By Swalley Kenyi
WHAT was meant to be a press conference to brief Ugandans about the 2014 Commonwealth Games bound contingent, turned out chaotic when sports federations demanded for money to prepare their respective teams for the competitions in Glasgow.
The press conference attended by a representative from President Museveni’s office, British High Commission officials, Ministry of Education and Sports, UOC and National Council of Sports among others saw federation and association officials press NCS assistant general secretary Nicholas Muramagi to give them money that was meant for their preparations.
Government has budgeted sh400m for the games and commissioner of sports Omara Apita said that sh254m has already been released to NCS to facilitate the preparations.
But UOC said that their budget for the games is about sh800m and that they have a deficit of up to sh274m.
Uganda Shooting Federation administrator Ann Mungoma, chairman of Uganda Squash Rackets Association JB Tamwesigire and Uganda Rugby Union country manager Jacob Bukenya among other officials demanded for the money to an extent of Muramagi losing his cool.
Other federation and association officials cheered when Apita said that government funds the games ‘as a matter of obligation’ but booed Muramagi in disapproval.
L-R: FUBA president Ambrose Tashobya, Clark Adam of the British High Commission, Omara Apita and UOC president William Blick follow proceedings intently. Photo by Mpalanyi Ssentongo
President Museveni’s private secretary in charge of sport Norah Nakibuuka reiterated his commitment towards rewarding all medallists. Photo by Mpalanyi Ssentongo
They dismissed Muramagi’s allegation that the federations had not received the money because they had not submitted requirements to qualify for it.
Muramagi said that, “it is true that we received some money. We have given Paralympics sh10m and boxing federation sh2m. We are in the process of disbursing it to the rest as soon as we can but the federations have to meet certain requirements to get the money.”
However, he did not mention what requirements were expected of the respective governing bodies.
The officials were irked to learn that NCS had released sh10m to facilitate training of a Paralympics athletes and officials and sh2m to facilitate training of 10 boxers and officials.
Tamwesigire responded by shouting back, “we are here for the money. We have not got it yet.”
President Museveni’s private secretary in charge of sport Norah Nakibuuka reiterated that the president was still committed to the sh3m reward of every gold medal, sh2m for silver and sh1m monthly.
Uganda’s delegation of 98 that will be led by the vice president Edward Ssekandi will compete in boxing, athletics, badminton, cycling, rugby, shooting, squash, swimming, table tennis and weightlifting.