7 January 2013

Uganda: Rowing Body in Crisis

A leadership feud is threatening to tear Uganda Rowing Association apart.

Accusations of gross misconduct are rocking the body, a trend that has forced National Council of Sports to call a crisis meeting on Monday.

At the heart of the crisis is URA secretary Hamza Kahwa, who amongst several accusations of abuse of office is said to be illegally holding association property that includes nine of URA's 18 boats.

Selection of an ineligible person for an international training camp in 2012, a trip by Kahwa to an African congress in Egypt without the executive's consent and failure to call a special general assembly to sort out the crisis, are some of the faults delegates attribute to Kahwa.

Five of URA's eight founding member clubs last month petitioned NCS to cause the convening of a general meeting of the association. NCS accordingly set today as the date of the meeting at Lugogo.

"There has been gross abuse of office by Mr.Hamza Kahwa the Secretary General of the Uganda Rowing Association. His failure/refusal to convene a special general assembly to sort out the various issues led the clubs to resolve to petition your office," reads the petition note signed by URA Vice President Charles Batambuze.

"This is to urgently invite you to a meting at my office on the 7th of January 2013, at 3pm at Lugogo," reads a 21 December invitation signed by NCS General Secretary Jasper Aligawesa.

Batambuze Kahwa on 6th November 2012 took the boats from Luzira under the disguise that Country Resort Beach at Garuga off Entebbe road, would host a week's training camp for the Egypt bound national squad.

Batambuze however notes that the camp never took place and that a written commitment to immediately return the boats to Miami beach in Luzira has never been fulfilled. The petitioners say their efforts to claim for the boats have been answered by threats from Kahwa.

But Kahwa who organized a clubs meeting at Garuga at the weekend, described the accusations as malicious.

He explained that he had the mandate of clubs to have the boats at a second training center. "The vice president was out of the country so I consulted the clubs and they agreed. I even have proof."

On the idea of a second base at Garuga Kahwa says "The idea of another center was to boost competitiveness through variety of training options."

Kaahwa revealed that the new venue had also yielded other benefits like attraction of sponsors like Coca Cola, Centenary Bank and Nile Breweries.

Batambuze however said Kahwa's meeting was illegal. "He called it within only two days, contrary to the constitutional requirement of a ten day notice. Besides most of people at the meeting weren't legitimate delegates.

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