By Irene Deborah Nannyonjo
The appointment of Hon. Hamson Obua as the new State Minister for Sports came with a strong wave of aligning and realigning the sector’s legal regime to match national and international best practices.
It’s in this wave that the sports gender mainstreaming discussions and provisions came in handy. The need to have gender inclusion, equality and equity programs in all the deliberations around the sports legal regime overhaul cannot be overly emphasised. While at Law School at Makerere University in my fourth year (2017); I critiqued the existing National Council of Sports – NCS Act –the principal sports legislation in the country with gender lenses under the topic; “efficacy of Uganda sports law in ensuring non-discrimination against women; case study of the NCS Act 1964.”
My greatest finding was that the gender neutral, blind and insensitive provisions in the Act are as archaic as the number of years the Act has survived as the principal legislation for management of sports in the country and are partly responsible for the obstacles that hinder the flourishment of women sports.
The physical activity and sports bill of 2017 attempts to ensure gender inclusion are unclear and not specific. It is glaring that when these discussions are held, gender lenses are worn. For instance an anti sexual harassment legal provision and policy should be included in the amendment Act to prevent and deal with sexual harassment in sports where most women participants fall victims; women involvement in a particular sport should be one of the considerations for the distribution of ‘a national sports cake’ among others.
The need to have a realigned sports legal regime is also embedded in the fact that the national and international demands have posed visible challenges to sports practice; the distribution of the sports national cake needs to be re-thought since for a long time it has perpetrated inequity and inequality among the various associations and members of NCS for a sport like football has always partook the lion’s share at the expense of others.
This year ugx10 billion out of the new small budget is still allocated to football alone.
There is also a need to establish a specific sports policy on infrastructure development so that the notion of the private public partnership could be realised in the industry; settlement of sports disputes and addressing issues of manipulation in sports and doping.
The Author (pictured) is a Lawyer and a former Assistant General Secretary –Uganda Sports Press Association