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UNAA Causes | The 3rd Annual Uganda Festival Held at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles

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Posted September 6, 2016 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in UNAA Conventions ~ 6,094 views

     

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By Ronnie Mayanja — On the evening September 3rd having attended two days of the UNAA Boston convention I departed for Los Angeles to support another Uganda community gathering this time at the UNAA Causes Convention held on the same labor day weekend at the JW Marriott in downtown LA. As a third convention for this group I was curious to see how best the group had fared from their last convention in New York.

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With very few sponsors yet again,  UNAA Causes that is largely funded privately by Ugandans living in North America held another convention at a magnificent hotel in the center of Los Angeles. Attended by special guests that included the leader of opposition Hon. Winnie Kizza, Hon. Semujju Nganda, the Lord Mayor of Kampala Ssalongo Erias Lukwago, Princess Komuntale from the Kingdom of Tooro and a host of other notable Ugandans. It must be noted that this convention lacked any government representation a sign perhaps that the Uganda government does not and will not recognize the group even though it has now held 3 events and enjoys considerable support among some historical UNAA membership.
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Hon. Kizza did well in recognizing the contribution of the diaspora especially as one of the leading source of foreign direct investment in the country. She acknowledged the remittances but called on the diaspora to actively engage their leaders as a way to end dictatorship back in Uganda. On his part the Lord Mayor also celebrated the Diaspora investments calling upon the diaspora to contribute ideas on how based to plan for and create a modern capital city in the region. They both alluded to the tax payers money spent by the Parliament on Uganda on travel to attend the UNAA Convention in Boston.
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However this did not deter those who traveled to Los Angeles from enjoying the 3 day labor weekend. For a start the guests were treated to entertainment by Naseeb Najib a.k.a Diamond Platinumz a Tanzanian international artist with a cross over appeal who was the welcome act for Friday evening. However it was the much anticipated Africa Business Forum that did not happen due to some logistical challenges even though the hostess, a celebrated BBC award winner and news anchor from Nairobi Nancy Kacungira was already in town.
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On Saturday September 3rd the group then held their endless dinner boat cruise party before returning back to the hotel for more entertainment. With seasoned DJs like Karoli Mpoza, DJ Muhenda from Texas and DJ Kalemba from San Francisco it was then time for Ugandans to dance Saturday night away. Unlike last year this time the sound management team led by Mr. Serumagga a former UNAA elder did not disappoint giving the audience a real test of professional sound.
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However it was the grand finale black tie gala dinner that was perhaps the icing for this UNAA Causes group. From the food to the dinner entertainment that was led by the legendary Ugandan Saxophonist Isaiah Katumwa who wowed the audience forcing some onto the dance floor during their dinner was a major highlight and a touch of class.
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Fashion led by the Paris based Ugandan designer Stella Atal who together with models who represented Uganda, Kenya,Tanzania and Rwanda did not disappoint based on the reaction of the audience to Stella Atal’s outfits. This particular session was moderated by Miss Robyn Kristie a former NTV login presenter and Miss Sheila Gashumba another presenter from NTV.
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Not long after the fashion presentation it was then time for the best Ugandan Mcee in the northern hemisphere to take over the microphone and true to her craft — Nancy Mugga from the UK wowed her audience preparing them for headliners of the evening.  Appearing on stage like a real diva Winnie Nwagi asked her audience if they were ready to have good time. The musawo artist took to the stage performing for a full hour before Nancy Mugga invited another darling of the crowd — David Lutalo to the stage amidst the wild cheers of the fans who had waited for these headliners to perform.
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Soon it was time for the guest DJs to crown the evening treating all the UNAA Causes revelers to the different music genres through the years. The party went on till 3am when the convention finally ended. The group unlike their counterparts in Boston subjected the next convention venue to a vote asking those present to choose between two choices Seattle or Las Vegas.
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For those who had hoped for a reunion those hopes were dashed when it also became increasingly clear that Las Vegas was the preferred destination of choice from all the wild cheers following the announcement of the group’s next convention. However it will be interesting to see if this was a good choice for UNAA Causes that is now in direct competition with UNAA that will be heading to Miami in an election year.
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Overall there was an improvement for UNAA Causes based on the feedback I got though some still pointed to the lack of structures and a clear leadership for the group. Others expressed concern especially beyond entertainment what was the real cause for which the group was now existing.  However following remarks made during the gala dinner by the spokes-person and coordinator of UNAA Causes Mr. David Muwanga there was a promise to those who attend their conventions not to be party to partisan politics.
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 He pledged that UNAA Causes will continue to build on the commitment to keep politics out of UNAA, lower convention costs and put UNAA interests first by focusing on providing first class entertainment the reason why in his view Ugandans gather every year in a thanksgiving spirit and in celebration of their heritage. Although the UNAA Causes team has made it clear that they intend to stay out of politics, the team will need to justify the presence of leading opposition figures at their convention to the UNAA Fratenity and many of their well wishers!
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Ugandan Diaspora News attended the Gala Dinner at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles and now brings you some of the highlights in pictures. Please note a full critic and report card of both events will follow shortly


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.

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