President Museveni has directed the Ministry of Education and Sports to handover Nakivubo stadium to an investor for redevelopment.
In a March 2 letter to Education minister Jessica Alupo, the President said he was endorsing the redevelopment of the stadium since it was in a sorry state to the extent that “FIFA banned it from hosting international matches”.
The President referred to his January 12 meeting with Mr Hamis Kiggundu, who handed him a proposal to redevelop the whole stadium, and the area where three fires have torched the surrounding Parkyard market.
“I am, therefore, directing you to get in touch with Mr Kiggundu and look at his proposal,” Mr Museveni wrote. Mr Kiggundu, the President said, had asked for a 49-year lease processed by the Ministry of Education and Sports in liaison with the Uganda Land Commission. However, the President suggested a Public-Private-Partnership whose discussion “must not include a permanent alienation of the stadium from ownership by government”.
“Another thing which interested me was that he was sure of his own finances to re-develop the stadium without burdening government,” the letter reads in part.
“If Mr Kiggundu is to use his personal money, could he be allowed to build premises for rentals on part of the land and then refurbish the stadium at his cost in exchange? These could be some of the considerations,” the President stated.
Consequently, on March 10, Ms Alupo summoned the chairperson of the National Council of Sports (NCS) for a meeting at the ministry on March 13 to discuss the matter.
It was not readily clear what was discussed during the meeting in the ministry boardroom.
However, Nakivubo Board of Trustees has not warmed up to the President’s directive and has since warned of litigation once Mr Kiggundu is handed the stadium.
Mr Godfrey Mabirizi, who chairs the board, in a March 23 letter to Ms Alupo, said a resolution of the extraordinary meeting on the matter had discovered the President had been fed on falsehoods.
“First and foremost, Nakivubo has not been banned by FIFA and therefore not by any other body since it is the international sports governing body,” Mr Mabirizi wrote.
The board said it only entered a partnership with Mr Kiggundu’s Ham Enterprises (U) Ltd for the re-construction of the perimeter wall, including lockup shops facing the Parkyard Market.
“The land upon which Plot 26 and 28 Nakivubo stadium sits belong to M/S Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium Trustees as registered proprietors. Therefore, Uganda Land Commission does not own the said land, a fact that is well known to Mr Kiggundu. He, therefore, not informing the President about this fact is surprising,” the Nakivubo Board submitted.
The stadium trustees pointed out that they have, following the PPDA and with clearance by the Solicitor General, entered a PPP arrangement with three companies to; build a modern 10,000-seater pavilion (Nterenfune Enterprises Limited), an ultra-modern sitting stand at the Villa - KiRussia side (M/S Future Uganda Limited) and building two other sitting stands (M/S Bestin Limited).
This master plan, he said, was forwarded to KCCA for approval.
“As board, have already pronounced ourselves on the matter. To the best of our knowledge and the powers conferred upon us by the Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium Trust Act 1953, we request that this information be used while considering Mr Kiggundu’s proposal to avoid unnecessary litigation that might cost government loss in terms of compensation,” Mr Mabirizi advised.
It was not possible to get a comment from Ms Alupo as she did not pick our calls while state Minister for Sports Charles Bakkabulindi was reported to be in China. Neither Fufa president Moses Magogo nor federation chief executive officer Edgar Watson pick repeated calls.
But the vice chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Mr Jacobs Opolot, condemned the President’s directive, saying Parliament had already pronounced itself on giving away public land to investors.
“I personally don’t agree with the decision,” Mr Opolot said.
“Parliament recently resolved that there should be no more giveaway of any public land and as a country, we are talking about developing sports, it’s not until we are satisfied with the circumstances under which the stadium is being given away,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.
The Nakivubo War II Memorial Stadium, was first opened in April 1, 1926. The first match to be played in it was between the Uganda Kobs (currently the under 18 Uganda Cranes) and the Uganda National team (Uganda Cranes). The Stadium’s historical name is Nakivubo War II Memorial Stadium.