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Saturday,August 08,2020 21:01 PM

The USPA Gala That Was

By Vision Reporter

Added 1st March 2004 03:00 AM

Talk about the ‘blank cheque dinner,’ which was the most used phrase at the Uganda Sports Association Sportsperson of the Year Annual Gala held at the Speke Resort Munyonyo on Saturday night.

Talk about the ‘blank cheque dinner,’ which was the most used phrase at the Uganda Sports Association Sportsperson of the Year Annual Gala held at the Speke Resort Munyonyo on Saturday night.

By Kalungi Kabuye
Talk about the ‘blank cheque dinner,’ which was the most used phrase at the Uganda Sports Association Sportsperson of the Year Annual Gala held at the Speke Resort Munyonyo on Saturday night.
Michael Ezra did not turn up, thus disappointing many people who were hoping to catch a sight of Uganda’s most controversial rich man. Neither did King Oyo, who was supposed to be the guest of honour.
Then the drinks ran out much earlier, unlike the function that ran on for too long. In that way, the long awaited ‘blank cheque’ dinner turned out to be quite something of a blank itself.
The question making the rounds at Munyonyo on Saturday was, just how much was written on that cheque? Obviously not enough, according to the guests, who were forced to buy their own drinks from the bar. Or watch uncoordinated video clips that went on for too long and often cut into the presentation by otherwise excellent hosts Elvis Kalema of Radio One and Sanyu FM’s Seanice Kacungira.
The annual USPA gala has always been something of a bland affair, and this was an attempt to enter the world of glitz and glamour. They are nice guys, these sports writers, but they are amateurs when it comes to event management. And not even a blank cheque was going to change that.
For some reason, the organisers decided to put a little bit of Oscar awards hype into the event, but they did not rehearse the rituals. After the nominees were read out, somebody from the audience was asked to go and open the unsealed envelope with the name of the winner. It did not help that we could see the General Secretary write out the names on small pieces of paper, or that most times the people called upon to open the envelopes were not in attendance.
But there were also moments to remember. Like when Omumbejja Nvanungi came on stage and woke up everybody. And also when Irene Ajambo beat out all the men to take the award for weight-lifter of the year. But it was all too little, too late. And not even Jose Chameleon’s rousing performance at the end brought out much excitement.
And while no one was very surprised that the ‘exclusive sponsor,’ Michael Ezra, got more mention than the athletes that were supposed to be recognised, it got almost embarrassing when The Royals sang a song they had composed in his honour.
It did not make much sense hearing about the kind, rich man with a big heart and a blank cheque when guests were forced to stay on three hours after the bar had closed.
As time goes on, more and more people will want to add glitz and glamour to their events. They should learn from the USPA gala and hire professional people to organise them. Because not even a ‘blank cheque’ will change that.
Ends

The USPA Gala That Was

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