By Moses Muhangi
Following the several misrepresentations on various media platforms on the governance related matters between UBF and UPBC arising out of the lists requested by the President of Uganda HE.Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to be used as a basis for rewarding selected excelling athletes since 1954 across the entire sports spectrum in Uganda that has led to the exclusion of some of professional boxers due to boxing governance misunderstandings.
First and foremost most, President Museveni was very clear on what list he asked for and that was for those athletes that have represented Uganda in games like the Olympic Games, commonwealth games and the continental games since 1954.
His request was subsequently silent on the professional games played at world and continental stages , as these games are entirely organized and competed for in a different arrangement other than the fore mentioned games , for instance the Olympics, commonwealth and the amateur games at continental level are organized and attended to by athletes from several countries (not less than 10) at any given occurrence yet the professional boxing games are Marjory between two opposing athletes but will come back to this argument later.
Uganda as a country manages all sports activities through the Ministry of Education and Sports and subsequently through the National Council of sports and thereafter to the National Sports Associations/ Federations.
By virtue of this governance structure the National Council of Sports is mandated by law to recognize only one sports body to manage a given sports in the country at a given time to avoid unnecessary confusions and conflicts in the governance of a given sport and all the remaining organizations or groups of that specific sport must subscribe to one of the bodies recognized by law at NCS.
For example for football, it is FUFA that is recognized and registered at NCS so the remaining groups of football administration such UPL, and others subscribe to FUFA as the mother body registered at NCS.
When it comes to boxing in Uganda, the body registered and recognized at NCS is the Uganda boxing Federation (UBF), under UBF there are so many commissions like the Coaches Commission, the Referee &Judges commission, the Athletes commission, and the Uganda professional boxing commission is one of such commissions that must subscribe to Uganda boxing Federation administratively in Uganda.
There cannot not be an establishment or sports body in Uganda that administratively reports or subscribes nowhere in a nation like Uganda as is claimed by our friends in UPBC.
And this should not be misunderstood with the UPBC external allegiance to African and International professional boxing groups which are ok just like UBF will affiliate with AFBC and AIBA at continental and world stage respectively but locally UBF will also affiliate to NCS as per the Uganda government structure.
So it is in my opinion that UPBC must affiliate or operate under the functioning of UBF for the proper execution of their duties.
Let me indulge In the roles of UPBC, the Uganda professional boxing commission was created to manage the affairs of athletes or boxers who have excelled at the national teams or from amateur setting and now wish to turn boxing into a career or a money making venture, to ensure the wellbeing of these pro athletes, to connect the pro athletes to other pro boxing groups worldwide and to report the progress to the government of Uganda through the recognized sports association of boxing.
This commission would therefore operate on a set terms of reference in accordance to the standards of the boxing sports both in and outside Uganda , that’s why for the interests to do with Uganda the affiliation to UBF and for those interests outside Uganda then affiliation to continental and world groups would make sense.
The problem emanated due to the long spell of time when boxing had leadership problems that allowed the professional boxers to assume that they were independent of the government of Uganda governance structure that’s to say subscription to NCS through UBF and now they think they are on their own which is very unfortunate.
I raised this governance problem in 2018 to the UPBC leadership and I highlighted to them that there’s need to work together with them and also improve our communication between the two groups in the interests of serving the sport of boxing and also to agree on a set of operational standards but they didn’t take my ideas seriously until today when they feel that they might lose out on the prizes from the presidents rewards program as is anticipated and now they are playing a victims of the circumstances.
The proper and right administrative way of how the voices or pleas of our professional boxers should be aired out is to channel them through Uganda boxing Federation UBF as was advised by NCS and then UBF would present those ideas to the NCS in the relevant forums and subsequently to the other structures of government for further management.
Because today the issue is about rewards but tomorrow the matters could be about something else , so there is urgent need to point blank advise the UPBC friends to align themselves with UBF for effective representation in as far as matters to do with Uganda government are concerned just like the money making arm of football or athletics or basketball won’t seek for its own recognition at NCS but will instead operate under the already registered and recognized National Sports Federations/Associations, the same must happen for boxing.
Whereas the president requested for lists of excelling athletes in the Olympic games, commonwealth games and continental games, knowingly or unknowingly excluding those other engagements participated in by our pro boxers , the way forward should be for UPBC to immediately submit the excelling athletes to UBF and then UBF would start a discussion with NCS and Ministry of Education and Sports to interrogate the possibility of how the pro boxers can be included in the lists awaiting recognition by the President of Uganda.
This is the only way we can improve governance of boxing sport in the country and effectively better the wellbeing of our boxers both at amateur and professional boxing ranks.
The writer is President – Uganda Boxing Federation and, International technical boxing official