This isn’t something new, John Akii-Bua was the Olympic Gold Winner in Munich in 1972. The first Ugandan to win a medal, however, not long after. In 1979, the authorities of the time ransacked his home and even stole his gold medal. Therefore, the regime of today, has no trouble doing what the past one did to him either. Even as he is long gone, but the memory of his achievement should still be there.
In Lira, they have been waiting for honoring their hero with a stadium. However, that has waited and waited, to a point where it is foolish. Ronald Odongo wrote this in 2015: “Lira residents are waiting for the start of the construction of Akii Bua Memorial Stadium after 1.2 billion shillings was set aside for it in the 2015/2016 budget. President Yoweri Museveni first announced the government decision during the 2011 general elections campaigns. At the time, Museveni said the government would construct an international sporting facility in Lira in memory of the country’s first Olympic gold medallist, John Akii-Bua. The government then started negotiations with the Chinese government to finance its construction. The negotiations did not lead anywhere” (URA, 20.06.2015).
Therefore, they have waited for the promises from the government. Who has yet another big project, that the Chinese doesn’t want to invest in and therefore, the state cannot afford to keep their promises. We know something is up too, when this is the news from this May 2018:
“However, Mr Hudson Omoko, the Lira District engineer, estimates the stadium will cost about Shs400 billion. Lira District chairman Alex Oremo ruled out any corruption in the project being implemented by his administration and supervised by the ministry of Education. “When I came to office in 2011, arrangements were already in place to start the work. We handed over the land; we gave the land title and processed everything for the construction to be done,” he said” (…) “The government released Shs400 million in the first batch. Mr Oremo said they used the money according to the project design. Shs165m was released in the second batch” (Isaac Otwii – ‘Leaders want probe into Akii-Bua stadium works’ 23.05.2018, link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Leaders-Akii-Bua-stadium-Olympic-gold-medalist-Lira-District/688334-4575348-7cr4u8/index.html).
We can clearly, see by the stories of 2015 and 2018 alone, that the numbers doesn’t add up and secondly, the planning cannot be that well-adjusted. As well, as the state planned for outside sources, but they didn’t want to join in. Therefore, the budget has gotten slimmer, to a point where it doesn’t make sense. It cannot become a project that the Lira Municipality and District dreamed of, with the measly amount of funds the state has offered. It is not strange that the little winky-dink of start of a stadium has arrived on the plot.
There are clear misgivings, lack of direction and various plans, but non of which is steering it in the right direction. Also the way the amount of money is circulating and coming out. Seems that whatever that has been granted has been pocket-change and wouldn’t amount to anything else. Than what we see today, which is a mockery of the legacy of Akii-Bua. However, this is just another big project that the NRM don’t have the ability or the capacity to follow through on. As this follows the ones suspended, stopped or under-way, as they are awaiting funds to complete and get tenders to actually build.
The amounts of money spent on the project, has been lackluster and therefore, the results is what it is. The amount of money spent wouldn’t be enough. Not for the architectural plans for the stadium in Lira. However, that is not case and yet another empty promise, without the funds to keep it. Peace.