UCC ACIA Awards

In January this year, James ‘Wire’ Lunghabo blamed bribery at UCC as the cause of the delay in awarding prizes to the winners of the 2017 UCC ACIA awards. However, Pamela Ankunda, the UCC PR personnel came out and dispelled the allegation.

UCC also went ahead and issued a statement in which they claimed that “winners under the ACIA Awards Initiative [only] access prizes following achievement of agreed milestones contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the winners and UCC.”

But, last week, Evelyn Namara tweeted that “next week, we will expose the scam that was awards.” And yesterday, she tweeted a thread with allegations of how the entire initiative is a “scam”.

Evelyn called out Uganda Communications Commission, the authority responsible for organizing the Annual Communication Innovation Awards, for organizing a “scam” initiative “that claims to help innovators in this Country”.

In a threaded post on twitter, Evelyn pointed out that “no award winner has been fully paid.” For awards whose winners were named on the 26th May 2017, that implies over 9 months of waiting.

These fresh allegations, from one of the award winners, raise red flags on the credibility of the awards. Evelyn’s Innovation, M-Voucher, won the ICT FOR DEVELOPMENT AWARD.

M-Voucher’s prize was $7500 and the rest of the other categories winners were supposed to get prizes ranging from an estimated $1,000 to $8000. But, according to Evelyn, they have only received between 50-80% of the entire prize. To receive the remaining amount, UCC is demanding them to finish certain set “milestone achievements”

“After a lot of pressure and many emails, last week the team finally sent us half (50 – 80%) payment. They now still require us to send milestone achievements for them to send the balance,” Evelyn Namara tweeted.

Though, this time around, despite all the rants from disgruntled winners and their supporters, neither UCC nor any of its leaders usually active on Twitter have come out to dispell or acknowledge the allegations. Even when she tagged the Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, under which UCC falls.

What is clear is that most, if not all, of the winners, haven’t received their prize money. Though the reason as to why is not clear given that at first Jame’s allegation was bribery and Evelyn’s is “milestone achievements”.

But, there’s consistency in Evelyn’s complaint and the statement that UCC issued in January when James complained. That is attaching the award to milestones. Perhaps that’s why UCC hasn’t come out to issue another press statement to comment on the issue, yet.

Though both Evelyn and TMS Ruge disagree with attaching the receiving of an award prize to milestone achievements. They argue that once one wins an award, there shouldn’t be any anything attached to it.

Because, as Evelyn tweeted, “once you put up a Gala dinner and announce winners, you are rewarding them FOR the work they already did. Awards are meant to reward someone for the work or achievement they have already accomplished.”

“It’s not an award if I have to beg for it after I won it. Imagine waiting a year to take home your Oscar because you have to pass additional “milestones”,” TMS Ruge tweeted.

You can read the entire Twitter thread here.

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