KAMPALA – The Uganda Olympic Committee –UOC has implored Parliament to retain the status quo in the appointment of the National Council of Sports – NCS General Secretary.
The National Sports Council Act of 1964 mandates Council’s supreme organ to fill the vacant position of the general secretary, through advertisement, conducting interviews, leading to the appointment, after the line minister’s picking of members of the board.
However, the Budiope East MP, Hon. Moses Magogo, who doubles as the Federation of Uganda Football Associations – Fufa president, through a private member bill move – the National Sports Bill, 2021 roots for the minister, on the recommendation of the council, to appoint the general secretary.
Dunstan Nsubuga, UOC’s first Vice President, who, last week led a delegation that appeared before Parliament’s Committee on Education and Sports requested legislators to trash Magogo’s proposal, insisting, ‘it would water down the checks and balances at NCS.’
Parliamentarians on Education and Sports committee are currently scrutinising two bills; the National Sports Bill, 2021 and the Physical Activity and Sports Bill, 2022.
“If the minister appoints the general secretary, there will not be checks and balances,” noted Nsubuga.
The deputy chairperson of the committee, Hon. Cuthbert Abigaba, tasked UOC to explain why they would prefer to have the secretary-general selected by the council other than the minister.
“What is your fear in appointing the secretary general? What is your current relationship with the National Council of Sports and is there interference?” he asked.
The position of secretary general, Nsubuga explained, was best occupied by a technical person and not someone simply appointed, adding that issues of allegiance and professionalism would emerge when the council was making decisions.
The NCS mandate incudes developing, promoting and controlling sports activities in Uganda on behalf of government under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Sports.
UOC proposed that it was time that gyms and leisure facilities in the country were regulated as several of them were operating as normal businesses without guidelines from a sports and physical activity angle.
Nsubuga informed the committee that many sports persons use gyms in the country but nobody was regulating them.
He also called for the inclusion of the regulation of electronic (e) – sports like sports betting and gaming among others in the new sports bill saying that this is an emerging area of sports that government should manage.
“If you ignore it (sports betting), then you are going to have a sector that is quite important and influential generating a lot of money that is unregulated,” reasoned Nsubuga.
Besides the appointment of a general secretary, the Magogo bill proposes exorbitant fines and penalties as ‘a measure of deterring the various vices prevalent today in sports administration including doping, violence and hooliganism, manipulation of sports results, dealing with counterfeit sports products, unauthorised use of sports results in betting as well as abuse of the commercial right of national sports associations and federations.’
“A person who, without authorisation of a national sports organisation, captures by camera the still or moving pictures or records by an audio recorder activities of an event or competition organised by a national sports organisation or the member of a national sports organisation, commits an offence and is liable or conviction, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to a fine not exceeding one hundred and twenty currency points, or to both fine an imprisonment,” proposes Magogo in one of the clauses, targeting journalists or media houses. A ‘currency point’ under the law is equivalent to Ugx20, 000.
Unfortunately, not many of the targeted categories of people in the Magogo bill or even their leaders seem to be aware of its content.
“I only heard about it and I don’t thinks it’s a big deal…..Where is he going to implement such and after all we are targeting him as well,” said one of the local media practitioner.