By James Bakama
WHEN Major (rtd) Jessica Alupo was appointed Education and Sports Minister, I was one of those impressed by the development.
Alupo, 38, signaled new life. She was taking over from Namirembe Bitamazire, who at 70, was understandably losing grip of this huge ministry.
As for the sports sector that had for long been marginalized, there couldn’t have been a better substitute than a youthful minister. But even more important, was her military background.
I am one of those who strongly believe in the military way of doing things. Order in the forces is enforced through a strict chain of command. I therefore saw Alupo as someone who would decisively deal with the anarchy in Ugandan sports.
Besides, there were also precedents of military discipline propping our sports sector to unprecedented heights. Uganda’s best sports moments were when Field Marshal Iddi Amin was President.
Those were the times when Major General Francis Nyangweso, Colonel Abdalla Nasur and Captain Mohammed Seruwagi ensured that there was always law and order in sports. This paid off with numerous victories.
So, when there was news last week Alupo was finally going to make a pronouncement on the chaos that has for close to a year had Uganda running two parallel football leagues, I knew that the senior army officer had finally got a lasting solution.
To everyone’s shock, the soldier in Alupo failed to come up with a clear position on the matter. She instead gave a go ahead for both leagues.
Well, if you thought that is ridiculous, what about this. When asked how the champion would eventually be determined from the two competitions, Alupo said cabinet would decide!
Alupo has failed to take a decision on a matter where even world soccer governing body FIFA has pronounced itself. The world body has on several occasions made it very clear that it only recognizes activities of the Lawrence Mulindwa led federation.
By allowing two competitions, Alupo was in effect legitimizing a rebel group. It’s a crisis that in the army can be likened to a scenario where top army officers choose to work with say Joseph Kony.
Just like the army, association football under FIFA has due processes and protocol that affiliates have to fulfill before being accepted.
For instance, in the army you can’t become a General when you haven’t fulfilled certain promotional requirements. Alupo should have considered similar structural basics before her decision.
Or are we expecting too much from Alupo. Could the sports like in her predecessor’s case, be getting too hefty for Alupo?