The 12th National Sports Forum of Sports Federations and Associations was headlined by some tense moments.
The forum, chaired by Sports Minister Hon Peter Ogwang, was held on Tuesday at Copper Chimney in Lugogo.
Ogwang warned Federations heads against wrangles and bad governance, which he said retards the Sector development.
There was a bitter exchange between Table Tennis Association President Robert Jjagwe and National Council of Sports General Secretary Bernard Ogwel, while Netball Federation internal conflicts were exposed.
Jjagwe Brands Ogwel a liar
Jjagwe, during the reactions session, expressed his discontent to NCS as to why some Federations received more funds while others got peanuts and sometimes nothing like his Table Tennis.
In defence, Ogwel said Table Tennis in particular did not respond to accountability issues prior to Commonwealth Games.
This was supported by the Minister who confirmed that No Federation will get Government money which they have not accounted for.
But Jjagwe lost his cool, and speaking in a raised voice, went bare knuckles with Ogwel: “Dear Minister, the big problem with your friend (Ogwel) is he is always telling lies. Where is the letter from NCS that is telling me that my Accountability was denied? It’s not there!”
“That is a blatant lie, we submitted the accountability of Sh41m for Commonwealth Games preparations in coloured copies.
“Secondly, when you deny me further funding, why don’t you tell me that Mr Jjagwe that you requested for more funding but there are problems here come and explain. You just keep quiet? Stop telling lies. Absolute lies. It’s ridiculous.”
The Minister who then calmed an exchange between Ogwel and Jjagwe that had ensued thereafter, said that he was going to handle the matter with an iron hand.
“Whatever has been said here is in black and white, and I am going to submit this to the department of Criminal investigation.
“I want to investigate accountability issues of Table Tennis Association, and I want this to be one of the resolution of this meeting.”
“You see, don’t joke with Government money. There are some laws that govern the management of Government funds. I have seen many forgeries, many Federations heads have gone ahead to forge signatures. But we know and we are going to deal with you.”
Uganda Netball Scuffles Laid Bare
The meeting that lasted for about five hours, started with all members introducing themselves in presence of the Minister.
Aminah Namande, who was earlier suspended by Uganda Netball Federation which she served as the General Secretary, was in presence. Her replacement Francis Bbanya (who is the CEO) was also present and both were surprisingly invited by NCS to attend the event.
Mande introduced herself as the Federation’s General Secretary.
But when Netball President Babirye Kityo Sarah’s turn reached, she disowned Mande and clarified that they no longer have a position of a General Secretary but rather a CEO, a move which was reached at during last year’s Annual General Assembly.
Surprisingly, the meeting proceeded with both members (CEO and the banned GS) present.
During the reactions session, and just after Babirye had hurried out of the room, Mande got the microphone and all hell broke loose.
“I want to ask who is who here in the Uganda Netball Federation? Because I am sure even the CEO Bbanya received an invitation, so which constitution are we following? Is it that of 2012 of which we were elected with the President (Sarah Babirye) who has just ran away or the amended Constitution of 2022? Because, that of 2012, I am the General Secretary but the amended one has a CEO instead.
“So, I want the mother body that is NCS to clarify who is supposed to be here otherwise I am so embarrassed. I am a professional teacher and I can’t come here and someone stands up to say I do not have a General Secretary but rather a CEO when in my Capacity I know I am the GS and we were elected together with her.”
During Mande’s talk, Minister Ogwang made a brief interruption and ordered to call Babirye back into the room.
Babirye returned and reaffirmed that Mande is no longer on the Netball Federation Executive.
Babirye said: “As Netball Federation, we no longer have the position of a General Secretary but a CEO, that was changed in the General Assembly held on February 25 2022. Aminah Mande is still a member of UNF because she belongs to a club, and she participated in that assembly that took her out.”
“What’s happening now is politics. There is more Politics in Sports leadership than even in Parliament where I used to sit.
Babirye said that the Federation informed NCS and Uganda Olympic Committee of the changes that were made in the Assembly.
She added: “This guidance (in the assembly) was given to us by NCS and that is why I said that there is more politics.”
“And I want to go on record once again that Mande was in the Assembly that made the amendments, she participated and even talked but she didn’t challenge the process.”
To give a clear background, Netball Federation banned Mande and then Vice President Richard Muhumuza after the two had called for an Extra General Assembly without the President’s knowledge.
‘No Room For Wrangling‘
In his opening remarks, Minister Ogwang issued warnings to the Federations heads against conflicts.
“National Sports Federations and Associations, I would like to caution you, that wrangling has no room in the drive for sports development in my tenure. Leaders of sports federations should operate within the parameters of the law and the provisions of their respective constitutions/statutes and should avoid ‘blame game’ of their failure to government and or NCS,” Ogwang stated.
“Wrangling has no room in the drive for sports development in my tenure. The leaders of the federations should operate within the parameters of the law and the provisions of their respective constitutions/statutes, and should avoid blaming their failures on government and NCS.
“For the little time l have spent in this docket as Minister of State for Sports, l observed issues of bad governance, failure to respect Constitutions, lack of Accountability and transparency, lack of managerial capacity, lack of direction (no NF Strategic Plans) to mention but a few as hindrances. I would therefore like to see good governance in federations, strategic and responsible leadership, that is transparent, answerable and accountable to all stakeholders.”
Ogwang, in the reactions that ensued told Federations heads that their failure go manage internal wrangles should not be brought to NCS.