Five opposition activists held a press briefing on Thursday at the Pacific Grand Hotel in Lira, addressing their move to gather one million signatures regarding the exclusion of Akii-Bua Stadium from the construction plans for AFCON 2027.
The launch of the initiative, spearheaded by five prominent opposition activists in Lango, took place in the evening of Thursday, November 23, 2023, at the Pacific Grand Hotel in Lira City. The activists, including former Oyam County MP Isha Otto Amiza, who also serves as the chairman of the activists, Hon. Sarah Awor Angweri, the female workers’ representative in Lira City Council, Tony Apeto from Dokolo district, Moses Mawa of Lira City, and Dennis Obich Awio of Kole District, convened the press briefing for the second time to express their grievances regarding the exclusive construction of Akii-Bua Stadium, as outlined in the Pamoja bid document.
Mr. Ongom Emmanuel Okwel of FDC was notably absent during the briefing. In their speeches, Otto Amiza Isha declared that they are urging the Acholi and Lango communities to boycott anything related to the FUFA drum immediately, emphasizing that there will be no further negotiations about Akii-Bua Stadium. He expressed dissatisfaction, pointing out that Kenyan authorities are building nine stadiums compared to Uganda for AFCON 2027.
Otto Amiza mentioned that they had petitioned CAF on November 16, 2023, copying their petition to Rt. Hon. Speaker Anita Annet Among, Hon. Moses Magogo, the National Council of Sports, and Lango parliamentary group. He added that CAF responded via email, stating they would take action and address the issues raised in the petition.
The collection of “One Million Signatures” is set to take place in the ten districts of Lango sub-region, including Lira City, with additional distribution to other parts of Northern Uganda for residents to sign.
According to Otto, frontline individuals such as Lango MPs, cultural leaders, prominent businessmen in Lira, and community members will begin appending their signatures on Friday to reach the one million expected signatures.
Hon. Sarah Awor Angweri, a local representative and activist, mentioned that their group, named “Build Akii-Bua Stadium For AFCON 2027,” advocates for honoring everything outlined in the Pamoja bid document by the government. She emphasized the need for widespread support in Lango and Northern Uganda, calling for signatories.
Awor added that they have beautiful ladies in Lango ready to welcome AFCON visitors. During the launch, Awor Sarah, Issa Otto, Mawa Moses, among others, jointly appended their respective signatures, phone numbers, and NIN numbers to kick off the signature-gathering exercise.
Tony Ateko issued a warning to security agencies, stating that they will not condone anyone among security personnel spreading misinformation. In case their efforts fail, the activists stated they would organize a demonstration on the Akii-Bua issue and pursue legal redress. They specifically warned Sports Minister Hon. Ogwang Peter, Rt. Hon. Speaker Anita Among, and others over the exclusion of Akii-Bua Stadium.
Moses Mawa, a Lira City native, asserted that at least 45 million dollars, equivalent to 180-190 billion UGX, is suspected to have been distributed among some top government officials (unspecified), and they demanded a thorough investigation.
In the event that CAF does not respond, the activists plan to take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sports as their next course of action.