By Joe Burua
The 2020 FMU elections are turning out to be the most contested in FMU elections history. Since it was founded in 2001, most of the elected persons have come either as un-opposed or won by a majority margin. The 2020 edition however has pitted more than 1 candidate for each of the 7 positions being contested forexcept for 1 position, that of Vintage and Touring.
The incumbent president Dusman Okee is fighting the race of his life from
3 contender’s that include 3 time former president Jack Wavamuno, ormer Drivers Dipu Ruparelia and Geoffrey Nsamba. Dusman took over office in 2016 beating Jack Wavamuno, the 2014-2016 president by only 1 vote Dusman was vice president to Wavamuno from 2014-2016. This will be the 2nd time in a row. The two tussle it out. But is this presidential race so heated.
When Dusman assumed office in 2016, he promised changes that included, proper accountability, building a strong team work with his executive, unifying competitors, setting up professional FMU offices, improving communication, organizing the best Pearl Rally among others. The score card so far rates him as having dramatically failed on almost all his promises.
His tenure of office has been characterized by internal bickering and divisions among the management committee, lack of direction and gross mismanagement. And financial impropriety. He assumed roles of every office and became a man federation. Not only did he issue instructions that nothing goes without his approval, but ensured that he has the last word on everything. Haji Gombe the outgoing vice president while appearing on a radio programe lamented that Dusman had taken over all his roles and rendered him useless. Earnest Ziwa, the outgoing Assistant General Secretary was heard to say “the man has decided to run the office of the General Secretary, can you imagine even us we see communication written by him on social media”
The Deputy Vice President Motor rallying, Mr. Jeff Kabagambe is the technical man in charge of Rallying, he asserts that Dusman decided to drive things as he sees fit, wants to attend all technical meetings organized by FIA that fall under his office, and even decided that he should be the one to clear event permits and speed lift requests which are in his docket. When issues of Pearl Rally Accountability came in, the management committee rejected the accountability as fictitious and called for an audit which was not done. Mr. Mwangala the General Secretary is frustrated by a person who does not want to be guided.
Dusman on the other hand makes note that “these officers have failed to deliver on their part and I can’t let the sport go down so I have to step up and do their job which they have abandoned”. Now this could be looked at from both ways; is it the officers failing Dusman or is he the one over stepping his reach. Each office has clear functions laid down and thus incumbent upon the line officer to execute under overall supervision of the president. The Rally fraternity generally feels that the whole administration has failed to meet its expectations and each officer has failed in the respective docket. So whether Dusman over stepped his boundaries or the officers let the Dusman down, the end result is that the Dusman led administration seems to have failed motorsport.
The 2020 elections:
Dipu Ruparelia, Geoffrey Nsamba and Jack Wavamuno, are vying against Dusman. The Jack and Dusman camp are busy lobbying candidates with money while Dipu and Geoffrey camps are building on need for change. The fraternity is crying for change. The race has become so tight that candidates are ready to do anything to win the seat. In the last two weeks, Dusman and Jack camps have been associated with Racist remarks against Dipu. The top contender’s so far appear to be Dipu and Jack. Each of these candidates will attempt any trick to win the vote. The race card was introduced to knock Dipu off. Money is being thrown by the Dusman and jack camps and ultimately the future of motorsport will be determined by the delegates on 1st February 2020. Interestingly social media opinion polls put Dipu as the favorite. However, suffice to note that it does not reflect opinion of the electorate but general fraternity feeling.
Article 7.2.4 of the FMU constitution provides for the election of the Management Committee by the assembly under stewardship of the appointed Returning Officer of the Electoral Commission. Article 7.3.2 defines the composition of the Senate committee of 3 immediate former presidents and 2 appointed individuals while article 7.5 provides for the appointment, establishment and functions of the electoral commission.
Following a notice by FMU calling for the elective assembly on 1st February, 2020. The president of one of the affiliated clubs (Uganda Motorsport Marshals Association) wrote a notice to FMU citing anomalies in the procedure. FMU reacted by calling an extra ordinary assembly which was held on 18th January to correct the constitutional anomalies. A senate and Electoral body was appointed and the election process put on course. Jack Wavamuno effectively continues as a member of the senate responsible for supervising FMU executive.
If the senate was doing its Job effectively, they should have guided the present executive and corrected any missteps in time to avoid the anomalies .but why wasn’t this done. A theory has it that this was deliberate to have the present administration fail and no wonder Jack a senate member is coming back to contest for the presidency. Or should that also be blamed on Dusman. The appointed electoral committee is headed by Fred Obbo whose first act in office is to interpret the constitution and increase the number of voting delegates by 15 persons. It’s important to point out here that Fred Obbo is a personal friend to Jack wavamuno and was instrumental in developing the present FMU constitution in 2013. Is this not a clear conflict of interest?
What is the future of Motorsport?
Why would Jack try so hard to come back for a 4th term of office? Why would Dusman cling on so hard to the office when he is clearly unpopular? Why would Dipu come from retirement to run for office and why would Nsamba retire from the cockpit to run for office. Leon Senyange and George Semakula, very successful co drivers have opted to give up the cockpit to run for Deputy Vice President Technical. Both have been on record saying that motorsport lacks direction, innovation, fun and fair play. As competitors they also cited the high costs of rallying and organizing rally events. Motorsport needs a new direction that the former or present Administrative leaders have failed to provide.
Perhaps the future of motorsport lies in giving new blood and new faces a chance to provide creative direction based on passion and ability to bring about change. The previous leaders in motorsport are the reason motorsport is the way it is today. Perhaps it’s time for a fresh direction represented by new minds to bring that much desired innovation that motorsport needs. Either way, the responsibility falls on the 88 delegate that will cast the vote on 1st February 2020. They will be the ones to hold responsible for dooming or saving motorsport which has faced an administrative collapse of titanic nature.