By Immanuel Ben Misagga
A few days ago, Parliament granted leave to Budiope East Legislator Moses Magogo, who is also the Fufa president, to introduce a private Member’s Bill that will regulate the operation and administration of national sports associations, federations and community sports clubs.
Dubbed the National Sports Bill, Magogo is mooting to dissolve the National Council of Sports (NCS) and reconstitute a new body that will be known as the Uganda Sports Commission (USC).
On paper, this is long overdue and kudos to Magogo for addressing this anomaly to parliament.
However, knowing him from experience, Magogo has never been that goes for a cause without personal benefits. In fact, some of his fiercest critics have already called to inform me about some sinister clauses he wants to introduce but this time round.
I will need concrete evidence before I jump on the bandwagon though. Magogo has of late said he is a changed man who wants unity. So, who I’m I not to give him a benefit of doubt this time when he has showed signs of passing over an olive branch?
It is for that reason that I seek to offer some guidance to Magogo to avoid pitfalls. First, the bill must include the most pertinent sports issue of governance.
Sport has become a base for individuals to eke out a living and often times after tasting power, they never want to leave.
Therefore, the bill must introduce limited terms of office like the case is in other democratic dispensations and moreso because sports leadership is a voluntary job where one is not expected to enrich themselves.
Second, the Bill should ensure free and fair elections at all federations. To ensure this, USC and the Ministry of Education and Sports must be the overseers of the electoral process to avoid manipulation by incumbents.
They should be the ones to compose electoral bodies and guidelines so that they are not discriminative and prohibitive by nature.
Meanwhile, the Ministry must have freedom to investigate public funds given to federations like the case is in Kenya. All federation heads found guilty of mis-spending government funds must be banned from holding office and/or even prosecuted.
What’s more, issues of morality must be looked at. A person found guilty of offenses of a financial nature must not head any sports federation.
Then again, Magogo needs to consult with all Sports Stakeholders and have them participate in the composition of the bill to ensure uniformity.
Lastly, the voluntary nature of sports should create no room for conflicting roles of holding more than one parallel office as is the case today.
These and more views across the sports spectrum should form the wording of the bill.