Uganda Netball Federation (UNF) President, Sarah Kityo Babirye, has filed a lawsuit against the government following the revocation of the federation’s certificate of recognition by the National Council of Sports (NCS). The NCS cited persistent governance and leadership challenges within the UNF and their failure to comply with Ugandan laws and their own statutes as the reasons for the revocation.
In a press statement, the NCS acknowledged that these issues had been brought to their attention two and a half years ago, with attempts to resolve them amicably proving unsuccessful. The challenges highlighted by the NCS include unresolved governance and leadership problems, failure to follow constitutional provisions for executive committee elections, improper procedures to amend the constitution, and a lack of transparency regarding funding sources. The NCS, however, made it clear that the UNF could reapply for recognition once these issues were addressed.
This development unfolds against the backdrop of an ongoing dispute between Sarah Kityo Babirye, the UNF president, and Dr. Patrick Ogwel, the NCS general secretary. Kityo had previously sued the NCS, alleging interference in UNF activities and financial mismanagement orchestrated by Ogwel. Kityo, through her legal representatives, questioned Ogwel’s persistent false accountability claims and financial misappropriation, which she asserted had been investigated and discredited by the Inspector General of Government (IGG).
Kityo’s decision to take legal action aims to defend what she believes is the truth and to challenge Brigadier General Flavia Byekwaso’s claim to the UNF presidency. Byekwaso was appointed as the acting UNF president by First Lady Janet Museveni after instructing Kityo to vacate her office.
In response to the NCS’s letter to Byekwaso, summoning her for a meeting regarding the withdrawal of the UNF’s certificate of recognition, Kityo argued that she had not received any official communication instructing her to step down or be removed from her position. The lawsuit was initiated in light of these developments.
Earlier this year, Minister of Sports and Education, Janet Museveni, issued a letter instructing Kityo to remain out of her office to allow for investigations into allegations against her. The letter also maintained Byekwaso as the acting president and ordered the NCS to withdraw the UNF’s certificate of recognition if Kityo failed to comply.
The outcome of the meeting between the NCS and Byekwaso, which took place on October 24, 2023, remains undisclosed to the media. Additionally, some executive committee members chose not to attend the meeting in person and were denied entry when they sent a representative in their place.