Legislators sitting on the Committee on Education and Sports have expressed dismay that the majority of sports facilities in the country are run down with local governments delegating their maintenance to politicians.
While considering the National Sports Bill, 2021, by the Committee on Education and Sports, the law makers proposed that the National Council of Sports (NCS) be granted right of ownership of all sports facilities in the country.
“Some of us own football clubs. Now the town clerk of my district was tasking me to take over maintenance of sports facilities,” the committee chairman, John Ntamuhiira said.
The Busia municipality parliamentary representative, Geoffrey Macho, said that with the right of ownership, the council will cease to depend on the meagre funding from the government as it will collect revenue from the different events hosted in the sports fields.
“National Council of Sports must own land for all the sports fields as it is the case with the neighbouring countries. In that way, you will be able to collect fees from events that take place in the stadia. We want to see an enterprising council that is self-sustaining,” he said.
The Kalungu West legislator, Joseph Ssewungu, said once the sports fields are handed over to the NCS, they will be able to get alternative funding.
“If the council gets these properties, they can apply for loans even from the government and mobilise funds externally. Once we grant ownership to the council, you will see sports flourishing in this country.”
The MPs were also concerned about the continued grabbing of land belonging to the different sports federations across the country.
“The land in Tororo district that was donated to the sports sector by the government of former President Iddi Amin, has been taken away by a politician. We want the council to take full charge of these properties. Uganda Investment Authority owns land under its jurisdiction, Uganda Manufacturers Association owns land titles, therefore, the council must also own land, Macho said.
The Secretary General of the NCS, Bernard Ogwel, said he was advised by the Attorney General that ownership of public land according to the constitution is vested in the Uganda Land Commission or the district land boards.
However, the legislators quashed the Attorney General’s advice saying other government entities own land.
The NCS chairman, Ambrose Tashobya, said that the council was on course with the upgrade of Lugogo Indoor Stadium to international standards.
“Every time we want to host sports as a region, we end up with Rwanda because we do not meet international standards,” he said.