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Can Ugandan football afford to be led by a sanctioned president?

Anita Among and Moses Magogo have both been sanctioned

Anita Among and Moses Magogo have both been sanctioned

Recently, Dr Spire Ssentongo tweeted a thought-provoking piece, wondering why Ugandans have been reduced to applauding foreigners who sanction corrupt individuals instead of taking them on themselves.

Last week’s announcement of USA sanctions against Fufa president Moses Magogo drew wild celebrations across the football fraternity. He may have been sanctioned for benefitting from proceeds of corruption as the husband of the speaker Anita Among, but the reverse could also be true.

This is so because Magogo’s football journey has been dominated by corruption scandals that date back to 2013, just a few weeks after occupying the top football office.

Upon conviction for robbing Ugandans of World Cup tickets worth more than $50,000 in 2019, he received a slap on the wrist from Fifa, which fined him just $10,000 on top of a two-month suspension.

Following his return, he purged all would-be threats to his throne by ringfencing the top Fufa positions for his cronies. Just like in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Fufa delegates were reduced to merely rubberstamping his decisions.

Remember, he was also part of the corrupt Caf officials implicated in the infamous holiday to Saudi Arabia that caused the fall of then Caf president Ahmed Ahmed.

Indeed, I and a few others have remained steadfast to expose the rot in Fufa and delegates speak in hushed tones lest they annoy the master. It is for this reason that the football fraternity celebrated the USA sanctions because at last, there is a window to throw him out of football.

Lest we forget, Among’s sanctions may have had political influence but she didn’t help matters by running parliament like a sty. It can be argued she could have copied Magogo’s running of Fufa and transferred it to parliament. I have known Among for many years but she was always a humble person and had never been implicated in any corruption-related scandal until she met Magogo.

So, now that it is official that the Fufa president is a liability to the game, isn’t it high time we dispense with him off before the situation worsens?

For starters, Magogo, as the principal signatory on Fufa accounts, can no longer touch the billions in form of funding or grants from Fifa. This means unless he is out, Uganda risks losing more than $5m we get to fund Fufa activities.

Additionally, with the sanctions invoked, the Fufa president cannot fly to represent the federation for any official assignment. This would cost the country important opportunities to leverage or even negotiate for opportunities from Fifa, Caf and other related entities.

What’s more, with the Fufa elections coming up next year, it would be an abomination if Magogo seeks another term because he cannot pass the slightest integrity test.

The author is SC Villa president emeritus

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