When Cynthia Akazuba and Annet Mahoro emerged winner and runner up in the Miss East Africa Rwandan Chapter in October, they were promised cash prizes of Rwf 1 million and Rwf 500,000 respectively.
However, just a day before they travel to Dar-es-Salaam for the finals, they have not received their prizes, and according to Chris Gakwaya, the CEO of Rwanda Events, the main organizer of the event, it is the Ministry of Sports and Culture that is responsible.
“It’s the Ministry of Culture and Sports that was supposed to award the prizes,” Gakwaya said. “We communicated to the girls that the delay was due to the government process.”
However, the Minister of Sports and Culture, Joseph Habineza, said he was not aware that it was his ministry supposed to award the winners, since the event was organised by a private company.
“I didn’t know about all this, but if that’s the case, I’ll have to follow it up with my finance department to ensure that these two winners get their prizes,” he said.
Akazuba and Mahoro, who are scheduled to travel on Sunday to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania for the finals, confirmed that they had not yet received their prizes.
Akazuba expressed disappointment at not getting her full prize money.
“I was only given Rfw 350,000 and yet I was expecting Rfw1million,” she said. “It’s my money, I should have it all.”
Mahoro was reluctant to talk but said; “though Rwanda Events delayed to honour the pledge, they told us that they are processing the money, and very soon we would get it”.
According to Gakwaya, Rwanda Events has ‘lent’ the two contestants money to facilitate their stay in Dar-es-Salaam where they are expected to compete for the East African beauty crown.
Rwanda Events, a local company was contracted by RENA, a Tanzanian company, to organize the Rwandan chapter of the Miss East Africa beauty contest, slated for this month.
The overall winner of Miss East Africa 2009/2010 will walk away with a Range Rover, worth $165,000.
Other contestants are from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Seychelles, Comoros, and Mauritius.