Opposition Members of Parliament are pushing for full disclosure of the Lugogo Cricket Oval Stadium agreement amid concerns over past instances where public land was given to investors but projects failed to materialise.
They want clarity on the government’s commitment to redevelop the stadium to avoid potential land disputes in the future.
Kayemba Ssolo, MP for Bukomansimbi South, cited examples such as the UBC land in Kololo, which was taken over by Aya Group and is now up for sale, as well as the Shimoni Demonstration school, which was displaced and replaced by Kingdom Mall.
He called for complete disclosure of the agreement between the government and the Turkish Investor before the redevelopment project commences.
“While we agree on the need for the redevelopment of the stadium, considering the lack of suitable sports facilities in our country, we have witnessed cases where land given to investors for development ended up being lost,” said Kayemba.
Hillary Kiyaga, MP for Mawokota North, emphasised the importance of the government’s role in developing Uganda’s sports sector and urged them not to relinquish their responsibility to the private sector.
“We cannot develop the sports sector if the training grounds, which are crucial for its advancement, are given away. The government has a major role to play in investing in the sports fraternity. We should not abandon this responsibility and rely on privatization to develop this industry as we desire,” stated Kiyaga.
Joyce Bagala, the Woman MP for Mityana district, requested an update from the government regarding the development of Aki-Bua Stadium in Lira. This stadium was included in Uganda’s bid to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations and she sought clarification on its progress.
Richard Lumu, MP for Mityana South, cautioned the government to be wary of speculators disguising themselves as investors to avoid a fate similar to what happened with Aya Hotel and Lugogo Cricket Oval.
“We are concerned about the future of the stadium because we lack proper agreements between the government and the investor. It’s important to note that there are speculators in this country. The individual who developed Aya Hotel made his money and left the country, leaving behind a different outcome,” Lumu pointed out.
The government recently announced plans to transform Lugogo Cricket Oval into a state-of-the-art Multipurpose Sports Complex.
The proposed complex will feature a main indoor arena with a seating capacity of 15,000, an eight-lane swimming pool, a multi-purpose standard pitch, an athlete hostel accommodating 60 people, 120-room accommodations, a showroom, a shopping centre, and a top-tier fitness gym, among other amenities.
Once completed, this modern facility will significantly improve Uganda’s sports infrastructure, addressing the long-standing need for better venues.
Currently, the MTN Indoor Arena, which is in a deteriorating condition, serves as the primary venue for international tournaments.
Efforts were previously made by Makerere University to construct an indoor arena, but the project remains unfinished.
The lack of a suitable venue has caused Uganda to miss out on hosting major events like the 2023 Africa Netball Championship, despite successfully securing the bid.