Hasten regulations for Sports Act – MPs

Legislators have appealed to the Ministry of Education and Sports to expedite the formulation of regulations that will operationalize the National Sports Act, 2022 to help facilitate proper management of the country’s sports federations.

The MPs, who were responding to a statement by the State Minister for Sports, Hon. Peter Ogwang, on the status of Uganda Netball Federation, said several federations were allegedly being mismanaged.

The Minister’s statement on the cancellation of the UNF certificate of recognition by the National Council of Sports (NCS) was presented to Parliament on Thursday 30 November 2023.

Ogwang said the UNF certificate was withdrawn due to failure to resolve governance and leadership challenges within the federation, and failure to inform NCS of the several bank accounts held by the federation through use of alleged forged and unauthorized documents.

“National Council of Sports informed World Netball of this in a letter dated 25 October 2023 and in response, World Netball issued a letter suspending the executive committee of Uganda Netball Federation until such a time when fair and democratic elections are held,” Ogwang said.

He added that the arrest of former UNF President, Sarah Babirye Kityo owing to mismanagement allegations, attracted the attention of World Netball, which suspended her in line with the World Netball Statutes, in a letter dated 30 May 2023.

Hon. Sarah Opendi (NRM, Tororo District) said putting regulations in place to support the National Sports Act will improve sports governance in the country.

“We have had issues around National Council of Sports and various federations alleging that some disciplines are not considered as priorities. I hope these regulations can be fast-tracked so that we have proper management of sports in this country,” Opendi said.

Hon. Samuel Acuti (Ind., Kole North County) called for the establishment of measures within the regulations, to ensure effective conflict resolution at the different federations in the sports sector.

“I pray that in the regulations, if we cannot have the court of sports administration, let us have a committee which is an independent entity that will help to address these issues,” said Acuti.

Hon. Geofrey Macho (Ind., Busia Municipality) urged the Minister for Sports to take advantage of the new sports law to clean up affairs at Uganda Netball Federation.

“Good enough the Bill has empowered you [Minister] and National Council of Sports, so you should use an iron hand and bring sanity back into the field of sports,” Macho said.

Ogwang said the Ministry of Education and Sports has instituted a committee that is working with the Attorney General to finalize the regulations, which he said he would table before Parliament in two months.

He also asked the Speaker to allow the report on investigations into the state of affairs and mismanagement of funds at the UNF, to be presented before Parliament.

“The then president of the netball federation is under police custody as of today and the DPP got cases against her. I want to confirm that she is already appearing in the anti-corruption court because of mismanagement of public funds meant to run the federation,” Ogwang added.