The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Anita Among has instituted a team to assess the progress of the renovation of Namboole stadium whose delay Members of Parliament said has caused government financial loss.
“We will not keep on budgeting for Namboole before we know what Shs97 billion Parliament appropriated has done; we need accountability” said Among while naming the team on Thursday, 30 March 2023.
The five man team will be led by the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga and is comprised of Hon. Maurice Kibalya (Indep.,. Bugabula South), Hon. Paul Omara (Indep,. Otuke County) and hon. Christine Kaaya (NUP. Kiboga).
The team is charged with visiting Namboole Stadium to establish whether the funds disbursed have been well utilised.
Speaker Among’s directive follows complaints from MPs on what they termed as wasteful expenditure, when Uganda Cranes travelled to Egypt to play its home game against Tanzania.
Among said such expenditure was unnecessary and that funds spent to transport and maintain the Cranes in Egypt would have been put to better use.
“Tell us why we should not hold you accountable for paying to play a game in another country; that was a nugatory expenditure. You should have used that money to play from here,” said Among while addressing the State Minister for Sports, Hon. Peter Ogwang.
Legislators said besides Nambole, government had budgeted for renovation of several other stadia but that implementation has dragged.
“We passed a budget to build a stadium in Masaka district; we are now going to the fourth quarter; we have moved in all the corridors of Ministry of Finance but nothing is being done,” said Kimaanya-Kabonera MP, Hon. Abed Bwanika.
Berdege-Layibi Division MP, hon. Martin Mapenduzi said the renovation of the stadium in Gulu City was meant to commence three years ago but no works have been done.
“It would be fair for government to tell the people of Gulu what happened to the plan to renovate the stadium, because even a consultant had been hired, the designs were drawn but we do not know what happened to the designs,” Mapenduzi said.
The Buhweju County MP, Hon. Francis Mwijukye said government was sending wrong signals by failing to implement projects for which money was been provided.
“Why should we continue to give money for projects you are not implementing? You are telling the public that Parliament appropriates money; we need to send a serious warning to the executive,” Mwijukye said.
Hon. Ogwang said Namboole Stadium was at the moment ineligible to host the Confederation African Football (CAF) games, a reason the Uganda Cranes had to travel to Egypt.
He said he was closely following up the UPDF engineering brigade to ensure renovation at Namboole is complete by June 2023.
“As of now, our focus is to have the stadium ready for our next game which is scheduled on 12 June 2023. Much of the work remaining is on fitting; fitting chairs for example does not take a month. We want the stadium ready by 01 June to satisfy all CAF requirements,” said Ogwang.
In February 2022, the renovation of Mandela National Stadium, Namboole,kicked off with the construction of the perimeter wall after Hon. Hamson Obua, State Minister for Sports and Education, officially handed over the site to the UPDF Engineering Brigade.
The stadium has not hosted any international competition for almost two years since it was banned by the world soccer governing body, FIFA.
The facilities under renovation include the dressing rooms, playing surface, running track, installation of desks and air conditioners in the media and VIP sections, seats in the general public stands, and upgrading floodlights as directed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).
Source: Parliament of Uganda