Mandela National Stadium, Namboole playing surface (Photo by John Batanudde). Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

Finally, the missing land titles for the largest sports facility in Uganda, Mandela National Stadium, Namboole were secured.

The Ministry of Lands on the instruction of the Uganda Land Commission has processed and transferred three land titles to Mandela National Stadium Limited.

These titles are in Kyadondo County, Wakiso District and they are; Title number 1 block 234 plot 1334 (1.660 hectares), Title number 2 is on block 234 plot 6086 (12.6410 hectares) and Title number 3 is on block 234 plot 6087 (35.899 hectares).

State Minister for Sports Denis Hamson Obua witnessed the official handover of titles held on Monday, 24th August 2020 at the Ministry of Education boardroom (7th Floor Embassy House).

The Mandela National Stadium land titles being showed off

On Monday, 24th August 2020, Mandela National Stadium, Namboole finally got its land titles after years of protracted pursuit. The land around the stadium was facing encroachment from various people. We have resolved one of the major challenges that the stadium has been facing over the years.

With these land titles available, we believe that the governance and management of the stadium will have to move in a more proactive manner to ensure that land earmarked for national sports facility is reopened is protected against encroaches.

In principle, we want to affirm to you that the needs assessment for renovation and upgrade of the stadium that I announced on behalf of the first lady and Minister of Education and Sports has been concluded in principle. We may not move into principle but we may move into three phases; what should be done in the short term, midterm and long-term. It is huge sums of money for the renovation and upgrade.

Denis Hamson Obua, Minister of State for Sports

The Mandela National Stadium Limited is a Public liability company incorporated under the laws of Uganda with two shareholders (The Ministry of Education and Sports, and the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development).

Mandela National Stadium, Namboole Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS

This followed a directive from Janet Museveni, the Minister of Education and Sports during an inter-ministerial meeting that convened on 16th July 2019.

Back then, it was resolved that the Uganda Land Commission transfer the land titles into the names of Mandela National Stadium Limited.

Arising from the various meetings we have held to resolve land ownership issues regarding Mandela National Stadium limited by shareholders. The board of directors, Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development, the Uganda Land Commission, and having received the legal opinion of the attorney general regarding advising the registration of Mandela National stadium Limited on the company land titles, the Ministry of land was requested to transfer the land title to Mandela National stadium Limited.

This means that Mandela National Stadium is secure now and what remains of the management of the stadium is to ensure that the land is protected from encroachers since it’s strategically located and many people are eyeing it. I wish to thank all stakeholders in this matter for patience and understanding while we were handling the transfer process.

Dorcus Akalany, Permanent Secretary, Ministery of Lands and Urban Development

After the stadium construction by the Chinese Government in 1997, the land titles were issued into the names of the Uganda Land Commission.

The encroachers and illegal settlers on the stadium land could not be approached with legality since the Mandela National Stadium Limited stakeholders had no proof of land ownership.

The handover of the land titles ceremony was also attended by Alex Kakooza, the permanent secretary from the Ministry of Education Alex Kakooza.

Mandela National Stadium floodlights need to be improved urgently (PHOTO: John Batanudde)

Kakooza noted that the renovations on the stadium will be undertaken in the shortest time possible after the necessary needs assessment.

The needs assessment report will now be presented to the shareholders to discuss it with the view if later presenting it to the cabinet for funding. It is our vision that following the securing of the title, Mandela National Stadium Limited renovation and upgrade will be undertaken to make the stadium a centre for sports training and competition.

Alex Kakooza, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education and Sports

Confederation of Africa Football Associations (CAF) inspectors held a guided tour around the facility and reported that there is an urgent need to improve on the playing surface, dressing rooms, media tribune as well as the stadium lighting system.

That said, all the aforementioned four areas need to have improved before the stadium can host any international games including the CAF and FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Uganda Cranes is set to play an AFCON 2021 qualification game against South Sudan at Namboole Stadium.

Besides football, this gigantic stadium also hosts athletics, netball, tennis, hockey, handball, volleyball, basketball, and a host of indoor games like table tennis, chess, and the like.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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