“Done with phase one and have left God to do the rest. Thank you so much those that have had my back, voted, shared and supported me. I appreciate. Tomorrow is the D-day, whatever the outcome, I am blessed...” that is what Zahara Muhammed Nakiyaga last posted on her Facebook wall before the grand finale of Miss Uganda 2015/16 held at the Kampala Serena hotel last Friday evening.
A few minutes past 1am, the outcome was Nakiyaga being named Miss Uganda 2015. The 23-year-old was a darling with the crowd right from the talent night when she showcased fashion designs using African fabric.
And on Friday, she was on point when it came to her dance moves. She moved elegantly on the runway, but most of all, oozed confidence and intelligence when answering the questions from the judges.
Juliana Nabwobwe and Engrid Ritah Wanyana followed as first and second runner-up respectively. Nakiyaga walked away with Shs 4m from the ambassador of Djibouti, full-board accommodation for two at the Kampala Serena hotel for two nights, a sound system and a Toyota Raum registration number UAX 075P.
Born to Hajji Muhammed Kiyaga, a businessman at city abattoir, and Hajjati Mariam Nabwire, a housewife, Nakiyaga is a third-year student of bachelor of development studies, Makerere University.
“I have wanted to do this for a long time, but I was afraid. I had to consult my father and when I did, he was very supportive and wanted me to pursue my dream. He always encouraged me until the end,” Nakiyaga told The Observer.
Hajji Kiyaga was in attendance, cheering on, together with the audience, every time his daughter’s name was mentioned. By the time the Miss Uganda CEO Brenda Nanyonjo was about to announce the winner, it was so obvious that Nakiyaga had outwitted 20 other contestants.
Nakiyaga now has her focus on the Miss World pageant that will be held in Sanya, China on December 19. Aisha Nabukeera, the contestant that had all the good and bad buzz about her, with many getting sentimental that she should be the winner because of her tragic history, just turned into a disappointment.
As the contestants made their way out to be paraded to the audience, she exhibited uncoordinated dance moves. She failed to do the catwalk before soiling everything at the question-and-answer session.
“Aisha, if you were a TV host, which personality would you want to host?” asked judge Moses Matsiko, the chairman Pinnacle Security.
“I would like to be Oprah Winfrey,” Nabukeera misfired.
She was, however, lucky to make it to the top ten finalists, walking away with the Miss Rising Woman accolade. KFM’s business development manager Roger Mugisha and Radio City presenter Peace Menya were the MCs of the event that started rather late than advertised.
Kickoff was past 9pm yet the organizers had promised that the event would start at 7pm. However, they kept it simple, giving the crowd some comic relief. Comedian Alex Muhangi left the audience in stitches as he cracked jokes about singer Eddy Kenzo, who was in attendance, about his inability to speak English.
There were performances from Miss Penelope who did Stay With Me. Apass came on late in the night, but gosh, the guy is a terrible stage performer. He also needs to work on his wardrobe; he dressed like someone moving out of their house on a Sunday afternoon to go to the nearby shop to buy airtime.
Grace Nakimera was the last performer and, as usual, had well-choreographed dancers. Mirinda, the title sponsors, lived up to their word, having Silk Events handle the production, which they did impeccably.
Miss Northern: Husna Rajab
Miss Western: Diana Nabimanya
Miss Eastern: Bridget Sanyu
Miss Central: Zahara Muhammed Nakiyaga
Miss Beach Beauty: Safina Nakitende
Miss Congeniality: Noeline Naava
Miss Rising Woman: Aisha Nabukeera
Miss Talent: Engrid Wanyana
Miss Sports Queen: Patience Akankwatsa
Miss Personality: Juliana Nabwobwe
Miss Popularity (People’s Choice award): Hilda Nakiyaga
Miss Photogenic: Loyce Namara