On 5th May 2020, I opened up on the Ghost Federations/Associations registered under NCS titled NCS should re-evaluate and streamline Sports Federations.

I was surprised to read Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel’s response which in my opinion ignored the gist of my concern to and turn into threats. I believe my opinion was not in any way a representation of the opinion of the organization I serve as president. I was expressing myself as an individual.

This, therefore, means that using the NCS powers to withdraw funding from the Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) and certificate of recognition ‘should I not only mind the affairs of the UBF’ to me only reveals what an autocracy the NCS is.

Dr. Ogwel’s reaction captured on Page 24 of the Bukedde newspaper dated 7th May 2020 interprets my opinion as an attack on the image of the NCS and as a result, the NCS could use its mandate to revoke the UBF certificate of recognition.

Here is my response to Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel as per what was published as earlier stated.

I would like to make it clear that in opinion, I did not take it upon myself to check the recent publication of Associations in Uganda which stands at 48 as per the 2018/19 NCS Annual report on page 36. My argument sought to trigger the NCS re-screen all the associations and confirm that they meet the requirements of a “National Sport”. For instance, a national sport should have nation-wide participation, national geographical coverage, proper structures, and all other measures that are needed.

Unless it is intended to suffocate freedom of expression and objectivity, the duty of the General Secretary, in this case, would be to study my argument, measure the merits and demerits, and where possible present findings that draw a line of defense other than label a genuine opinion as an attack on the NCS.

Secondly, the Association I represent (UBF) meets all the criteria for recognition and funding from NCS. I have always on a timely basis, providing accountability for the funds the UBF receives and put in place the necessary structures required by NCS.

Therefore, it would be inappropriate for the General Secretary to think that by raising my concern on ghost Federations makes the UBF a less qualified organization by mere ‘feelings’.

Boxing is a historical sport and one of the most successful disciplines that commands National coverage and participation in the country. The sport has a good record when it comes to National representation at all international events since 1950. It is very unfortunate for my good friend Dr. Ogwel to imagine that he can withdraw the recognition of UBF simply because of the opinion of its president. My intention was to reveal concerns that affect the general development of the sports sector in Uganda.

From a more professional point of view, I would like to urge my good friend Dr. Ogwel not to be emotional or autocratic while accounting for the NCS. I would rather he responds to the concerns I raised for the better running of the NCS and the entire sports sector.

If indeed there was transparency in the way the NCS operates as per Regulation 17 of the NCS Instrument 2014, there would be an established National Forum for Sports Federations/Associations where I would voice my concerns as a recognized President of an association particularly under Regn (3) (a), (c) NCS SI 2014.

It would be within my right to advise the Minister on the right strategies for promoting sports and the nature of support to be given to National Federations/National Associations.

Therefore, I will not be moved by the threats from the NCS for as long as the point I raised needs urgent consideration.

The NCS’s duty is to solicit funds from Government and other stakeholders to support its objectives under S.2 of the NCS Act. The NCS has recently reported challenges with funding to the sports sector (page 32, NCS Annual Report 2018/19) where it is categorically stated that most National Associations have no other sources of income apart from the government which has inevitably increased the burden.

This calls for headcount and stock-taking of the would-be sports federations beneficiaries in as far as their existence on the ground is concerned not on paper as is the case today.

Why would the NCS recognize a given sport for it to exist and start demanding funding from government? How about asking for support to an already existing sport to support it for further development?

Wouldn’t it be better to scale down on the Associations/Federations and prioritize than have a mass that cannot be supported with the false impression that sport is developing yet in the real sense it is not?

Some countries have gone as far as identifying niche sports to bank on. For example, Brazil has done it with football, India with cricket, South Africa with rugby, and Ethiopia with athletics among others.

It still remains my opinion that the NCS re-screens the Associations/Federations on the listing, and compare them to the requirements that command funding before discussing and implementing the respective guidelines.

The writer is the president of the Uganda Boxing Federation and AIBA ITO

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