Vacate Pioneer buses from Namboole - Speaker

Anita Among has directed the Minister of Education and Sports to ensure that buses belonging to Pioneer bus company are vacated from Mandela National stadium to pave way for the country to host the African Nations Championship (CHAN)

Vacate Pioneer buses from Namboole - Speaker
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Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has directed the Minister of Education and Sports to ensure that buses belonging to Pioneer bus company are vacated from Mandela National stadium to pave way for the country to host the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in September 2024, and subsequently, African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2027. 

On Friday, 12 April 2024, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in an interim inspection report, made a declaration that Uganda’s National Stadium was not ready to host international matches, citing lack of parking space occupied by the buses, incomplete renovation works, among other impediments.  

“I want you to have the scrap buses out of Namboole using the legal mechanism. The buses cannot give vacant possession for the contractor to organise the parking area and that is now what is at stake,” said Among. 

She was making her communication during plenary sitting on Tuesday, 16 April 2024, following her visit to the national stadium on Monday, 15 April 2024 as well as the interim report on Uganda’s readiness to host AFCON that was presented by Parliamentary Commissioner, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga, during the same plenary sitting. 

Among tasked the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) to investigate Uganda Land Commission (ULC) for sub leasing land in stadium to the bus company. 

“I want COSASE to take it as a priority to find out how ULC sub-leased land belonging to another entity without authorisation and funds collected as non-tax revenue; and how buses got to Namboole as if it is a parking yard,” she said.

In his recommendation, Mpuuga urged Parliament to investigate claims by the bus company that Namboole stadium management owes them Shs25 billion. 

“I hope when the matter of Pioneer comes to Parliament, Parliament will be very strict in investigating circumstances under which Pioneer bus owners ended up at Namboole, acquiring a lease of 49 years and now they are in court requiring compensation of over Shs25 billion for business loss,” said Mpuuga.

Parliament has so far approved Shs97 billion for phase one renovation works of the facility, ahead of CHAN, and Mpuuga recommended an interim audit of the funds. 

He further recommended that the Minister of Sports should report to Parliament on a weekly basis on the progress made on renovation works at the National Stadium.   

According to Mpuuga, all issues raised by CAF were valid and are basic requirements for certifying a sports facility to host international events.

Mpuuga added, “We have advised the contractor to utilise the appeal window to install them in order to make the stadium ready for re-inspection.”

In response to the removal of the buses from the stadium, the Minister of State for Sports, Hon. Peter Ogwang, said he is liaising with the management of Namboole to secure a court order to have the buses vacated. 

Erute County Member of Parliament, Hon. Jonathan Odur, however cast doubt over the ability to beat the two weeks’ deadline to fix the stadium by June 2024 to which Minister Ogwang said he will appeal to CAF to re-inspect the stadium. 

“Give me a week or two and I finish the works, it is in all our interest that all the games are played at home. Stand with me to ensure that the Uganda People’s Defense Forces engineering brigade completes the pending works,” Ogwang said. 

On 27 September 2023, CAF awarded hosting rights for the 36th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2027 to Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania under the East Africa joint Pamoja Bid.

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