The State Minister for Sports, Mr Charles Bakkabulindi, on Monday reiterated his long-held view that sports should be divorced from other sectors and made a ministry of its own.
The minister is certain that sports would naturally be viewed from different lenses if it attained that status. Mr Bakkabulindi, for all his well-documented controversies, couldn’t have put it better.
Sport globally is a multi-billion dollar industry employing hundreds of millions and raking in colossal sums of money in marketing, image rights, salaries and merchandise.
There is no legitimate reason why Uganda doesn’t pay similar attention to an industry brimming with potential. By adjoining sports with education, science and technology in the latest Cabinet reshuffle, the sports sector’s value wasn’t enhanced. If anything, it was dimmed.
As it is, Education minister Jessica Alupo has to contend with planning and running for all the four. Never mind that Bakkabulindi as the immediate alternate for sports, has his work cut out managing affairs with the Uganda Olympic Committee, National Council of Sports, Fufa, Uganda Athletics Federation, Uganda Rugby Union, Uganda Cricket Association, Uganda Boxing Federation, Fuba, Nakivubo and Namboole stadiums to mention but a few.
Because of ever-present grey areas in the sports governance policy of numerous associations and federations, there is barely adequate time and attention devoted to the most critical issues in sports by the powers that be.
A case in point is the Kipsiro-Wemali saga that has been on-going for a year. It only got overdue notice once it came up in British media. Gone are the days when sports was treated as a second rate industry solely useful for leisure and recreation.
Sports creates national and international ambassadors for the country who elevate their countries on the global map. Stephen Kiprotich is arguably Uganda’s most renowned non-political figure internationally, thanks to his terrific marathon exploits.
The rewards for Uganda from his Olympic and World marathon gold medals are certainly greater than to him as an individual. The Kiprotich example – the other is John Akii-Bua – is a glimpse of what sports can do to a nation.
Unfortunately, we haven’t, as a country, rode on the success of the two aforementioned giants to adequately reap from their world acclaim.
The constituency of sports needs to stand on its own legs that way it will be managed better with streamlined decision making, budget financing and conflict-resolution.
It is a tried and tested model in countries with a rich sporting tradition. For its growth, sports must be divorced from education, science and technology.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor