3 January 2013

Uganda: The President Won't Take Any Questions

The dawn of a new year signifies the turn of a new page in many aspects of people's lives.

So much of the old and routine is done away with and the new sets in. Maybe I also have to do a few changes to fit in with the new year. For starters, keeping up with deadlines strictly comes to mind. However, for some of us who worked through the Christmas and New Year festivities, we were privileged to see some people change at the dusk of 2012 right into the dawn of 2013.

On Monday, I was in Mengo. Not for the Enkuuka, CBS radio's end-of-year dance party, but for a meeting with Lawrence Mulindwa, the Fufa president. For the last four years, I haven't missed any of Mulindwa's year-ending speeches. In state terms, it's equivalent to President Yoweri Museveni's State of the Nation address.

Inevitably, most of us look forward to these moments not because there is always a soda and a cake on the house or a season's greetings card for the media house one works for, but because it's an opportunity to evaluate Fufa's progress in the year through Mulindwa's lenses. In addition, because it's so difficult to get Mulindwa down for an interview, his year-ending meeting with the media is a glorious chance to ask him a few burning questions.

This time, though, it was different. After addressing us, Fufa publicist, Rogers Mulindwa, seated right next to him, said the president wouldn't entertain any questions. Clearly, we were at a loss. We had so many questions, like, does he hope to reconcile the two warring factions, Fufa and the USL?

Then again, perhaps this shouldn't have come as a shocker. You see, in October, in the aftermath of Cranes spot-kick defeat to Zambia in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, after praising The Cranes for their gallant but fruitless fight, Mulindwa said Fufa had organised a good league, the FSL. He added that the USL people were in turn messing up the game here by using fake players in the different teams.

While I acknowledged that he could be right, I went ahead and asked him if indeed the FSL had authentic teams. Of course he has never answered me. In the short-run, the idea of dodging the pertinent questions might help, but ultimately, Mulindwa needs to answer the tough questions.

This is because as Fufa boss, he holds the 'calling card' to the problems that have riddled Ugandan football. In his year-ending speech of 2010, Mulindwa categorically said that contrary to public opinion, he wasn't an administrator of Bunamwaya (Vipers) sports club and had nothing to do with the club.

Today, we know the truth.

Copyright © 2013 The Observer. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.