Incoming Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) President Moses Magogo offered his first interview to Red Pepper highlighting on salient issues like league status, FIFA ban, CHAN qualification and life Lawrence Mulindwa. Below are excerpts from his interview with Pepper’s Dennis Bbosa.
RP; After reading your recent article of the way forward, I have been promoted to conduct an interview with you. You have been known as Lawrence Mulindwa main architect, why a sudden change of heart and what prompts you to start thinking this way?
Magogo; If I have been the architect, I wish to share both the achievements and the failures. I have been close to know that LM has achieved a lot under the circumstances; He has laid a very strong foundation for me to consolidate and break new grounds. There is no change of heart because it has always been a good heart for football. I will only say that enough is enough, everyone has been heard, let each one of us move forward by learning from what has happened
RP; What has been your main individual achievement while serving under Lawrence Mulindwa?
Magogo; I have served in two roles. In competitions, against all negative forces, politics and personal ridicule from within and outside FUFA, I introduced a pyramid of league football competitions. Across the entire continent, it is only Uganda with 5 clear league levels. The 5th and 4th division being run by each District, the 3rd division being run by the Regions, the 2nd division being run as the FUFA big league at a nationwide level and the 1st division which is the elite (professional) league. I am not surprised that Uganda beat Tanzania in the CHAN competitions irrespective of the monies in the Tanzanian league. Remember 4 (Dennis Iguma, Frank Kalanda, Savio Kabugo and Richard Kasagga) of the starting 11 where playing in the Big and Regional league 1 year ago.
In the second role as FUFA VP-Administration, we have been able to generate the best statutes held by any FIFA Member Association. Uganda’s constitution and structures are being used by FIFA as a prototype in other countries and Cameroon being the latest.
Both these structural changes need up to 5 years or more to start yielding on the field results and I hope to live to see this Insha Allah
RP ; aren’t politicians going to take advantage of your unending feuds with USL to takeover football for their own use?
Magogo; football is the beautiful game and should not be used by politicians. It is the best vehicle to use to mobilise the youth. I am afraid that if it is not guarded, there are people outside football who could take advantage and overrun the structures. Football world over has its defence mechanism of fending off non-members by requiring them to grow through the system. This process sieves out the genuine and impostors. Football people are willing to work with politicians to deliver their objectives but it is suicidal to the development of the game when the politicians call the shots. I call upon the USL people to get back into their clubs and develop the clubs under FUFA, CAF and FIFA. I am ready to accommodate all their points of contention for the good of the game
RP; But I am aware that USL has petitioned the Constitutional Court and the Attorney General has filed defence?
Magogo; It is actually petition 22 of the Constitutional Court against the attorney General. What is worrying though is that the office of the Solicitor General (SG) has given an opinion to the Minister of Education and Sports based on errors in facts and law. Whereas the SG says Lawrence Mulindwa and Aligawesa are shareholders of a company limited by guarantee, the AG has filed defence quashing the pleas by USL before Court and the Hon Minister is lined up as a witness. First of all, Companies limited by guarantee in the Ugandan Law have membership not shareholders so how can the two be shareholders in a company limited by guarantee. Secondly if the Minister wants to disband FUFA, which is one of the pleas of USL before court, is this not subjudice to court and thirdly how can the minister/SG and AG have varying opinions over the same matter?
RP; How is the relationship between FUFA and Hon Alupo?
Magogo; I must confess that as FUFA, we are disturbed by the conduct of the Hon. Minister. Whereas she has given audience to all, it is only FUFA she has denied audience in these matters despite several requests. She wants to take a decision after denying one party audience! We find this unfair in the principles of natural justice. There is a particular media house and a particular reporter that reports directly from the sitting room of the Hon. Minister, one that has championed the call for a FIFA ban never mind that they don’t suffer any consequences. There are also other sports federations in Uganda that are Limited by guarantee according to the report by a task force set by the minister but she was only targeting FUFA. In summary, despite the fact that it is only Uganda in the whole world where the national team is funded 100% by the federation, FUFA has done a lot to build the Uganda Cranes brand to the joy of many Ugandans and we disserve better from the Hon. Minister
RP; The Rt Hon Prime Minister (Rt Hon. PM) has instructed the Sports Ministry to consult FUFA over the regulations. What is happening?
