Speaker Among orders removal of pioneer buses from Namboole land

Pioneer Easy buses at the Namboole Stadium parking space. PHOTO | COURYESY 

What you need to know:

  • Ms Among demanded Namboole's immediate land recovery and cautioned the land board against future unauthorized land allocations.

Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, directed the State Minister of Sports, Mr Peter Ogwang, to collaborate with the Mandela National Stadium (Namboole) management to remove Pioneer buses currently occupying stadium land.

During a Monday inspection of the stadium's renovation works in Bweyogerere, Kira Municipality, Wakiso District, Ms. Among emphasized, “You did not bring the buses here, you don't have a contract with the Uganda Land Commission (ULC), [and neither] did they ask you for permission to lease out the land, we need vacant position and you must have to report to the House tomorrow.” 

“If we have a beautiful smart stadium here, we no longer need scrap. We want to ensure that you and your team give the contractor vacant position,” she added.
This directive follows Mr Ogwang's explanation that the UPDF Engineering Brigade, the project contractor, faced difficulties securing parking for the stadium due to the Pioneer buses' presence. A recent Confederation of African Football (CAF) report had also cited a lack of parking as a shortcoming.

State Minister for Sports Peter Ogwang addresses Speaker Anita Among and Commissioner of Parliament Mathias Mpuuga on the status of Mandela National Stadium during the inspection visit on April 15, 2024. PHOTO | FRANK BAGUMA

According to Mr Ogwang, the ULC leased the land to the Pioneer bus management under unclear circumstances.

“We don't know how much the government of Uganda has gained from these parking over the years but Madam Speaker for us what we want is our land to be brought back,” he said.

Ms Among demanded Namboole's immediate land recovery and cautioned the land board against future unauthorized land allocations.

“The board ensure that land that belongs to Namboole is not used for anything else except for Namboole world, we want to know who leased out the land to Pioneer and how much did the government earn. We shall do a forensic audit to see how much was spent on the project and how much more are we yet to release,” she said.

This inspection follows a recent Parliament debate sparked by the Opposition Chief Whip's concerns on Thursday. The CAF report raised doubts about Uganda's ability to host the CHAN championship and World Cup qualifiers due to the stadium's incompleteness.

Speaker Anita Among together with her delegation inspect Mandela National Stadium on April 15, 2024. PHOTO | FRANK BAGUMA

Ms Among subsequently directed Mr Ogwang to present a detailed report on the renovation progress and accountability for the Shs97 billion project funds approved by Parliament. He fulfilled this request on Friday.

Colonel Godfrey Tukamwakyira, Commandant of the Engineering Brigade, addressed the ongoing renovation works at the tour. He acknowledged steady progress but highlighted funding gaps as a limiting factor.

“We did not have proper cash flow ordered long lead materials that requires a long time, we shall fix them so that facilities are ready for Chan and World Cup qualifier,” he said.

“We increased number of workers casual workers 150. We recruited women as cleaners to enable them get some thine next one week improve to 600 we shall acquire more materials,” he added.

Mr Edward John Miwanga, Board Chairperson of Mandela National Stadium, acknowledged the recent media scrutiny as justified due to missed deadlines based on the latest CAF inspection.

“We shall push and ensure that CAF designated to open this stadium in the tight future,” he said.

Speaker Among assured the Brigade that their remaining Shs17.7 billion balance had already been released to facilitate project completion. Uganda's goal, she emphasized, "is to host the CHAN. In two weeks, the Ministry of Education and Sports should invite the CHAN organizers to inspect this magnificent stadium."

"Their original deadline was May 25, but with the funds released, I've given those two weeks," she said.