Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) president Dr Donald Rukare, will serve as chairman of National Council of Sports (NCS) for the next two years in a reshuffle made by new sports minister Denis Hamson Obua.
Dr Rukare replaces the Bosco Onyik who served for two full terms since 2016 and will headline a largely new board membership that saw only Cecilia Anyakoit and Zubair Galiwango retain their seats.
Agatha Namirembe, Tom Amiti, Patrick Okanya, William Beyenza, Hassan Mudiiba, Pat Herric Cheborion, Kato Kawuma and police supremo Andrew Sorowen are among those that will not return.
“First of all it is a huge surprise but also an honour to be appointed to this office,” Rukare told Sunday Monitor.
His role means he must directly stop serving swimming – a sport he has participated in as a competitive athlete, local, continental and international administrator and now as a masters’ swimmer.
It will, however, not stop him from serving as general secretary of Uganda Olympic Committee and he will also continue to serve as president of the Cana Zone III swimming region and a member of the world swimming body (Fina) bureau and an arbiter at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).
“I think for someone like me who wants to serve sport on a larger scale, NCS is a bigger playing field than USF and I am ready to take on the challenge,” he added.
It is a public secret that Rukare was not going to contest in the USF elections next year anyway but it is widely claimed that he quietly harboured intentions of replacing William Blick as UOC president.
While he declined to comment on that, what you cannot dismiss is his ambition. NCS gets a leader that is keen on the advancement of sports law and loves to get work done.
Dr Rukare has also been a key figure in trying to stop the endless rifts between UOC and NCS over the years and his appointment will be seen as a major step towards fast-tracking the Memorandum of Understanding that will streamline the operations of both bodies.
Rukare will serve with Stephen Asiimwe, Andrew Owiny Otengo, Gloria Evelyn Piloya, Grace Abalo while the cricket and hockey fraternity for all the trouble they have had with NCS over the use and hiring out of their facilities will respectively welcome the appointments of Paul Luswata, a board member of Uganda Cricket Association, and George William Galiwango, an active player for Weatherhead Historicals, to the board.
Veteran sports journalist and former Monitor sports editor Mark Ssali, also a former basketballer and footballer, is also one of the appointees that received rave reviews from the public.