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Gov’t, MPs Clash Over Enactment Of Sports Law

Efforts by the State Minister for Sports, Peter Ogwang to stop Moses Magogo (pictured), the Budiope East MP to table a private member’s bill the National Sports Bill, were thwarted by Speaker and lawmakers who accused the Minister of trying to curtail Parliament from carrying out its legislative duties.

This followed a ruling made by Speaker Among who okayed the tabling of the National Sports Bill fronted by Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) Moses Magogo, to table the bill following the 8-month delay by the Ministry of Education and Sports to honour the earlier promise to harmonise with the lawmaker and table one homogeneous bill to regulate the sports sector.

The Speaker said, “I have reflected on the effect of the continued absence of an updated legal regime on the sports sector, which is causing a lot of problems in governance and performance of sports in this country. The introduction of this bill by a private member doesn’t in anyway imply that the legislature has negated its role. We know legislature is doing its role, but where we feel that there is a delay on what we need, we come in.”

However, Minister Ogwang moved swiftly to stop the tabling of the legislation, asking Parliament to grant him another week to allow Cabinet scrutunise the bill before it is tabled before Parliament.

He said, “A lot of work has been done, consultations took place, there was sufficient harmonization on the bill the procedure requires us as parliament that before any bill is brought before parliament it has to go through cabinet. Now for that case Cabinet needs to look at this bill on Monday, and it is from that point that I want to request for the indulgence of this house that I bring this bill after one week.”

Speaker Among fired back reminding him of a precedent set in the 10th Parliament where the Succession Bill was tabled by a private member but during scrutiny, the legislation was taken over by Government.

She said, “So I don’t see any problem for why we should deny the member to bring his bill for first reading. And for avoidance of doubt, the executive still has an opportunity, the Minister talked to me and said he will bring the bill next week. So when he brings the bill next week, the two bills will be discussed together in the committee and they will come up with one bill for the house.”

Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri Municipality) informed Parliament that although the harmonization meeting was held, the two parties didn’t agree and the harmonization efforts were further undermined by the delays by the Ministry to table the Bill as earlier promised.

The Speaker also reminded the Executive of the 62 bills it had promised to table before Parliament, but not even a quarter has been brought to Parliament noting, that Parliament isn’t against the sports bill fronted by Government, but the move to allow tabling of the private member’s bill is intended to have cabinet work.

“We are still waiting for those bills and they haven’t yet arrived. But let us not deprive a private member from executing his role. We can’t have a bill laid on table and delayed for 8months in the name of harmonization, you can still go and takeover at the Committee. Where government feels that the bill isn’t sufficient enough, government can’t take over at committee level,” said Among.

It should be recalled that in December 2021, Magogo moved a motion seeking for leave of Parliament to table a private member’s bill, the National Sports Bill was intended to repeal the 1964 National Council of Sports Act to enable Uganda harness the available opportunities in local and international sports.

Magogo argued that the National Sports Bill would help consolidate and modernise the law relating to the incorporation and registration of national sports organisations and community sports clubs as well as provide for the management, promotion, development and regulation of professional, amateur and recreational sports in Uganda.

“The 1964 National Council of Sports Act is obsolete in comparison with modern trends and demands of international sports. There is need to enact legislation to streamline the incorporation, registration, management and recognition of sports associations and sports clubs as well as national sports associations in order to achieve the objectives of their creation,” said Magogo in 2021.

Among the proposals Magogo made in the Bill was for the creation of a Sports Fund to provide a predictable and sustainable means of funding national sports in the country, as well as creation of a tribunal to settle sports disputes.

The FUFA President also said the Bill will also prohibit vices in sports administration like doping, manipulation of sports results, unauthorized use of sports results in betting as well as abuse of commercial rights of national sports associations and federations.

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