From left, Engrid Wanyama, Zahara Muhammad Nakiyaga and Juliana Nabwowe

From left, Engrid Wanyama, Zahara Muhammad Nakiyaga and Juliana Nabwowe

The 23-year-old was followed by Juliana Nabwowe and Engrid Wanyama as first and second runners-up respectively.

Nakiyaga had been billed as the favourite right from the onset and she seemed to ride very well on that as an advantage against her fellow contestants.

She was well composed during the Q&A (question-and-answer) session, responding to her questions easily before the judges of the night ? Rehmah Kasule, Juliet Epenu (Former Miss Uganda runner-up), Moses Matsiko (CEO Pinnacle Security) and others.

Zahara is a student who hails from Mityana district and has previously said her role model is her elder sister Rehema Aanyu.

She looks up to her because ?I have seen her become an independent woman I pursue to become?. She succeeds Leah Kalanguka as Uganda?s top beauty queen.

The Friday event started off a little late and dragged on for hours deep in the night.

From 21 finalists, the number was whittled down to ten and four regional winners, basing on their stage presence and modeling in outfits designed by local designer Lillian Muganga.

The regional winners were Husna Rajab for Miss Uganda North, Diana Nabimanya (West) Bridget Sanyu (East) and Nakiyaga (Central).

The special awards went to contestant Safina Nakitende for Miss Beach Beauty, Noeline Naava (Miss Congeniality), Aisha Nabukeera (Miss Rising Woman),Engrid Wanyana (Miss Talent), Patience Akankwaitsa (Miss Sports Queen), Juliana Nabwobwe (Miss Personality), Dimit Hilda Nakiyaga (Miss Popularity) and Loyce Namara (Miss Photogenic).

There were musical and comic performances from singers A-Pass, Jasmine Lydia, Alex Muhangi and Grace Nakimera.

Steven Odeke, The New Vision

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