Funding, calls for unity dominate UOC transition day

Monday March 01 2021

Get it going: Donald Rukare (left) and his predecessor William Blick bump fists after the former took over as president of Uganda Olympic Committee on Saturday. PHOTO/ISMAIL KEZAALA

By Makhtum Muziransa

William Blick turned up for the Uganda Olympic Committee’s elective assembly on Saturday to handover the reins in bullish mood.

His successor Donald Rukare was unopposed and so were majority of the new executive members that will lead the association until 2025.

And the mood was perfectly set when National Council of Sports (NCS) general secretary Bernard Ogwel addressed himself on matters sports funding.

“We commit to work with the new leadership. In Rukare, we see a lot of good things so the days of fights between UOC and NCS should be buried forever,” Ogwel said in his endorsement.

“However, the only challenge we have is with funding due to government’s priorities. We agree with sports leaders asking for more funding and we assure you that the Sports ministry has okayed a supplementary budget of Shs20.5b.” 

This budget is mostly to cater for the team headed to the Tokyo Games in July and for preparations for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“For us, funds are for sports development. Do not mix sports with politics,” Ogwel said, in a veiled warning at members of the Union of Sports Federations and Associations of Uganda, who have been seeking the endorsement of NCS as they lobby for more funding from President Museveni.


After Ogwel, Blick started off with the latest challenge his administration has faced – a financial fraud that has led to the loss of over Shs200m from the UOC coffers in recent years. 

A tribunal headed by new second vice president Moses Mwase has been set up to deal with the matter.

“I’ve heard some people like (table tennis president Robert) Jjagwe say they’re not getting money from UOC because it was stolen but that is misleading.
“Eighty-percent of what was stolen belongs to the Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) for athletes’ development. However, UAF have been following the investigations and are not making as much noise as you,” Blick said after telling off boxing president Moses Muhangi for spreading negativity in the media.

Source of funds
Funding is always a topic that never goes away at such gatherings of sports leaders. And it was not long before delegates asked how they could get support from UOC, sparking off a long and impassioned explanation on how the body gets funding from Rukare.

The body, according to Rukare, receives $160,000 (about Shs608m) like all National Olympic Committees world over, from which they pay rent, legal fees, salaries, run specific commission activities and also support federations usually to a tune of $1,500 (Shs5.7m) each. 

UOC can also lobby – as per IOC guidelines – for other projects like Olympic Day, commission activities and technical courses among others.
More funds come from government for Games, member affiliation fees – which he put at Shs7m – and projects where they partner with NGOs. 

A case in point is the recent one with the Italian firm AVSI, from which UOC will get $270,000 (about Shs1b) over three years to support refugees.
“I have again heard that we should give them some of the project money so they buy equipment,” Blick said.
“But UOC will not change the IOC’s strategic objectives to do development work for federations. In any case, IOC budget for these four years have already been passed and IOC are thinking 2028, Uganda cannot change that now.

“Be proactive and go elsewhere to get funds. Stop bickering and fighting other federations like Fufa for what they get from government.”

Meanwhile, in the election, Simon Komakech got only seven votes as he and archery’s Richard Asiimwe (13 votes) were beaten to the post of male representatives on the executive board by basketball head Abdul Nasser Sserunjogi (21) and rugby’s Godwin Kayangwe (19).

Source of funding 

1. Olympic Solidarity    Shs608m
2. Projects funding    Shs2bn
3. Affiliation fees    Shs7m
4. Partnerships          –
5. Govt funding          –