NCS board changes have to be more than skin-deep

National Council of Sports (NCS) chairman Ambrose Tashobya (L) is sworn in by counsel Dams Markmot Kibwanga (C) as sports minister Peter Ogwang looks on. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

NCS, over the years, has pushed in the right directions. The body has overseen the growth of government funding to sports from Shs2.5bn in 2017 to Shs48bn currently.

In December, this reporter visited the New Maritime Training Facility at the Fisheries Training Institute (FTI) in Entebbe.

The indoor facility that is said to have cost $1.45m (about Shs5.51 billion) funding from the Africa Development Bank is testament to what this country can do but a swimming enthusiast cannot fail to have a tinge of regret over the waste that engulfed this project.

The pool area will be fitted with media and analysis rooms, a sizable sitting area and is aimed at teaching boat operators, fishermen and sea men a lot of swimming and diving. These are also aquatic disciplines that should ideally fall under the Uganda Swimming Federation (USF).

The diving pool is about 12 feet deep, which is an expected standard, but in a country with a dearth of Olympic size pools, it is a bit interesting that this facility is 38m long – 12m shorter than 50m.

On asking the ‘technical’ people on site, what informed the 38m, none had an answer except that it was what they were asked to do.

The proposals for this site were debated on the floor of Parliament but none of our politicians thought it wise to consult the technical people of USF on whether such a facility could address a concern.

This has been the story of both private and government investment into sports facilities in this country. Remember Makerere University’s netball arena that hosted the World University Games in 2018?

There have been some somewhat success stories like the temporary 2017 World Cross Country course at Kololo Airstrip which the UPDF engineering brigade constructed with the guidance of Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF).

That is why it was refreshing to hear the State Minister for Sport Peter Ogwang say without exposing details that former National Council of Sports (NCS) board Derrick Namisi has been working on establishing partnerships between the sports bodies and other government agencies to address infrastructure and funding challenges in sports.

Financial cleansing

Namisi did not make it to the new board of seven but Ogwang promised to continue working with outgoing members on various aspects.

Despite contemplating overhauling the whole panel, five of the 11 members of the 2022-2024 board returned with only Ministry of Education and Sports representative Jacqueline Basemera and private sector member Moses Omara Anyii included as new members.

With Ambrose Tashobya maintained as chairperson, Cecilia Anyakoit, long-serving board member Zubair Galiwango, athletes representative Stephen Kiprotich and Gloria Evelyn Piloya, representing people with disabilities, retained, there is enough understanding of where NCS is coming from and where it should be headed in the board.

NCS, over the years, has pushed in the right directions. The body has overseen the growth of government funding to sports from Shs2.5bn in 2017 to Shs48bn currently.

The money was a shock to the entire sports system with various federations having to answer accountability queries. Some of these are still being fought out in the public arena but it is widely believed that most federations and NCS are doing just fine.

“Federations have been operating unprofessionally so we need you to put a strong emphasis on compliance and accountability of government funds. Government cannot also provide all required funds but we need workable partnerships with the private sector and other government agencies.

Going forward, I expect that all money for athletes representing the country is paid directly through their accounts. But Mr. (Moses Anyii) Omara, I am happy to meet you and I hope that your financial expertise will help the board,” Ogwang said.

With the help of federations like Fufa and sports leaders like Moses Magogo, there is also new National Sports Act 2023 and Uganda is now set to host the Africa Cup of Nations 2027 alongside neighbours Kenya and Tanzania.

Other bodies like Uganda Olympic Committee have helped NCS set the tone for sports administration, thereby reducing the wrangling in the sector, and now hope to set pace in the fight against doping.

Infrastructural developments

The area in which NCS has struggled since time immemorial is sports infrastructure but it will likely make or break the new board. Previously, NCS only had control over the Lugogo Sports Complex.

If government is to be believed, then Uganda is set to embark on mass work as far as sports infrastructure is concerned; to develop a stadium in Hoima for Afcon 2027, redevelop Lugogo into a multi-sports facility and when they visited the Budget Committee in Parliament, The Chairperson of the Committee on Education and Sports Hon. John Ntamuhiira, said that the Ministry of Finance should commit Shs100 billion to NCS to facilitate construction of Akii-Bua Stadium in Lira and Buhinga Stadium in Kabarole.

Mandela National Stadium, Namboole is a Shs97bn rehabilitation project while District Sports Officers have severally been asked to secure grounds in their respective areas of operation.

There will likely be more facilities under the watch of NCS as Article 75 of the new act state that; the land on which public sports facilities are situated and the public sports facilities thereon shall vest in the Council. The Article further states that Council shall not sell, lease, mortgage, dispose of or otherwise deal with land on which public sports facilities are situated and public sports facilities, and the land on which the public sports facilities are situated shall not be a subject of execution.

But Article 29 allows Council to develop, manage, operate and maintain these facilities.

It is likely that the new board will be judged on how they handle these facilities over the next four years of their term. Fortunately for them, Article 79 (2) allows them in consultation with the Minister to set regulations for the management of these facilities.

“I have told the chairman that the ball (in terms of executing NCS functions) is entirely in his hands. He must show that he can implement the new law in totality,” Ogwang said at a dinner after the swearing in of the board members on Tuesday.


While addressing the board members, the Minister highlighted that he expects the new board to finally put together a museum for Ugandan athletes.

“Generations to come must be able to appreciate athletes that did well for their country and it is good that you, (world and Olympic marathon champion) Stephen Kiprotich, are part of this board.

You understand the challenges of these athletes. First of all, it is the responsibility of the government to fund all of our national teams but those who excel have to be recognized. Fortunately, this is addressed under the new law in the National Recognition and Reward Scheme,” Ogwang said.

The law requires him to consult with the Ministers of Finances and Public Service to prescribe awards, monetary payments, pension and gratuity for athletes representing the country.

Conflict resolution

In the past, resolution of sports conflicts has almost looked solely like the responsibility of the Minister.

Sometimes NCS’s attempts to reign in on federations backfire turning into full-blown public feuds, which the Ministers have to resolve – sometimes with an iron hand.

The new law is big on arbitration with NCS required to nominate arbitrators among whom the Minister can appoint to handle a given case.

“Everything that we have to implement under the new law will bring pressure to the secretariat (of NCS).

So what I want from the board is a review of all contracts of the staff at NCS because I expect total output from people working here. I want to see NCS become a centre of reference of how a government entity can promote corporate governance,” Ogwang said, explaining that the board will not come down to interact with federations on a day-to-day basis but will require a functioning secretariat.

The Minister and NCS played out the appointment of the new board to the gallery with a publicly relayed swearing-in ceremony and that means there will be more people watching how it works so the changes in operations cannot be skin-deep but penetrative and effective. 

NCS Board Members 2024-2028

Ambrose Tashobya – Chairperson

Stephen Kiprotich

Zubair Galiwango

Cecilia Anyakoit

Jacqueline Basemera

Gloria Evelyn Piloya

Moses Omara Anyii