Last Updated on: 18th November 2023, 10:15 am
Lira I The debate surrounding a potential hijack and exclusion of Akii Bua Stadium in Lira City to host the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 2027 is currently a daily topic.
It became a daily topic on Monday, November 13, 2023, after State Minister for Sports, Peter Ogwang’s communication angered Lango sub-region.
Minister Ogwang, during radio interviews, said Akii Bua Stadium will not be built to host Afcon in 2027, revealing that the government is going to construct it in a phased manner.
“Phased manner” immediately angered Lango. Members of Parliament from Lango sub-region had to hold a press conference two days later.
The MPs, among other resolutions, asked to meet President Museveni who made a promise to Lango that his government would honour their resolution stemming from Lango Conference in 2012.
In 2016, preparations work started but soon stalled.
According to some of the available information, a number of reminders have been served to the government and President Museveni in particular about delayed or stalled construction of the stadium.
One of the reminders was communicated in October 2018 in a letter co-authored by the then Minister of State for Sports, Denis Hamson Obua (now Government Chief Whip) and the Kwania County MP, Tonny Ayoo.
In that letter, the duo observes that the structures on the ground and the magnitude of the work done so far are not commensurate to the delegated funds sent by the government to the Lira district local government through the Ministry of Education and Sports.
“…from the 2016/2017 financial year to date, the government through the Ministry of Education and Sports has been remitting funds through delegated funding to the accounts of Lira district local government and so far over six hundred million shillings (shs600m) has been spent and yet what is on the ground is a terrace (pavilion) and a pit latrine,” their letter reads in part.
Among others, the MPs asked the President to provide a projected plan highlighting when the stadium construction is expected to be finalized.
“The construction of Akii Bua stadium was among key development projects demanded by Lango who attended the Lango Conference in 2012 where President Museveni was Chief Guest,” they reminded the President.
The Kwania County MP told tndNews then, in a phone interview that he is equally concerned about the slow pace at which construction work is being done.
With Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania set to co-host Africa’s top tournament under ‘Pamoja’, MP Ayoo, in his latest comment is optimistic that under all costs Lango will get a stadium built by the government.
“We are asking the President after his promise in 2010. It’s 14 years today, we have been waiting and the opportunity has come. Listen to the majority of the people of Lango that have been requesting you and you have promised them. We are always with you,” the Legislator tells the President.
At a press conference on Wednesday, he recalled that the Ministry of Education had done everything and set Akii Bua ready for construction by 2019.
“Now, the main problem that we are facing is that there was no problem until the question of using Nakibubo War Memorial Stadium to host Afcon came in. This is where we want to urge the President that 2.5 million people are crying and there is one businessman, Hamis Kiggundu who is demanding to use Nakibubo War Memorial Stadium to host Afcon. This is why the position of Akii Bua was changed and we think this must be reversed.”
He adds that hosting Afcon at Nakibubo will demand a lot of security and businesses will be affected since it’s in the Central Business District.