Gospel Artists Up In Arms Over Northern Uganda Music Awards

Jesse Johnson James

Gulu gospel artists under their umbrella, United Gospel Artists Association (UGAA), are protesting over the results of the recently held Northern Uganda Music Awards (NUMA).

The artists say the award which took place on January  1, 2020 at Pece War Memorial Stadium in Gulu was characterized by  irregularities like awarding artists under wrong categories, a lack of transparency in the nomination processes and alleged bias by the judges, among other other grievances.

Romeo Odong, whose song ‘‘Yoo Leng’’ has been a big  hit is one of the aggrieved artists  and also doubles as Coordinator of the gospel artists. He won two awards at the music awards– best gospel artist and best Lakubukubu song of the year.

“The initiative of rewarding hard work and creativity is very good but when the criteria used doesn’t have a clear system or a yardstick that we can be sure of, then people become dissatisfied,’’ said Odong.

Odong counselled that for the music awards to be credible, it needs have a clear voting system that is known to the artists.

Sunday Olyel aka Freeman Sunday, president of United Gospel Artists Association, said at a press conference at the Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC) that the association has resolved to boycott subsequent NUMA events until the organisers work on the loopholes.

Grace Atim, a Judge at the awards, said ever since she became Judge, artists who don’t win at the awards always complain. Atim noted that the only loophole in the nomination process was that too many artists were nominated.

“Only five artists were meant to be nominated in a category, but you find that per category over eight artists were nominated,” she said adding that the grievances from the nominees will lead to improvements in the subsequent awards.

Northern Uganda Music Award was started 13 years ago by radio presenter and music promoter Juma Jamie Okot with the stated aim of promoting local talent in the Acholi region.