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Education & Sports Ministry Blames Uganda Cranes CHAN Fiasco On Budget Cuts

John Muyingo, State Minister for Higher Education

The Ministry of Education and Sports has blamed the recent threat by the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) to withdraw Uganda Cranes from the upcoming Africa Cup of Championship , on the failure by the Ministry of Finance to avail the Shs17Bn the Ministry requested for to finance sports activities in 2022/2023 national budget.

The revelation was made by John Muyingo, State Minister for Higher Education, while appearing before the Public Accounts Committee to respond to queries raised in the June 2021 Auditor General’s Report, where some MPs tasked the Minister why FUFA was threatening to withdraw the national team from participating in the African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri Municipality) described as embarrassing tweets by FUFA President Moses Magogo to withdraw Uganda Cranes from the continental tournament and questioned Government’s commitment towards funding the sports sector.

“Yesterday, we received very embarrassing news that the Uganda Cranes will not be participating in the in Africa Cup of Nations because of money and it is an embarrassment. When I see such a statement from the Minister and I relate it to that tweet of the FUFA President, I get concerned. Are we taking priority away from sports? There is a national scandal that we are withdrawing that we are withdrawing from CAF and ironically at the time when an African country is about to win the world cup, very ironical,” said Basalirwa.

He was backed by Fredrick Angura (Tororo South) who pointed out the irony of the withdrawal of the national team pointing out that a few weeks ago, President Museveni was filmed juggling football in preparation of Uganda to host a football tournament but Government can’t moblise resources to fund the national team.

“I am meant to understand that a tweet by the FUFA President is declaring that we shall not be participating then that isn’t good,” said Angura.

The concern by the lawmakers followed an announcement made by Magogo of the withdrawal of Uganda from the African Championship where Uganda’s matches against DRC, Ivory Coast and Senegal that were meant to be played in January 2023 had been cancelled, with Magogo warning that the cancellation would come with dire consequences for the national team.

Minister Muyingo in response said, “I think the term budget cuts isn’t new to you. When you look at sports for example, we had budgeted for Shs17Bn, first quarter we didn’t receive anything. Now it has received less than 30%. These are some of the things I was talking about when I said we need your support because with 30% what can you do? First quarter we didn’t receive anything and there was a lot of activities, second quarter it was miserable.”

However, when the same matter was raised by Jonathan Ebwalu (Soroti West) in another meeting before the Education Committee, Minister of State for Sports, Peter Ogwang blocked the debate on the matter and instead asked the Committee to focus on the scrutiny of the Physical Activity and Sports Bill 2022.

Ebwalu remarked, “We are seeing a lot of embarrassment in the country in our federations, not even 48hours ago, Magogo raised a pertinent issue that as a country, we are unable to go and participate in CHAN.”

In response, Ogwanga said, “You invited me here for a specific matter, how I wish you could really guide this meeting procedurally that you restrict Lawmakers to discuss the subject matter why I am here. If they want me to respond any other issues which are related to matters of sports, I am at your service to be invited to speak about all those issues.“

 

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