An artistic impression by one of the developers

An artistic impression by one of the developers

Legislators on a committee probing grabbing of public land have been told that Bakabulindi is largely to blame for misuse of the stadium?s land under the guise of development.

The 1953 Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium Act states that the facility should strictly be preserved for sports related activities. To the contrary, it is huge shopping malls that springing up on the sports facility.

Stakeholders, unhappy with the developments, have presented a petition to the parliamentary select committee investigating cases of land grabbing in Kampala.

The group is vociferously opposed to the non-sports related developments taking place around Nakivubo stadium, alleging that it?s a ruse to finally dole out the stadium?s 13 acres to private developers.

In their petition to the committee, the group led by former boxer David Kyambadde, said the Nakivubo board is mismanaging the 89 year old stadium is doing Bakabulindi?s bidding since he solely appointed its members.

?The minister appoints the stadium?s board members. Obviously, the current membership is composed of his cronies who are pushing his interests. There are no sportsmen on that board,? one of the petitioners Emmanuel Mwesigwa said.

A former boxer, Maureen Mulangira told MPs that Bakabulindi is using his position to foster his own interests, alleging that ?he is a promoter of many companies managing different businesses around the stadium.?

Early this month, reports emerged that president Yoweri Museveni had directed that the land belonging to Nakivubo stadium be doled out to Hamis Kiggundu, a private developer, for redevelopment since the stadium had been banned by FIFA from hosting international games on account of its derelict state.

The mooted redevelopment plan by Kiggundu involves a 49-year leasehold agreement, but with no plans for permanent alienation of the stadium from government.

However, citing section 8 of Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium Trust Act, the petitioners contend that any lease, sale or disposal of land belonging to the stadium is illegal.

?Any dealings on this land contrary to the law governing its management are clothed in illegality,? said Kyambadde.

The group just like the MPs contends that talk about redeveloping Nakivubo through public private partnerships is illegal because parliament has no yet enacted the Public Private Partnership Bill.

?The law should not be disregarded in pursuit of private wealth,? Daniel Walusumbi, a retired footballer said.

Asked by MPs Kassiano Wadri whether before lodging the appeal the group had sought intervention of other government authorities, Mulangira revealed previous appeal s to the government ombudsman, Attorney General, office of the president and office of the Prime Minister.

MPs Wilfred Niwagaba and Mathias Mpuuga recommended that Bakabulindi be summoned to answer the issues raised by members of sports fraternity.

Opened in April 1926, the land on which Nakivubo sits was given to government by then Kabaka of Buganda, Daudi Chwa to act as a monument for World War two veterans.

By Moses Walubiri and James Bakama, The New Vision

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