By Samuel Sanya
An old adage goes that the best things in life are unexpected. While the annual Miss Uganda pageant is better known for its association with beer and alcohol brands, the 2014 edition is set to be sponsored by none other than the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC).
“The next Miss Uganda will be based on agriculture. A Miss Uganda that is willing to get her hands dirty by doing meaningful agriculture,” Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho (Salim Saleh) who is the commander of OWC revealed on Tuesday.
“I hope the adverts in their promotions will be covered with Cassava, Oranges, Mukene (silver fish) and not beer or whisky,” he told over 300 UPDF officers at their pass out after an agricultural induction course at Makerere University . The officers are to be deployed around the country as zonal commanders under the OWC an initiative by President Yoweri Museveni to improve household income through agriculture.
Brig. Elly Kayanja was among the UPDF officers who were passed out.
Gen. Saleh who introduced Brenda Nanyonjo the Chief Executive of Miss Uganda franchise noted that sponsoring the 2014 Miss Uganda beauty pageant will change the mindsets of Uganda’s youth to focus on agriculture and maximize the enormous income generation opportunities that the sector provides.
Nanyonjo told the gathering at Makerere University’s Main Hall, that the fate of this year’s Miss Uganda fete had been thrown into limbo after last year’s sponsors pulled out of the sh300m rated event. “We were stuck until someone advised that we contact Gen Saleh with a concept on Agriculture. The 5 to 10 year OWC deal is a stitch in time,” a visibly excited Nanyonjo said.
Nanyonjo pointed out that the new- love for agriculture started with previous contestants, Fiona Nassaka who supplied the pageants boot camp with eggs, and green vegetables
She noted that while the pageant is better known for gloss and glamour over the years, they are turning a new page to give their slogan ‘beauty with purpose’ added meaning.
“There is a misconception about Miss Uganda being just about girls doing their nails. Contestants for the next 5 to 10 years will be training young girls to feed themselves while making themselves wealthy,” she says.
“It (agriculture) is a very big change in the mindset of young people especially women.”
. Last year’s winner and reigning Miss Uganda, Stella Nantumbwe walked away with a Mercedes Benz A class whose fuel and maintenance were fully covered for a year.
The beauty queen is also entitled to a monthly stipend worth sh1.5m while the first and second runner up receive sh1m and sh500,000 respectively.