Uganda: Mwase, Mugisha in Battle to Govern Swimming Federation

26 February 2021

Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) vice president (administration) Peter Mugisha is set to abandon ship and battle current president Moses Mwase for the mandate to lead the body in the next four years.

The two have worked closely for over a decade, mostly under the presidency of Dr. Donald Rukare that stretched from 2000 till last year when he was appointed chairman of the National Council of Sports (NCS) board by sports minister Hamson Denis Obua.

Mugisha, who has coached and swum as a competitive and masters' swimmer, served first as general secretary (2000-2012) then as vice president (2013- to date) while Mwase, also his masters' teammate at Formidables Swim Club, was general secretary from 2013.

When it came to replacing Rukare, many observers thought Mugisha by virtue of his position would automatically take over but the USF executive members - triggering clause C 17.5 of their constitution which mandates them to "have the power to fill vacant positions on the Executive...," chose Mwase.

It was not the first time Mwase, who joined the executive in 2004 as a member of the development committee, was attaining office through the backing of his colleagues.

Before he became treasurer in 2009, his colleagues had endorsed him for acting treasurer after the demise of his predecessor Joseph Kyasanku.

Suffice to note that the USF is so closely knit that they rarely let any discussions from their meetings leak.

Hidden ambition

The reasons of choosing Mwase over Mugisha were therefore never discussed publicly. Mugisha too continued to work diligently under his new boss - taking on a project, alongside committee member Erick Kisero, to spread the sport in Masaka, Jinja and Gulu among other places.

One year later, it is clear that Mugisha feels Mwase, to use the words of former Presidential (national) candidate Amama Mbabazi, jumped the queue. He just decided to swallow the bitter pill then and play a waiting game till he could share his ambitions to the electorate ahead of the March 13 elective assembly at MTN Arena - Lugogo.

It is unclear what new things, beyond consolidation of current achievements, either man brings to the table after so many years of having each other's back - Mwase as a strategist and Mugisha as an implementer.

Years that saw USF emerge to a federation that can win continental and regional medals, spread the sport beyond international schools, attract corporate sponsorship and get their own office - among other things.

Unfortunately, the candidates cannot speak to the media about the elections, run by returning officer and Uganda Law Society president Pheona Nabasa Wall, till campaigns officially commence on March 1.

Manifestos

But a look at their individual achievements and associations paints a picture on what they could champion in their manifestos.

Mugisha, for some time, advanced motivational times to spur the performances of Ugandan swimmers. As a coach and a Fina official, he is also passionate about swimming for all ages and spreading the sport beyond Kampala.

Mwase, on the other hand, will definitely come as Rukare's man as he is also incoming second vice president at Uganda Olympic Committee, where the latter is poised to take over as president this Saturday.

He is the ultimate diplomat as depicted by his position as a member of Fina's legal committee and continuity will be his theme.

After all, USF is set to host the Cana Zone III Championships later this year and is in talks with the government to put an aquatic centre at Mandela National Stadium - Namboole.

The federation is also in contact with Sports Consult Africa to draw a strategic plan for the next five years and Mwase will feel central to all these discussions.

Manifestos

But a look at their individual achievements and associations paints a picture on what they could champion in their manifestos.

Mugisha, for some time, advanced motivational times to spur the performances of Ugandan swimmers. As a coach and a Fina official, he is also passionate about swimming for all ages and spreading the sport beyond Kampala.

Mwase, on the other hand, will definitely come as Rukare's man as he is also incoming second vice president at Uganda Olympic Committee, where the latter is poised to take over as president this Saturday.

He is the ultimate diplomat as depicted by his position as a member of Fina's legal committee and continuity will be his theme.

After all, USF is set to host the Cana Zone III Championships later this year and is in talks with the government to put an aquatic centre at Mandela National Stadium - Namboole.

The federation is also in contact with Sports Consult Africa to draw a strategic plan for the next five years and Mwase will feel central to all these discussions.

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