The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Monday vowed to bring the prayers of sports administrators to the immediate attention of the Tenth Parliament.
In the absence of Union of Uganda Sports Federations and Associations (UUSFA) chairman Moses Muhangi, interim secretary general Robert Jjagwe, led a group of 11 members to present their document to the Speaker.
Among others, UUSFA requested the Speaker to: direct the appropriate committees of Parliament to increase the national sports budget to Shs200 billion; remedy the unfair distribution of funds to sports federations. (For each of the previous two financial years, Fufa has taken Shs10 billion, regardless of the size of the budget.); and repeal the (obsolete) Sports Act 1964 to match the modern sporting dynamics.
In a five-minute response at Parliament, the Speaker lauded USSFA’s effort to articulate the concerns of the sports industry most of which she has learnt of in her previous interfaces with sports administrators and athletes.
Kadaga admitted awareness of the unfair treatment of some federations. She cited that when government offered a bus to the Uganda Cranes, Parliament lobbied for the She Cranes, the national netball team, to get a bus as well. “We thought that would wake them (government) up but unfortunately it did not.”
On the inadequate funding, Kadaga said: “There’s been an increase in the sports budget in the past three financial years. Though it’s not enough, but it’s better than what it was before. So we are alive to the need for more funding for sports,” Kadaga said in the meeting.
Kadaga added that Parliament once considered repealing the Sports Act 1964 but it has not been brought for first reading. She promised to return the Bill to the floor on Tuesday (yesterday).
Asked why the government has not implemented its promises to sports, Aggrey Ashaba, KCCA FC vice chairman and sports enthusiast said sport “has not moved its value to where policy decisions are made.
“Sports leadership should furnish the decision-makers with the relevant information about sport, lobby and pressurise them consistently,” Ashaba said.
Jjagwe, the president of the Uganda Table Tennis Association, told Kadaga that that was the inspiration behind the formation of UUSFA. The body that has been embraced by 42 of the 51 compliant federations, was formed late 2020 and last week received the blessings of sports minister Denis Obua.
Kadaga expressed concern that Ugandan runners have to go to Kenya to train with their competitors because the completion of the National High Altitude Centre in Teryet, Kapchorwa and the Akii-Bua Stadium in Lira have delayed. “But I hope that now you have a bigger voice these concerns will be heard louder.”