By James William Mugeni
I witnessed live the chaotic scenes that led to the death of Ntare Nathan, a pupil of Nakanyonyi primary school on Friday June 20, 2014 in Bugembe Stadium.
Nathan was shot dead as the Police tried to calm students who had got involved in a fight and had begun throwing stones at one another.
Subsequently, the OC Bugembe Police Post Nuwagaba Patrick together with his personnel PC Muchunguzi Julius and Waikabu Alex have been arrested over the Friday shooting at Bugembe in Jinja during the inter- schools athletics competition where one pupil was killed and another injured.
Kibirige Francis is admitted in Mulago Hospital Ward 3B with fatal injuries.
Inspector General of Police and all the security committees were in Bugembe the following day trying to gather evidence and to mourn the slain child. To me all these are trying to treat symptoms other than address the causes.
I attended a sports and health environment workshop by the Uganda Olympic Committee April 10-11, and remember condemning Bugembe as a stadium with its potential of crime may be this death can help to reinforce my submissions.
The Ugandan sports scene has all the potential of crime. The athletes themselves, schools, teachers, head-teachers and spectators fan rivalry other than competitions.
The drug, music and alcohol industry all give the sports scene the fire that is required for crime. Dance hall music plays all through the competition and alcohol easily dispensed.
Disco dancing characterises all athletics scenes and it is not easy to know what is going on whether it is athletics or disco dancing. The crowds can easily be soft target for terrorist.
This, if not well-managed even terrorists can take advantage. So R.I.P Nathan Ntare and quick recovery Kibirige Francis but what are the lessons?
1. The Public Order and Management Act should be invoked for all sports/music alcohol functions in Uganda.
2. All planning of sports should have security involved. This worked very well in Tororo. Tororo used to present the most chaotic scene in the country with a death almost for every game. The current RDC Jinja should have taken lessons from Tororo.
3. Time for games should be spaced. Twenty three schools for one day even is not achievable like the Jinja scenario was a recipe for poor judgment and hence a catalyst for fights. This poor time schedule tells you sports are simply done to pass time.
4. Sports workshops to promote the value of sports be initiated most of these schools have no value in sports I remember as a former national athlete visited one of these fighting schools and the head teacher blatantly told me they don’t have time for me. His school is one those fingers are pointing at.
More can be done to restore the drug, alcohol, and crime filled sports scenes.
The writer is Coach with Fame Athletics Club-Tororo