Lawmakers sitting on the Committee on Education and Sports have raised concern over plans by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to spend over UGX 3 billion to facilitate activities of the KCCA Football Club in 2024/25.
In the documents tabled before Parliament, the Authority has been allocated UGX 4.083 billion for sports, recreation and physical education. Out of this amount, UGX 10 million is for medical insurance, UGX 25 million will be spent on sports facilities’ development, and UGX 19,250,000 is for community sports.
KCCA has also allocated UGX 872.2 million to support the various sports clubs owned by the Authority including; football, volleyball, basketball, netball and athletics teams. Also, UGX 69.9 million will be spent on participation in East African Local Authorities Cultural Association games.
However, it is the extra Shs3Bn that has been allocated to KCCA Football Club that attracted fury from MPs. Established in 1963 and nicknamed, the Kasasiro Boys, KCCA is one of the most successful clubs in Uganda and currently sits 9th in the 2023/24 Uganda premier leagues season after 15 matches played.
Mbale City Woman MP Connie Nakayenze raised a red flag on why KCCA FC would be handed a huge budget of UGX 3 billion when meagre resources are being allocated to other sports.
I made the comparison, it seems more attention has been put on a club than the communities. Then I want to know, aren’t there other clubs that can be sponsored in KCCA and also other sports; there is netball, which is doing very well, there is basketball, athletics and but only one club of KCCA is taking more than UGX 3 billion, and the community is only getting UGX 19 million. I would like a good explanation on why this is happening to disadvantage most of the Ugandans in Kampala, said Nakayenze.
She gained support from Rakai District Woman MP, Juliet Kinyamatama, who decried the criteria used to allocate funds for sports activities in the KCCA budget.
What was the criteria used in giving out this money and the example is community sports giving it UGX 19 million out of the UGX 4 billion? How do you give KCCA FC UGX 1 billion and again you allocate it another UGX 2 billion?, asked Kinyamatama.
Lillian Paparu, Arua District Woman MP, wondered why only KCCA FC should benefit from state coffers, yet there are several professional clubs across the country that are required to compete with one that is being funded by the taxpayers.
We have clubs across this country, from Arua we have Onduparaka and Arua Hill FC, but I don’t see the Government allocating any single coin to facilitate those clubs. So, I am wondering why we are seated here, allocating money for KCCA Football Club, which ends up competing with my club that I am struggling with in Arua. This allocation for the KCCA Club should be for community sports, or it should be mainstreamed to the National Council of Sports. We can’t be here allocating money for sports to one single club in this country. So, for me, that one is out, she said.
However, KCCA FC is not the only club in Uganda being run by a Government entity, hence getting funds from its budget. The Uganda Prison Service runs Maroons FC, Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) owns UPDF FC while the tax collection body Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) owns URA FC, all competing in the Uganda Premier League.
Also, in the lower leagues, the army also runs Simba FC while the Uganda Police Force runs Police FC which was once a giant of Ugandan football before being relegated.
KCCA defended the decision to give KCCA FC the lion’s share of the sports budget saying the allocation was based on a historical perspective since the club has a big fan base and world over, people appreciate football more than other sports.
They also informed the Committee that the cost of running the football club is very huge, with priorities like salaries for playing, coaching and non-coaching staff.
David Luyimbazi, Executive Director of KCCA, said the budget for sports covers five other sporting clubs.
The community sports that we are looking at includes the clubs, because in the catchment area as part of KCCA FC, we have identified five other clubs; basketball, netball, athletics and so on, he said.
Founded on 12th April 1963 by Samuel Wamala, who was head of the Council’s Sewage Works section in the City Engineering Department, KCCA FC was initially dominated by casual workers in the sewage section but subsequently expanded to cover all departments within Kampala City Council. The club, whose home is the Philip Omondi stadium has turned professional that it recruits players from across the country and outside Uganda.
UGX 38 billion for stadium
Meanwhile, KCCA also raised concern over the Government’s decision not to allocate funds for the planned renovation works on the Philip Omondi stadium, which requires UGX 39 billion. The facility is among those being mooted for training sessions for national teams that will participate in AFCON 2027, a tournament for which Uganda will be a co-host alongside Kenya and Tanzania.
However, Kinyamatama questioned why KCCA isn’t working with the National Council of Sports (NCS) if the same facility will be used for AFCON 2027. She said NCS had earlier informed the Committee that the Government had agreed to develop three major stadia, including Namboole, Nakivubo and Hoima, as well as 11 training facilities for the participating teams during the tournament.
They (NCS) never mentioned that they had KCCA going to develop a different stadium. I am wondering why KCCA is working in isolation without consulting the National Council of Sports. Everything has been set, the Committee has agreed to give them this money to build these facilities that were agreed upon at the highest level, and there comes something different that wasn’t agreed on, so we want to know the impact, if we don’t give this money to KCCA since we have clear, described stadia that have to be developed?, she wondered.
Kashari South MP, Nathan Itungo backed the need to renovate Omondi Stadium, saying such an investment would be cheaper to complete than starting a new venture.
This is the stadium we use as Parliament it is our stadium, they even have thud lights, and you can even play a game at night. They only need a few things to make that stadium, a stadium that can be used. We shouldn’t only look at AFCON as the only tournament for sports, we should look at the bigger picture, said Itungo.
Luyimbazi, in response, denied allegations that KCCA is working in isolation from the NCS, saying before the Council came on board with the AFCON project, the Authority had already started with the renovation works, and the Council only agreed to provide part of what is needed, but not the entire construction.
They (NCS) only agreed to give us the carpets, but they aren’t taking over the entire facility, and we request support so that the facility is completed, he explained.
Luyimbazi told MPs that the facility is not exclusive to KCCA FC but is always used by corporate bodies like Parliament and other organisations.
He also said that before thinking of the facility being a training ground during AFCON 2027, KCCA FC still had to use it for continental competitions, but the current lighting system is not working, hence not meeting the standards set by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).