Minister, NCS plot to strengthen sports at district level
What you need to know:
These are Sports Science graduates but struggle to convince Public Service to pay them as scientists even though they feel they belong through training and practice and have justified their cause with documentation from Makerere University. Subsequently some of them have moved into teaching making the situation worse as some local governments are not even bothered about appointing DSOs.
Minister of State for Sports Hon. Peter Ogwang has promised to empower District Sports Officers (DSO) in a bid to revive the industry at that level.
DSOs, despite being appointed through the Ministry of Local Government and being forced to be subordinate of District Education Officers (DEOs), are crucial in the sports pyramid as they oversee sports at a level where most schools' competition are held.
But in a dossier written by the president of their association (National Sports Officers Association) Mustapha Nsubuga ahead of their meeting with Ogwang and officials from both the Ministry and National Council of Sports (NCS) in Lugogo on Wednesday, they mainly grapple with nine issues.
Career, financial growth
First they lack a promotional structure for career growth as a district needs just one officer. Most also get into the job right after school so "they do not know what to do" and there are no refresher courses to guide them.
Ogwang promised "a retreat in (National Leadership Institute) Kyankwanzi" to ensure DSOs interface with the powers that be and improve their management skills while he also tasked NCS to take over capacity building at regional level.
These are Sports Science graduates but struggle to convince Public Service to pay them as scientists even though they feel they belong through training and practice and have justified their cause with documentation from Makerere University.
Subsequently some of them have moved into teaching making the situation worse as some local governments are not even bothered about appointing DSOs.
Working with peanuts
The finance issues escalate to a point that they receive just Shs40m to run their activities for a year and they would want an increase to at least Shs70m.
Shs10m is meant for capacity building while the balance is also released for athletics competitions; ball games; music, dance and drama (MDD); and scouts at Shs10m per term.
Therefore there is even no money to create District Sports Councils. Ogwang wants the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to take over funding MDD.
According to Michael Oloko, a DSO from Amuria, in the past they asked schools to contribute to district activities but that has been stopped by the Anti-Corruption Unit at State House.
"In fact two of our colleagues in this meeting are on police bond for trying to get money from schools," Oloko said.
The DSOs also requested for motorcycles to get around their districts but there is also gross lack of equipment in local governments while the disciplines they can engage in are few.
"We have been giving the little equipment we have to districts through Members of Parliament but we can adjust and do that through DSOs.
For the money, we have been asking for proper accountability of the Shs40m in order to make a proper case for increments but none of you is providing it.
We want justification through perfomance," Ogwang said as he castigated the DSOs for not following up on talent. None of the DSOs from Karamoja knew about their teenage athletics sensations Rajab Lomutho and Dominic Krop, who are both students at Standard High School Zzana and medallists from the 2002 U-18 World Secondary School Games held in Normandy, France.
Lastly, most districts struggle with facilities as playgrounds are sold to investors. NCS chairperson Ambrose Tashobya, also an architect, said each district needs 11acres of land for sports grounds.
This he said can house one pitch for; soccer, hockey, rugby and handball. But can also have a grass track for athletics, space for basketball and netball. Then later with private funding, it can be developed to host a nutrition centre, indoor games arena and a conditioning centre.
Ogwang promised to initiate meetings with Chief Administrative Officers, Local Council chairpersons (LC5s), so that these lands are secured in all districts by end of July as the new law will require all public land gazetted for sports to be vested in NCS. He will then later meet DEOs to iron out their differences with DSOs.
Issues at hand for DSOs
-No promotional structure
-Need for more recruitment, capacity building
-Need to be paid as scientists
-No district councils
-No transport means
-Not enough equipment, disciplines
-Power clashes with DEOs
District Sports Grounds (Tashobya's Proposal)
-11 acres of land with;
*1 pitch for football, rugby, hockey and handball
-Outdoor courts for basketball, netball