Friday, May 28, 2010

I Am An Ambassador!

A few years ago I interviewed a former diplomat on radio and throughout the interview, the diplomat though retired, insisted I refer to him as Mr. Ambassador. I was later to find out that once somebody has been served the nation at Ambassadorial level, the title “Mr. Ambassador” is theirs for life.

Getting back, in my wildest dreams I never thought I would be an Ambassador. After all, how can I compete on the international foreign policy level when there are people like Minister Sam Kutesa and Ambassador James Mugume still in the picture?
But the calling came – not from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but from a BAT, a company that allegedly manufactures products harmful to one’s health.

When the calling came, BAT was all over my back. They not only wined and dined me they also sought out the services of one of Uganda’s top designers – Paula Butagira, to give me that Ambassadorial look.

And so the big day came when my Ambassadorial skills were put to the test at the launch of Dunhill in Speke Resort Munyonyo. To say I did more than just a sterling job is a gross understatement. I did more than that. I went over and above the call of my Ambassadorial duties.

Two weeks ago I got a call from William Kakaire who peddles BAT products for a living. BAT so he told me, is about to re-launch the Dunhill range and I am invited to the event. Of course I had to be invited to the event! And perhaps William did not know I was a brand Ambassador, but unlike the diplomat I interviewed on radio, I did not berate the young lad for not calling me Mr. Ambassador. Rather, I just let it slide.

So to the event I arrived – minus invitation card, but being an Ambassador, who will stop me for am I not the same level as the Chairman of the Board and the CEO? At the entrance when the 20k-a-night hostess asked me for my invitation card, I smirked at her for not instantly recognizing me, and the conversation that ensued went along these lines.

Ambassador Timothy Bukumunhe: “I am Ambassador Timothy Bukumunhe.”

20k –A-Night Hostess: “What-ee?”

Ambassador Timothy Bukumunhe: “I am Ambassador Timothy Bukumunhe.”

20k-A-Night Hostess: “But they told me everybody must show an invitation card.”

Ambassador Timothy Bukumunhe: “But 20k-A-Night Hostess, I am not an everybody! I am a brand Ambassador, but never mind, let me make a few calls.”

One call later and I was in but, where was all the pampering I got when Dunhill was being launched in Munyonyo for all the BAT employees just walked past me like I did not exist. Worse, I had to stoop so low in that I had to rub shoulders with ‘everybody’s’ at the bar to get a drink then scratch around looking for somewhere to sit. Not cool!

Throughout the event, I was not recognized or even called upon to say a word or two. Not even the CEO or the CFO saw it fit to come and say hello to me which got me thinking. Had I been recalled as brand Ambassador but nobody bothered to tell me. Do they have a new Ambassador who does the job better?

But to the people at BAT, my Ambassadorial services are much sought after by other companies. A simple apology plus a kaveera of Ambassadorial ‘fringe benefits’ would go a long way to soothing my ego otherwise, I might have to take up that offer Philip Karugaba’s TEAN offered me and you don’t want that do you?

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