was good, educative and tough. We called ourselves “fri-enemies” (a combination of friends and enemies) because you are friends today and enemies tomorrow. I was lucky to have been on Zulu Corp. and I used my skills to pump a lot of positivism into my team and we won most of the challenges.

Do you think you were fired fairly?
The Ceo should have been more objective in his assessment of why we lost. Blessing accused me of being slow and cried. Can you imagine? She didn’t even know what a marketing strategy was. The Ceo was duped and felt I had frustrated her; she was acting. If you look at the track record, I had 10 wins and she had only four. So I feel I was a better candidate but like the Ceo said, he had been forming his opinions and that I was not the right person, so here I am. Critics think Eunice shouldn’t have reached this far, that she has only because Shobanjo is in love with her.

In week 11, The Ceo had the obligation to fire Eunice but he didn’t when it was plain and simple that she had caused the loss of the team. And I don’t think he’s in love with her but as a human being, he could have a soft spot for her.

Did you feel disappointed not winning the ultimate prize?
To be honest with you, there was a time I felt that if I could win just to take the bragging rights, it would have been good enough but right now, the Apprentice is going to get $200,000 and a big SUV which is maybe worth about $50,000. I’m a businessman, I know how to make money. Right now, I’m writing a book and Bank PHB (one of the big sponsors of the show) are willing to sponsor the publishing bit. If I’m able so sell 100,000 copies worldwide each at Shs20,000, that’s Shs2bn whereas the winner of the show after the taxes is going to get maybe Shs200m. At the end of the day, I’ll make more money than the apprentice.

Is the book a business handbook?
It’s basically about what was happening in the house. I take you behind the scenes; things you didn’t see on TV; things they had to edit out because of time restrictions. It’s for fans of the show and it’ll guide future contestants on how to play the game, survive in the boardroom and win tasks as project managers. All this is written in an entertaining way and obviously people will pick some business tips along the way.

Who do you think will win?
Isaac from Ghana is a team player, he wants to win badly and he has played the game so well that he did not step on anyone’s toes. His biggest weakness is that he does not set targets but I still think he will win.

What would you tell Ugandans who want to participate in the show next year?
I encourage them to take the step. One American president said ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country, and The Apprentice Africa is one of the ways in which they can sell our country to the rest of the world. And it presents opportunities you’ll never buy with money.

Who is Deox outside the show and his law firm?
He’s a family man, married to a great lady who has been my best friend for 13 years. We have two boys – Lincoln and Andre. I love going to the gym because of my size – I try to keep it in check. On weekends, I play pool and football and maybe one day, a European team – probably Arsenal could want to use my feet professionally. Ha ha ha!

--Daily Monitor, June 14, 2008