Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) president William Blick has described as shameful the country’s failure to have a representative at the Commonwealth Sports Ministers Congress. Education and Sports Minister Jessica Alupo and her junior Charles Bakkabulindi were meant to attend the assembly on Monday. But the two government officials only arrived in Glasgow yesterday afternoon. Forty five member countries were represented at the meeting opened by the Commonwealth Secretary General His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma. “It’s a shame. It’s embarrassing and I must say that I am very disappointed,” Blick said after addressing Team Uganda at the Games Village on Monday night.
“Our table was empty with just a flag. What do people think of us? “How do we now start running to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) to ask them for support after this?” he queried. The CGF financially supports member countries. Last year, Uganda received a grant of $100,000 (about Shs256m) to prepare for Glasgow 2014. art of the money was spent on air tickets, according to Blick. “Personally, I got here at midday and went straight to the conference for National Olympic Committee heads. I haven’t rested. “I think our ministers should have labored to attend such an important meeting or sent representatives,” he added.
Keeping focusedAlupo and Bakkabulindi had the Commonwealth Business Forum to attend yesterday but it’s not clear whether they made it in time as they were meant to touch down in Glasgow at 12:55pm. The Forum started in the morning. A comment couldn’t be obtained from the two ministers as they were in transit by the time I filed this report.Earlier, Blick and Norah Kibuuka Nassimbwa, President Museveni’s private assistant in charge of sports, had told athletes in the Village to keep focused.
“The President is fully behind you,” Nassimbwa, a former badminton player, said. “Let’s try to win some medals here and we’ll go back and tell him our problems.“He was very bitter that the ministry requested him for financial support on Saturday, a day before you guys travelled. That’s why your allowances have delayed.”
She confirmed that Museveni had increased athletes’ allowances from $72 to $100 per day but the money couldn’t be flown to Glasgow because of UK’s strict money laundering laws.
“The money is in my office in Kampala. Those who can, send relatives to pick it for you or give us your bank accounts and it will be deposited. If you need it desperately, it can be sent through Western Union but you will meet the costs,” she said.
Officials, however, will only get $72 for 14 days. Meanwhile, head of delegation Vice President Edward Ssekandi, was expected to arrive yesterday ahead of today’s opening ceremony at Celtic Park.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor