By Allan Damba
Democracy and Uganda have over the years been on different trails, the two have often taken different paths and have failed to shake hands at the slightest opportunity.
The case gets worse when Ugandan football gets in the talk, football in the country has failed to recognize the basic principle of democracy: A free and fair election.
It is now 20 years since FUFA last had more than a single candidate vying for the association’s presidency go past the nomination stage.
That was in December 2001 polls as the incumbent, the late Denis Obua went ahead to beat rivals; Hajji Abbasi Kawaase and Michael Okiror to the top seat
There has not been the slackest of competitions for two decades now, the last two Presidents, Lawrence Mulindwa and Moses Magogo have been “saved” the trouble of having any opponents.
In 2005, as Mulindwa ascended to his first term in office, the then incumbent Obua had been locked up due to mismanagement of funds. The celebrated educationist did not have to suffer from incumbent-related issues.
Mulindwa faced opposition in Chris Rwanika but the latter pulled out of the race with days to election, it is actually reported that he was paid to step aside and allow Mulindwa a smooth ride to the Mengo office.
Uganda has only had a new face in this office only when incumbents do not show up. It happened in 2013, as he came to office, Magogo was “untroubled” because Mulindwa had chosen to step away.
All this time, other candidates have always appeared but have almost always ended up pulling out. Reasons rotating around favouritism of the incumbent and unfairness have always been cited.
With the August 2021 elections imminent, the most recent candidates to withdraw are Proline Proprietor Mujib Kasule and Katwe United Chairman and legislator Allan Ssewanyana.
The two were barred from their aspirations as they failed to get past a series of extremely tough conditions to the ballot, leaving the now lone candidate, Moses Magogo.
What then is the barrier?
The answer lies with the FUFA Electoral Code as amended in 2012 but whose core principles had been approved by the FIFA Congress in Zurich on 30th and 31st October 2007.
Juxtaposing with CAF and FIFA on one hand and FUFA on the other, let us uncover the answers to the curious questions.
To be eligible for FUFA president, a candidate needs at least three seconders from members of FUFA as it is stipulated in Article 10, section 6 of the Electoral Code.
“Subject to the fulfilment of eligibility requirements, a candidate to the office of the FUFA President shall only be valid if supported by any three members of FUFA where one member is from the FUFA Super League clubs or FUFA Big League, the other being a member from Special Interest Groups as defined by article 10 in the FUFA statutes and the other member being a FUFA Regional Football Association.”
But, it is always extremely hard to get even one member as they often seem certain directly or indirectly compromised by the incumbent.
“We went to the delegates in Mbale, Mbarara and elsewhere but all the delegates had been made to sign for Magogo(Moses). All the regional delegates were manipulated to sign for him,” an undisclosed source told Football256.
“I sat with delegates from different regionals together with Mujib (Kasule) searching for their mandates to nominate us,” the source said before adding.
“Majority of them were willing to endorse Kasule but they couldn’t because they had all endorsed the man (Magogo)., the agreement was they nominate him and in return, he would support us them in their quest to become delegates,” he asserted.
The source also revealed some delegates got manipulated with money in exchange for signatures to back Magogo.
With FIFA, a candidate for the president’s office needs at least one member association to back them up. It is always certain all aspiring candidates will get seconders.
As per the FUFA Electoral Code: article 40: (section 1), a candidate must have football administrative experience at the top level of at least seven years in the past ten years preceding the elections.
This certainly looks unfair when one digs into CAF and FIFA. The latter two footballing bodies only require two years of the past five years leading to the elections as experience for the candidate.
CAF and FIFA expand the kind of experience needed. For them, it goes past just administrative years of work. Players and officials have the chance to make it to the ballot which is not the case with FUFA.
It is therefore clear that FUFA’s statutes’ body and the electoral code are a deliberate hindrance to candidates who always wish to oust the men in office.