Barely two months to the coveted Africa Cup of Nations Championship (CHAN), it has emerged that Uganda Cranes players are planning a sit down strike over an unfulfilled presidential pledge amounting to one million dollars.
The startling revelation was made by Makindye West Member of Parliament (MP) Allan Sewanyana while raising a matter of national importance on the floor of parliament on Tuesday.
Speaking today, Sewanyana ascertained that many National players were promised this money by President Yoweri Museveni at a dinner that he organized for them on August 28 2019 at State House Entebbe. This was in the aftermath of a successful Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) outing.
It is understood that at the 2019 finals that were held in Egypt, Uganda beat Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), drew with Zimbabwe and lost to Egypt to storm the second round. However in the round of sixteen they were ejected by Senegal in a one goal to nil game hitherto bowing out.
Hardly a month to the CHAN competition scheduled to be held in Ethiopia from Apr 4, 2020 to Apr 25, 2020, Sewanyana says players are prepared not to take any excuses.
“The players are asking for that money before they can participate in the coming world cup qualifiers in the coming nation’s cup qualifiers and even the African Nation’Championship (CHAN) which is going to happen in the next one month,” he disclosed.
As such, he called upon government to come clean on this money and when it is going to be availed to players before the worst happens adding that this issue remains a matter of pertinent concern for all sportsmen across the country.
Immediately, the axed sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi rose to defense, “this matter would have been understandable if the complaint came from Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) which takes care of national players.”
Within no time, Bernard Atiku the Ayivu MP resurrected the case of 2002 Junior Steeplechase champion Dorcus Inzikuru, whom he says, was only given a house despite being assured a car about twenty years ago.
Even then, Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu asked where this money shall be derived bearing in mind that there is no allocation to this effect.
“Government expenditure is through a budget. It is not that the president has got some money in the sack there and he gives it at will,” Katuntu asked.
In response, David Bahati explained that resources could either be obtained from the President’s donation budget or they can be appropriated under ministry of education and sports.
David Bahati pointed out that as Ministry of Finance, they were taking stock of all unfulfilled sports pledges.
“So what we are trying to do is to look at all the pledges that have been made in the Ministry of Sports then we increase the budget for sports in the coming months as we process the budget,” he explained.