Photo gallery | The Uganda Canadian Business & Social Convention – A Recap of the 3 Days at the Sheraton Wall Center, Vancouver BC.

Posted July 3, 2012 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Business ~ 123,076 views


Part of the organising committee of the Ugandan Canadian business and social convention.

The Canada Day long weekend in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia is a now in the history books. But it was great to see Ugandans living in Canada congregated for what was dubbed the first Ugandan Canadian Business and Social Convention that had participants travel from Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. From the US delegates came from Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and Boston. There were Ugandans from Switzerland and ofcourse a sizeble delegation came from Uganda and this included both government officials and members from the private sector.

The 3 day event was organised by the Ugandan Cultural Association of British Columbia under the leadership of Ms. Carol Magambo with the assistance of Uganda’s honorary consul to British Columbia Mr. John Halani.  The organizers did well in pulling off what was their first business and social gathering in a city that has been described as the best place to live and certainly a beautiful destination to visit.

John Yap British Columbia’s Minister of State for Multi Culturalism, Ms Carol Magambo UCABC Chairperson and Uganda’s honorary consul to British Columbia Mr. John Halani soon after Minister Yap made his proclamation during the opening ceremony of the convention.

Day One of the 3 day event saw the arrival and registration of the delegates that included government representatives from Uganda, the Ugandan high commission in Ottawa, officials from our US embassy in Washington and ofcourse delegates from Uganda. The Uganda government delegation was led by the Minister in Charge of the Presidency, Hon Muruli Mukasa, others on the team included Hon. Okello Oryem Ag. Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of State in Charge of Northern Uganda Hon. Rebecca Amuge Otengo.

Hon. Okello Oryem Ag. Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs makes his remarks during the opening ceremony.

Although a great success the convention suffered some set backs when more than 150 Ugandans including some official sponsors were denied visas by the Canadian consulate in Nairobi despite the fact  that they had  registered the the convention with the Canadian immigration services while others had their paperwork misplaced by the same consulate causing the convention organisers to petition the government representatives present and their Canadian Members of Parliament for redress.

H.E. Amb. George Abola, Uganda’s Ambassador to Canada welcomes delegates.

The opening ceremonies were held on Friday June 29th with Uganda’s Ambassador to Canada, Amb. George Abola delivering his welcome remarks.  He also introduce the new head of the Diaspora Services Department Mr. Job Elogu who replaces Ms. Bati Kawooya who assumes new responsibilities in Uganda’s embassy in Australia.  He then invited Hon. Okello Oryem Ag. Minister for Foreign Affairs who also applauded the initiative of the Ugandan Canadian community organising such an event.  He also noted that the government recognizes the importance of the diaspora and it for this reason that the Diaspora Services Department was established.

However the delegates were officially welcomed to Van city by British Columbia’s Minister of State for Multi Culturalism Hon. John Yap who reiterated Canada’s commitment as a immigrant nation that wishes to foster trade and development.  Following the official opening ceremony it was then time for DJ Agent Mulda  to entertain the guests as people did some socializing and networking into the night.

Hon. John Yap displays a copy of ‘The Province Newspaper that carried a feature on the Uganda Canadian convention on June 29th.

But earlier in the day following an article that appeared in ‘The Province’ Newspaper highlighting the 3 day convention, a lone protester pitched camp in front of the Sheraton Wall Center Hotel in down town Vancouver to protest Uganda government’s policies toward gay rights.

Day two: On Saturday featured a full day of forums that ranged from Health, NGOs, Education and Immigration to Business. The Later ofcourse generated lots of interest and debate. This session was moderated by the immediate past president of the Uganda North American Association [UNAA] Mr. Moses Wilson and also featured business presentations on investment opportunities in Tourism sector in Uganda. Dr. Andrew Seguya the Chief Executive Officer at Uganda Wildlife Authority was among the presenters of the day and did well in encouraging Ugandans to invest in the Tourism sector especially Uganda’s national parks.

In the evening it was then time to head to the Vancouver harbor for the evening convention boat cruise aboard the luxurious 3 level Magic Spirit were DJs Benarzo from Maine and DJ Paddy from Boston entertained revellers to some old time classics. The cruise which I could only describe as the longest I have been on sailed around the Vancouver harbor allowing revellers to enjoy the spectacular view of Vancouver and the mountains from the waterfront of the pacific ocean.

Day three: The final day of the convention came on Sunday and also featured a discussion on ‘Uganda at 50’ the golden jubilee forum also revisited Uganda’s past, present and future history, This session was moderated by Mr. Ronnie Mayanja. Although there was no official representation from the opposition the audience made a good case of demanding for accountability and service delivery by the Uganda government through representatives present.

Panelists that included Hon. Okello Oryem, Uganda’s Security and Presidency Minister Hon. Muruli Mukasa also offered explanation on the state of Uganda’s security as did the Minister of State in Charge of Northern Uganda Hon. Rebecca Amuge Otengo who laid out the government’s plan for the Peace, Recovery, and the Northern Uganda development Plan following the expulsion of the Kony and the LRA rebels from Northern Uganda.

Hon. Rebecca Otengo, Minister of State in Charge of Northern Uganda

During the Q&A,  questions ranging from corruption, the size of Uganda’s cabinet, Parliament, the restoration of Presidential term limits, President Museveni’s successor to the newly established Kampala Capital City Authority and the government allocation of resources to sectors like tourism were also discussed. What was of particular interest to some Ugandan Canadians was why Uganda continues to create more districts in a country so small compared to Canada which has a bigger land mass but equally the same population size of about 32 million people but has a smaller size of government compared to Uganda.

Ms. Carol Magambo, President of the Uganda Cultural Association of British Columbia gives her speech during the dinner.

The closing ceremonies began at about 6:30pm with an opening prayer from Mr. Amos Kambere followed by the Ugandan and Canadian National Anthems. The Chairperson of the Uganda Cultural Association of British Columbia [UCABC] then delivered her closing remarks thanking all their sponsors and the delegates who heeded to their call. She also stated why Canadian Ugandans were participating in the golden Jubilee celebrations and how the Ugandan community in BC still held onto their Uganda roots inspite of having left Uganda years ago.

Soon after it was time for Uganda’s honorary Consul to the province of British Columbia  Mr. John Halani to invite Uganda’s Ambassador to Canada H.E. Amb. George Abola to welcome the chief guest Hon. Muruli Mukasa who represented the Vice President of the Republic of Uganda at the convention. In his speech the Vice President recognised the value addition the Diaspora continues to bring to Uganda’s national development particularly the annual remittances and the various investments back home pledging continued government commitment toward Diaspora affairs.

Hon. Muruli Mukasa Minister in Charge of the Presidency, Security and Kampala delivers the Vice President’s message as chief guest.

Early evening entertainment was povided by the Heavy Hittaz, a Vancouver based Youth Group led by Mr. Amos Kambere’s son who together with his colleagues did well in engaging and entertaining the audinece to some robotic dances. Dinner was then served that included Matooke, beef stew, irish Potatoes and some dessert. On this one the Vancouver Sheraton hotel team deserves kudos for what was a tasty and well prepared matooke meal.

As the guests dined they were treated to some smooth Jazz music courtesy of Paul Choisil who performed old time classics, ballads and some rhythme and blues music. As a leading Jazz musician on Vancouver’s music scene that too was a great choice of music especially during the dinner time. As the evening progressed it was then time for another entertainer Susan Basemera a.k.a Lady Zani based out of Los Angeles a model, actress and sister to Shanks Vivie D to take to the stage. She then performed a series of love songs that included ‘Ndoowa’ her imaginative love song that proved to be the crowd favorite for the evening.

Ben Keesey the Chief Executive Officer of Invisible Children an invited guest speaker then stepped to the podium and was able to share with the guests some of the accomplishments of Invisible Children including their KONY 2012 Campaign video that went viral creating a buzz within the social media that has now resulted in more than 120 million views worldwide for the Kony 2012 campaign video. He was also quick to acknowledge the mistakes made during the their KONY 2012 Campaign but pledged to continue consulting with the various stake holders on various issues pertaining to their work in East and Central Africa.

Invisible Children’s CEO Ben Keesey delivers his remarks at the Canada convention.

The Keynote speech at the first Canadian Convention came from last year’s top 10 CNN hero for 2011 Mr. Derreck Kayongo a philanthropist whose Global Soap Project recovers discarded soap from hotels and represses it into new bars and distributes it to vulnerable populations throughout the world. Derreck shared the story of his life as a refugee in Kenya to the time he arrived in Philadelphia to pursue further studies and how he has been able to follow his dreams.

Last year’s CNN hero Mr. Derreck Kayongo of the Global Soap project delivers his keynote speech at the UCABC Convention.

In his speech Derreck revealed that recycling soap eliminates a common waste provides free sanitation to people at risk of poor hygiene. He went on to say that hand washing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhea diseases that cause more that 3.5 million deaths in Children every year. He also revealed that his Atlanta registered non profit recently got a donation of 1.3 million dollars from the Hilton Hotels to help expand the non profit’s processing capability.

The partnership with Hilton Hotels will now see more soap distributed across the globe from their two warehouses one in Las Vegas and another in Italy. Since its inception in 2009 the Global Soap Project has distributed more than 25 tons of soap in more than 20 countries. As he concluded his remarks Derreck encouraged his audience to celebrate their heritage and pursue greatness as Uganda’s living in the Diaspora. He also thanked all Ugandans for having voted for him during the CNN Heroes campaign last year.

Following the keynote address Amos Kambere took to the stage recorgnising the entire committee that had helped organise this first Ugandan Canadian Convention. Soon after it was then time for the closing entertainment. First came Roge the Texas based Ugandan musician known for his unique dance moves to entertain the crowd. The climax of the evening however came when Moses Ssali a.k.a Big Size or Munene Munene – Bebe Kool took to the stage performing an array of crowd favorites that included Kasepiki and some of his new music and popular hits.

During his performance Bebe Kool kept pulling out people from the audience and encouraged them to dance along and repeat some of the lyrics in his songs. After about 45 minutes Bebe Kool left the stage and it was then time for DJs Benarzo , Paddy and Agent Mulda to wrap up the first Ugandan Canadian Business Convention in Vancouver with some dance hall music. However judging from the quality of the presentations and level of organisation this was a good start to what might potentially help revive the spirit of annual get togethers across Canada. The convention was sponsored by Western Union, Post Bank, Jukas Construction, The Independent News Magazine from Uganda and UCABC community. UNAA Times now Ugandan Diaspora News was also responsible for convention publicity while DABO TRABO CREATIONS by Timothy Kiwala designed the marketing collateral. A Special thanks to the UCABC organising committee for a job well done.

Uganda Diaspora News team attended the 3 Day Convention in Vancouver and now brings you some of the highlights in pictures from Friday, Saturday and Sunday]

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


    Angela Bukenya

    Well written Mr. Mayanja. Some more highlights that i believe are important to mention is for example the seamless registration system. I believe many of us were very proud of first timers accomplishing such a task beautifully, one which many of us agree is a challenge to many other existing organizations especially the ones in USA. That is a leaf that can be borrowed to improve customer service for others who care.
    I so much appreciated the Canadian government official who understood the group’s disappointment relating to the DENIED visas of more than 149 people. He was more than willing to send the message to the Canadian embassy, and infact he was asked to request for an apology on behalf of those who were denied visas. it was frustrating to listen to how even presenters scrambled to get a visa. It is with my joy that by the end of the grand dinner, the majority (if not all) of the guests offered their signatures and contacts that were added to a petition going out to the Canadian embassy, including a REQUEST FOR A CANADIAN EMBASSY TO BE OPENED IN KAMPALA. I am sure that is achievable.
    The presentation about DUAL CITIZENSHIP was bitter sweet and i hope we can learn more about the list of “YOU CANNOT…” when you attain it. Most cases when the negatives out way the positives, information might be dimmed irrelevant. Not this case! We hope that fellow UGANDANS realize that the “ACT”needs amending especially for the generation that is springing up and live in the diaspora not by choice. At this point, you cannot run for ALL the top offices in UGANDA with a DUAL citizenship. How sad!
    I was very excited about the presentation on Uganda’s wildlife. I was hoping that Mr. Mayanja would post the video that was presented. I suggest that we all put some interest in that asset. it might be recommending a vacation for self, family and friends, or just considering attracting partners. It was practically sold to me, and i can only pray that you all request for the video to be posted. I still hoping that Dr. Seguya will post his power-point presentation to this forum to make his statement clear. It better describes what i would possibly narrate forever.
    I attended every forum and loved each one of them. I am an experienced event planner and i know for sure, it was not an easy job get this product together. I believe the whole team worked so hard and gave in so much than they can ever get back, BUT above all, the event took off.
    I was happy to see many old timers, made friends with lots of people. I specifically thank JUSTUS MIREMBE who not only invited me, but persistently called me to make sure i did not bail out.
    Ronnie, great work you and Tim Kiwala did, and we hope you never give up!

    Ngabi girl!

      Angela Bukenya

      Excuse me for posting an UN-edited document. I thought i would have that option before posting. Now i know better and am embarrassed. Many apologies!


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