President Yoweri Museveni, on Tuesday, confirmed that Hamson Denis Obua will remain as the minister of state for sports following the announcement of the new cabinet.
Obua, also Ajuri County MP, was first appointed sports minister in December, 2019, ending the 13-year reign of Workers MP Charles Bakkabulindi.
He will continue to work under the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mama Janet Kataha Museveni.
The new cabinet also saw former Education and Sports minister Maj. (rtd) Jessica Alupo elevated to the position of vice president.
In his 18-months as sports minister, Obua got his hands dirty. First, he ensured that the National Council of Sports (NCS) quarterly sports forum as prescribed by law is held routinely.
UOC vs. NCS
Dr. Don Rukare was tapped by Obua to become chairman of the council of NCS while also serving under their former foe, the Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC), where he is now president. The 41-year old was also visible at multiple sports federations’ events including football, basketball, rugby and badminton among others
However, months after his appointment, the global Covid-19 pandemic struck, sending sports into lockdown.
Significantly, Namboole, banned by international body, Fifa, was turned into a hospital.
The stadium needs Shs90b for renovation, a fight Obua, an orator, took to parliament which granted a third of the sum in the 2021/22 budget.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, NCS, like many ministries and government agencies, suffered budget cuts in 2019/20 and 2020/21 to support other critical interventions. In 2019/2020, NCS lost Shs8b of its Shs26b budget. It was stagnant in the 2020/21 financial year
In terms of telling impact, Obua still has a lot of work to do having vowed to aid the process that leads to the repeal and replacement of the 1964 NCS Act and increased funding to federations.
“There are three sources of funding. The first being the government, then the private sector and finally grants you receive from international bodies,” Obua has often stated.
First in his tray is the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for which the government is yet to release funds ahead of the quadrennial global extravaganza starting next month in Japan.
Thereafter, Obua is expected to embark on projects he oversaw in his two-year reign. Those include the completion of the High Altitude Training Centre in Teryet, Bukwo.
Others are the construction of the John Akii-Bua Stadium in Lira and the Buhinga Stadium in Fort Portal. In 2020, Obua visited these sites and the ministry did feasibility studies.
In addition, Obua needs to invest energy into seeing that sports budget sharing model is equitable.
Football which takes Shs10b of the budget has been under attack by other federations led by boxing’s Moses Muhangi. That band got a new voice this week in netball.
There’s also the long overdue sportspersons’ reward and recognition scheme that needs to be fast-tracked, years after President Museveni directed the line ministry to design it.
Hamson Obua factfile
Name: Hamson Denis Obua
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and Social Administration (UCU), Master of Public Administration (UMI), Diploma in Law (Law Development Centre), Inomo Primary School, Lango College School
Current Constituency: MP, Ajuri County, Alebtong District since 2011
Former Constituency: Youth MP Northern Uganda from 2006 to 2011
Designation: Sports minister since December 2019
Work History: Legal assistant at Atim and Company Advocates. He was then hired as a Senior Clerical Officer, responsible for legal duties, in the office of the vice president, serving in that capacity from 2005 until 2006.