Coach Robert Katende and Ms Phiona Mutesi were handed the Uganda Diaspora Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their role in marketing Uganda abroad, through the film, Queen of Katwe, and for rehabilitating a number of street children and giving them an education through chess. The award was handed to the two by the Vice President Edward Ssekandi at the sixth annual Ugandan Diaspora Social Networking Gala and Dinner at Serena Kampala Hotel.
Ssekandi thanked the sponsors of the event which he said is noble since it recognises the work and services of Ugandans in the diaspora who are undertaking professional and semiprofessional activities that are not only marketing them as individuals but the country in general.
Other 2016 awardees included Mr Henry Kerali Rupiny, in absentia, who is the World Bank country director Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone; Ambassador James Mugume, former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign affairs who is celebrating 45 years of civil service and who established the Diaspora desk in the same ministry; Dr Ndaula Kanyerezi Mutema founder of The Clinic at Village Mall who has come back to Uganda to use her professional expertise to treat Ugandans; and Dr Stephen Kaddu Deputy Director Dermatology and Dermatopathology Medical University and State Hospital Graz Austria.
Ronnie Mayanja, the coordinator of the Uganda Diaspora Network lamented the negativity and wrong mindset harboured by Ugandans who refer to them nkuba kyeyos, basamma etc despite the community comprising a sizeable number of professionals who are marketing the country positively.
The night was characterised by performances from artists Winnie Nwagi Michael Ross, Buula, Jackie Akello, Kenneth Mugabi and fashion displays from Arapapa Models led by Santa Anzo and K. Raphael.