UGANDA, Arua | Real Muloodi News | The National Council of Sports (NCS) has been granted significant powers under the National Sports Bill, 2023 to assume full control of land hosting public sports facilities across Uganda.
The recent amendment to Section 75 of the Bill aims to protect these sports installations from encroachment and misuse by local government authorities and unscrupulous individuals.
The legislation, spearheaded by Moses Magogo, the President of The Federation of Uganda Football Associations (Fufa), was initially passed on March 2nd this year but was returned by President Museveni, who requested revisions, including changes to Section 75.
President Museveni’s recommendation demanded that Section 75 be revised to include a schedule specifying the location, acreage, and registered proprietor(s) of the sports facilities.
Furthermore, it required outlining the procedure through which the NCS would assume administration of the respective facility.
However, the report on the revised version of the Bill presented by Mr John Twesigye, Chairperson of the Parliament’s Education Committee, recommended the removal of the provision.
Mr Twesigye expressed apprehension that implementing the President’s proposed schedule would suggest that the NCS has already taken over these sports facilities, potentially leading to legal disputes.
He raised constitutional concerns, referring to Article 26 and the Local Government Act, which grant local government entities, through the Uganda Land Commission (ULC), rights over their facilities and the land on which they are situated.
The aim was to avoid legal challenges against the NCS if the provision were incorporated into the law.
Mr Twesigye’s recommendation faced objections during the plenary sitting on Tuesday 27th June 2023. Speaker Anita Among queried his reasons for deletion, emphasising that Section 75 was the only clause safeguarding the land.
This received backing from Mr Joseph Ssewungu, the Kalungu West legislator, who asserted that retaining the provision was crucial to protect the country’s land assets.
He highlighted the significance of ensuring that the NCS has ownership of assets and properties. He also warned against potential theft of land if the clause were removed, using the example of Namboole Stadium, which lacks a clear owner.
Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka supported the retention of Section 75, emphasising the importance of protecting land once it is vested in the NCS.
He argued that the provision was necessary to prevent alienation of the land under the Act, ensuring its continued safeguarding.
Further amendments to the Bill involved the inclusion of archery as a recognised sport in Uganda, aligning it with its inclusion on the Olympic calendar.
Conversely, kickboxing was removed from the list of recognised sports disciplines under the NCS.
Parliament also amended Section 32(2) of the Bill, outlining the composition of the NCS Board. The Board will consist of a chairperson and six members, including representatives from the private sector, the Ministry responsible for Sports, athletes, and national sports associations or federations.
The National Sports Bill, 2023, initially introduced by Moses Magogo, the Fufa President and Budiope East legislator, as a Private Member’s Bill, underwent scrutiny and was first passed on March 2nd this year.
However, it was returned by President Museveni, prompting revisions to certain clauses. The Bill has now been reworked and passed by Parliament, awaiting President Museveni’s assent to become law.
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