Magogo; I must thank the Rt Hon. PM for the intervention. Whereas the Hon Minister was bent to disband a private association not based on any law of the country, he came in timely. Regulations that have not been drawn by any Sports Minister for the last 49 years had been done in one week targeting FUFA and consultations where done with a football normalisation committee (according to the report of the task we have now received) and not FUFA. The regulations where to be applied retrospective and fault FUFA for what they committed before the regulations where done.
We have since received the draft regulations but they are inapplicable in the current times. First of all, the parent Act is obsolete. It covers only recreational and amateur sport yet football has moved professional. The best way forward is not to rush the process, not to target FUFA but hire independent, experienced and professional sports law consultants, learn from countries such as Ghana (2011), Kenya (2012) and Tanzania (1976) that had a similar law and similar problem but Enacted new laws without disbanding or disrupting the various sports bodies.
RP ; It looks like Hon Alupo is not done with the move to disband FUFA, what is going on?
Magogo; FIFA has responded to the request by the Minister that they come to witness as she installs a normalisation committee. They have in the usual FIFA diplomatic tone set the red line. First of all, there is no need for a normalisation committee. What will the committee normalise? FUFA has a constitution that FIFA is using as prototype elsewhere. We tend to believe that the Hon. Minister is acting under influence of forces either beyond her or she may not have conceptualised how football is run. It is better she follows advise from technocrats before the government is held responsible for the dire consequences of her uncalled for actions. It is her fault that for the last 49 years there are no regulations to fault FUFA. What does she want to achieve that she cannot without a FIFA ban. The people pushing her do not lose anything under sanctions. Look at the CHAN team players and their dependants, it is their life now or never, the fans who throng Namboole, the club owners, the referees, the sponsors who have committed millions, the government that will lose hundreds of millions of taxes collected from national team games, mobilisation, KCC FC and Victoria planning for the continent, Namboole Stadium, the general business community, etc
RP ; There seems to be mixed signals about the league. What is the way forward with the elite league?
Magogo; FUFA, FIFA and Government agreed on the way forward and Hon Minister came out with a cabinet position on the agreed position. This is a position that was harmonised and acceptable to all stakeholders. I call upon all parties to embrace this position which is all inclusive. Let the USL people get back into their parent clubs and let the clubs elect their league management. Let the elected management hire professionals to manage the league business. This accommodates everyone and leaves FUFA with supervisory role. The Sponsors will automatically get on board with one synchronised league
RP; We saw in the Red pepper and listened to the Capital Radio Dessert Discs your humble background. How do you feel to be where you are now?
Magogo; That story in the Red Pepper was largely correct. I must say that I am very proud of my humble origin. I am grateful to my single parent (Mother) for making me the person I am today. If I have been able to navigate my way to where I am at this age, I still think there is a lot ahead of me. I was not bright at school but brilliant. This continues to carry me ahead in life and in football. I have banked on my God given brains to be what I am. I want to be more useful to my family, the society, my country, my continent and the world in my lifetime such that when I am gone, people will remember that I was here
RP; What kind of President in comparison to Lawrence Mulindwa is Magogo bringing forth?
Magogo; On a personal level, You are going to see the same Magogo. There will be no change in my life style, I will continue to train with my boys at Mutundwe Lions, mingle with the people and the fans. LM and myself are two different people in personality and life style. I will however try to emulate his management style of not accepting failure and substandard output. I will do everything to maintain the welfare and brand of the National teams in general and Uganda Cranes in particular but I will try to improve in communications and other development areas
RP; In a summarised version, what is the way forward?
Magogo; The game is for us all. Let everyone contribute to the game. There are many areas beyond FUFA to contribute to the game. Let institutions get ahead of individuals, let us accept to learn where we lack, let us live together even when we disagree. Let us stop playing “kifiriza” (destroyer role) for the generation after us. Let us abandon our extreme war and ego positions for the beautiful game. We can all be accommodated. Those who continue to sound the war drums are the enemies of the game and they will get fewer and fewer as reality settles in. It is our game, it is our country.