Pertinent issues concerning governance, accountability of funds and general management of the Uganda Netball Federation (UNF) have come at the fore for a long time now.
Right from the days of previous president Suzan Anek to the current regime of Hon. Sarah Babirye Kityo, the dust has never settled.
The latest grievances between the different executive officials and the unpalatable friction between Hon Babirye and the National Council of Sports (NCS), in particular the office of the secretary general Dr Bernard Patrick Ogwel have escalated for the worse.
Despite the earlier meditation effort with the First Lady, also minister of education and sports Janet Kataha Museveni, there was no fruition with the dust basically swept under the carpet.
The second meeting between the parties [UNF officials, Auditor General, IGG, CID (failed to attend with apologies), Chief whip Hon. Hamson Obua, State minister for sports Hon. Peter Ogwang, some senior netballers, NCS and some members from the ministry of education and sports] with the first lady held on Friday, 21st April 2023 left Hon. Babirye temporarily out of office, for at least three months.
“I was voluntarily asked to step aside for three months as issues accruing from the previous regime and delays in remittance of our money by NCS are settled as soon as possible” Hon. Babirye, a former Member of Parliament remarked.
That said, Hon. Babirye will be on the sidelines of administration for at least three months as further investigations and reports by the Auditor General, IGG and other parties are completed.
In that period, Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso will take over as interim president to ensure the activities of the federation do not come to a halt.
Brigadier Byekwaso’s immediate task at hand is to restore sanity and trust between members, netball stakeholders and other sponsors.
Also, the activities of the national federation as the national leagues (women & men) and other competitions , office administrative matters have to be continued as well as the national team preparations for the Netball World Cup in South Africa.
In the pipeline are the preparations for Uganda to host the 13th Netball Africa Cup, the inaugural men’s cup in November 2023 and brave plans to have a state-of-art Netball complex.
This dark patch for the netball sport in Uganda (April 21st to July 21st 2023) will definitely leave a sour taste in the mouths of many, injury the souls of many but again, leave others (Hon Babirye’s critics) in jubilations.
Will the storm weather down and Hon. Babirye powerfully bounce back or leave forever?
Your guess is as good as mine.