While the country was fully engrossed in presidential elections last week, a number of key sports enthusiasts and administrators successfully earned their seats in the next parliament after going through gruelling campaigns in their respective constituencies, reports MARK NAMANYA.
Fufa president and Caf executive committee Member Moses Magogo was arguably the headline entrant from the sports sub-sector after he beat incumbent Geoffrey Dhamuzungu in a landslide victory in the Budhiope East race in Buyende district.
Magogo will join sports minister Hamson Denis Obua who retained his seat in Ajuri county, Alebtong district. Other notable names in the upcoming parliament are former national athlete Julius Achon (Otuke East), football agent Geoffrey Kayemba Solo (Bukomansimbi South), Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) and Patrick Isiagi (Kachumbala, Bukedea district).
Magogo told The Observer that his victory will go some way in turning a ‘glorious chapter for sports.’
“For so long, our issues in sports have been discussed and shaped by others,” Magogo noted.
“But now that I will be there together with a host of other incoming MPS who understand the needs of sports, we shall have a greater voice to coalesce and articulate out issues.”
The Fufa president, who travelled to Cameroon on January 19 for the Chan tournament in Cameroon, reiterated that sports will need a stimulus budget from government for the subsector to achieve its potential. Former Fufa delegate Patrick Isiagi says he will initiate the idea of all sports-leaning MPs to meet and plan how the subsector fares.
“It is important that we sit down and understand how we must table the issues that are most critical to sports.
“We need to accept that economically, sports is employment for the youths. Similarly, we can generate external revenue. So, the more voices we have in the house for sports, the better.”
Isiagi, however, acknowledged that there are many other legislators who have helped sports from behind the scenes.
“People like Connie Galiwango and Anita Among have done so much for sports and we hope that we can get more of their like in the house to build a formidable block.”
NUP’s Geoffrey Kayemba Solo has built his name in football circles as a mastermind of transfers for national team players like Khalid Aucho and Emmanuel Okwi. But behind the football agent is a passionate supporter of Robert Kyagulanyi, who came second in the presidential elections.
Isiagi says the sports subsector is colour-blind and issues affecting its development are felt and shared by all Ugandans.
“As sportspeople, we shall unite and agree on the way forward. Sports is non-partisan.”
Kayemba intimated that he will push for tax waivers on sports equipment as well as enhancement of the sports budget. Obua, Magogo, Isiagi and Achon are NRM legislators while Ssewan-yana and Kayemba belong to rival party NUP.
Isiagi, Kayemba, Obua, Magogo and Ssewanyana often travel to support the Uganda Cranes at international tournaments such as the Africa Cup of Nations.