According to this month’s proceedings in Parliament (3rd October 2023), the Speaker urged the government to fulfill the requirements and conditions set by CAF for Uganda to jointly host the AFCON. Notable among the conditions and what the Speaker emphasized was the construction of two additional stadia in Lira and in Fort Portal or Hoima. This would be an addition to the renovation of Namboole Stadium.
During the discussion that ensued, various MPs tried to make spirited pitch for stadia in their respective areas to be considered among those that would host some of the AFCON games in 2027. It was reported that the MP for Mbarara City, Hon. Robert Rukaari made a frantic appeal to FUFUA and fellow MPs to consider taking the games to Kakyeeka Stadium in Mbarara. What we didn’t hear of was any voice from the MPs from Jinja or Busoga as a whole pitching for either Bugembe or Kakindu Stadia in Jinja.
Now, I am just asking what needs to be done by our political leaders to lobby the government for some of the games to be hosted at Bugembe Stadium?. Bugembe is not only 80km from Kampala but most compelling is that the country will be leveraging this tournament to promote her magnificent endowment, the Source of the Nile. This is a landmark that any of the participating teams from Africa will want to have an opportunity to visit.
Let me say this too. Since Hon. Moses Magogo is the one in charge at FUFA, he should be able to see the benefit for Busoga to use this tournament to have Bugembe reclaimed from the current derelict state and also an opportunity to raise the branded destination status of the Source of the Nile. Magogo and Parliament can play a big role in making this happen. It is all about lobbying and sometimes making some noise for your area.
This is a proposition that all our big leaders in government and the MPs should lobby to have in Bugembe. It will be such a welcome rare opportunity to have that dilapidated and crumbling stadium to be renovated. Besides, the infrastructure from Kampala to Jinja and around Jinja/Bugembe will get the opportunity to be done. The delayed refurbishment of the facilities at the Source of the Nile will be upgraded and that in it will have raised the tourism potential of the country. It will be a win–win for every Ugandan.
In lobbying for the re-development of Bugembe stadium, cognizance must be taken of the fact that over time a number of unpleasant and unplanned developments have taken place at Bugembe. For example, numerous lock ups have been built all around the stadium. However, as the going says, there is a always a silver lining to every dark cloud. If Bugembe is re-developed with business entrepreneurial mind, what should eventually emerge at Bugembe, should be an Ultra Modern Sports & Business Complex which will have the participation of all the current lock up owners.
In the new complex, the current casual businesses that are operating around the stadium will be comfortably accommodated as stakeholders and more business will be generated for them and for the Bugembe Town Council. On the other hand, the Busoga Kingdom, will have acquired a modern and functional stadium that is operational and lucrative. The image of brand of the Obwa’Kyabazinga will have been greatly enhanced.
The foresight thinking should start now because …”linda kiggweeyo …afumitta mukira..”
The author (Edward Baliddawa) is former Member of Parliament for Kigulu South