“Motorsport has decided. It’s a dawn of a new era, judge me after one term. It will be we (all stake holders) to repair the damage done on the sport.”
Those were the opening remarks in the acceptance speech by Dipu Ruparelia after he beat three other opponents including Dusman Okee the outgoing president to the presidency of the Federation of Motorsport Clubs of Uganda (FMU) on Saturday.
Jack Wavamunno and Geoffrey Nsamba were the other contestants. Dipu amassed 36 votes, Wavamunno 25, Okee 14 and Nsamba 11.
He went: “The change was needed, I and my team are going to strive very hard first and foremost to involve all stakeholders and ask for their opinions and views and find the way forward.”
“We need to woo back sponsors, establish accountability and put our clubs in order. You could see from this last elections that clubs have not been monitored properly. I am going to task my team that if we are going to clean up the sport there would be no fears and favours.”
Dipu promised the drivers will be his first priority being a former driver himself. “I know what they go through to get tyres or shocks, fuel and sponsorship.”
Dipu promised to stand for one term and after four years he hopes to have put back the sport on the right track.
The biggest cheers were reserved for Leila Blick Mayanja who made history by becoming the federation’s first woman General Secretary. To underline her popularity, she collected the highest votes, 66, in beating Reynolds Kibira for the post. She said her biggest task will be to organise the secretariat.
Jeff Kabagambe defeated Uganda Sports Press Association (Uspa) vice president Leon Ssenyange 44-41 for the post deputy vice president in charge of motorsport while Shemmy Ssenkatuka is the new vice president.
David Katende Ssemakula, who represented the National Council of Sports (NCS) confirmed that FMU will benefit from government funding under specific terms.
“The government demands accountability and audited books,” Katende said.
Earlier, Okee informed the assembly that the government will give the federation Shs300m to run the sport and also revealed that President Museveni will meet the motorsport fraternity at a yet to be confirmed date.
FMU new executive
President: Dipu Ruparelia
Vice president: Shemmy Ssenkatuka
Deputy VPMotorsport: Jeff Kabagambe
Deputy VP cycling: Kisitu Mayanja
General secretary: Leila Mayanja Blick
Asst. General secretary: Earnest Zziwa
“They have to first seek a meeting with drivers to listen to our issues. The outgoing executive didn’t want to listen they were just doing things for their own interests. They should avoid the same mistake. The new executive has former drivers. I hope our problems will be addressed.” Ronald Ssebuguzi
“The 20 years I have been in motorsport, this was a hotly contested election, but I am happy it was nonviolent, which is a plus to the fraternity. I trusted Dipu and because he has the potential to take the sport to another level. He should follow the money government has promised the sport.” Ponsiano Lwakataka
“Motosport has been the most beneficial in this election. Kisitu Mayanja’s international exposure should be put to maximum use. They should work for their interest of the sport. But Jeff Kabagambe should check himself because in the past, he didn’t perform as expected.” Hajji Omar Mayanja