David Katana, the general secretary Uganda Judo Association, has high hopes that if Chad’s Abakar Djermah Aumi becomes African Judo Union president it will serve the interests of Uganda and Anglophone Africa in general.
Last week Kampala hosted a section of Djermah’s allies in a two-day reflection summit at Sheraton Hotel, which discussed the need for unity among the highly developed Francophone and the marginalized Anglophone blocs.
Katana said the Anglophone bloc that includes the Eastern and South African zones, has been marginalised, with underdeveloped infrastructure, hence limited athlete exposure.
“Djermah is aware of the fact that francophone countries have enjoyed tremendous progress in the game, unlike their Anglophone counterparts, and he promises unity among the blocks and strategies to bridge this huge gap,” Katana told Daily Monitor.
He added that Djermah promise to create a protocol-based administration also serves Uganda’s interests.
“Under the current administration, if Uganda has a request to the international Judo Federation (IJF), we have to write to the IJF, which caters for 204 member countries. The chances are minimal that Uganda’s cases will be considered in time, unlike when it goes through the AJU, first.
Djermah, the Judo Federation President of Chad and AJU sporting director is running against Madagascar’s Siteny Thierry Randrianasoloniaiko to succeed Mali's Habib Sissoko in the May 18 general elections in Morocco. Sissoko has been AJU President since 2016.
Djermah’s priorities include: promoting development zones in Africa and boosting healthy and sustainable administrative structure; creation of Judo Base for management of zonal competitions and national competitions in each member country; and launching a licensing system at US$10 dollars annually, to generate income to initiate sponsorship contacts with future partners.
Uganda shall host the East African championship next year. “But imagine if we were to host it this year, we only have two standard mats, but other countries have highly developed facilities,” Katana added.
Katana is vying to be the marketing director on Djermah’s executive, but his bid faces uncertainty after UJF president Hebert Musiitwa, who had endorsed him in February, controversially withdrew his candidature last week, a month after the nomination deadline.
To emphasise his commitment to Uganda’s interests, Djermah shared these concerns with Bernard Ogwel, the National Council of Sports general secretary and Uganda Olympic Committee president Donald Rukare during courtesy visits to Lugogo Saturday.
“I would like you to inquire about his (Musiitwa’s) motive and fix the problem as soon as possible,” Djermah said in separate meetings at the NCS and UOC.
“Otherwise, under the circumstances, it is Uganda losing because now it’s neither with us nor with them (our opponents).”
In response, Ogwel promised to treat the matter with due urgency.
“This is a great opportunity for Uganda and anybody who blocks it does not love Uganda and I’m sure it’s going to be harmonized,” said Ogwel.
“I’m going to inform the minister (of sports) to call a crisis meeting to fix it soon.”
Djermah, who visited Togo in mid-March, has already secured the backing of Togo, Ivory Coast and Benin, strong pillars of the Lomé-N'Djamena axis. His other allies seeking elective positions on the AJU excom include Burundi’s Valery Manirikiza, South Africa’s Temba Selvin Hlasho, Tanzania’s Yusuf Mgowe, Gambia’s Solomon Correa, Princess Thobile, the Eswatini Judo President, and for Women’s Commission President under the AJU, among others.
If Djermah wins, he will become the automatic vice presidency Africa seat on the IJF.