Last Updated on: 16th November 2023, 11:08 am
Lira I The planned exclusion of Akii Bua Stadium from the list of stadiums to host the African Cup of Nations (Afcon 2027) in Uganda has started to backfire.
On Monday, November 13, Lango was shocked after State Minister for Sports, Peter Ogwang announced on Radio stations in Lira City that Akii Bua will not host Afcon in 2027.
Ogwang, however, said the government is committed to building the stadium in a phased manner. Minister Ogwang’s announcement soon disturbed Lango, with cultural and political leaders agreeing to have one voice against the decision.
The leaders have since received extraordinary backing from Lango communities – with some suggesting punishing NRM and President Museveni very severely in 2026.
Akii Bua Stadium was one of the resolutions made by Lango leaders at a conference in 2012. President Museveni attended that conference and later said his government would build the stadium as resolved.
For more than 11 years now, apart from thousands heading Akii Bua ‘Stadium’ in Lira City East on match days, on other days it has been popular only for its “cheap pavilion” built by the government and a perimeter fence built from the generous contribution by Lango.
However, after Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania won their joint bid to host Afcon 2027, aware that Akii Bua stadium was one of the stadiums the government had cited to host the prestigious tournament, Lango sub-region became delighted.
The delight was that finally, Akii Bua Stadium would be constructed to international standards. Another reason for happiness was that local businesses in Northern Uganda would be boosted, including job creation.
Unfortunately, Lango and Northern Uganda’s happiness was broken on November 13.
Has Lango been betrayed?
Several people who have spoken to tndNews have expressed their dissatisfaction on the issue and have asked the Speaker of Parliament, Annet Anita Among to allow and give a platform to Lango MPs to express their wider concerns.
The appeals come hours after Lango MPs had addressed Journalists at Parliament on Wednesday and gave the government a 7-day ultimatum to reverse their decision. Lango MPs have also demanded to meet President Yoweri Museveni on the same since he promised Lango Akii Bua Stadium.
After the presser, the Speaker seemed disappointed with Lango MPs and warned them. Here is one of the communications she issued:
“Hon. Members, my attention has been drawn to a Press Conference by some Members of Parliament regarding the hosting of AFCON 2027. I urge Members not to speculate about decisions regarding the venues of the Tournament. There are specific requirements by the Confederation of the African Football to qualify hosting venues. The matters being raised by the Members can be addressed as an appropriate platform and not necessarily through a Press Conference.”
On Wednesday night, we published a story revealing how the government and FUFA have clashed on the exclusion of Akii Bua Stadium after a proposal by the football governing body to instead build a new stadium on its 100% owned land in Hoima City.
The land FUFA has proposed to the government is only 11 acres to Akii Bua Stadium’s 48 acres. A reliable source revealed to us how dissatisfied the government is at FUFA and why – or if they must accept their proposal – things they (FUFA) must do.
Speaker Among rushes to defend FUFA
“The Speaker was emotional in her communications to Lango MPs; she needed not to have said what she said. First of all, FUFA must accept it erred by omitting Akii Bua Stadium because, for years, Lango has been pressuring the government. This is the only chance for NRM and President Museveni to reward Lango,” a senior Presidential advisor who asked to remain anonymous because of the hotness of the issue, says.
“We are now aware she (the Speaker) is taking sides and defending FUFA President. Her reactions toward Lango MPs’ press conference on Wednesday said it all. There are shreds of evidence to prove that FUFA wants to influence the government to leave Akii Bua Stadium and now they will use threats on whoever speaks louder,” a political leader speaks.
Alongside their leaders, a section of Lango leaders have asked Speaker Among to “go slow” with her criticism of leaders who are opposing Akii Bua Stadium exclusion.
Meanwhile, the government is expected to issue a comprehensive update on Afcon 2027 and address surging anger in Lango sub-region.