Gov’t will clear all arrears of medal winning athletes – President Museveni

Gov't will clear all arrears of medal winning athletes - President Museveni
President Museveni and wife Janet with the 2018 Commonwealth Games medalists at State House Entebbe

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has assured medal winning athletes that government will eventually clear their monthly stipend arrears that have accumulated over the years.

Several athletes have been complaining that they have not been receiving their monthly stipends as promised by President Museveni in 2012 following Stephen Kiprotich’s gold medal win at the London 2012 Olympics. Moses Kipsiro also won gold at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010.

“We shall make sure those who have arrears are cleared and I will continue to pay gold medal winners Shs 5 million, silver Shs 3 million and bronze Shs 1 million,” Museveni said on Sunday afternoon while hosting the Ugandan team that participated in the just ended 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Uganda won three gold medals, one silver and two bronze medals to finish in 15th position at the Games that climaxed last Sunday.

Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei won two gold medals in the 5,000m and 10,000m, while Stella Chesang bagged the women’s 10,000m gold medal and Mercyline Chelangat bagged a bronze in the same race. Boxer Juma Miiro picked a bronze medal in the 46-49kg weight category.

“I once again congratulate the entire team that represented us at the Commonwealth Games and those that won medals,” said Museveni at the function that took place at the Statehouse in Entebbe.

Museveni said that it is a lie for some people to say that the government is harvesting in sports and yet they are not investing in it. Museveni said more resources would not necessarily translate into success. He said Uganda performed better than so many well facilitated countries.

“Some people have been writing that we are harvesting where we did not sow. That these children are getting medals by miracle. That is not true. The last time Uganda did well in Commonwealth Games was in 1970 and that was the last time Uganda was stable…This talent has been able to flourish in peaceful times. Insecurity affects sports, you can’t be a sportsman in an unstable country,” he explained.

“Peace affects sports. It is the Lowest Common Multiple. You must have realised that the Somali boy [Mohamed Ahmed] Cheptegei was running against was actually representing Canada. Mo Farah, though Somali, runs for Britain,” said Museveni.

Museveni promised to build a house for the Commonwealth Games double gold medalist Cheptegei. The president said when talented athletes have been identified, they should be attached to security agencies such as police, prisons so they can able to get a house and salary as well as technical support.

Uganda sent a team of 69 athletes who participated in track and field events, netball, rugby, table tennis, badminton, squash, swimming, boxing, weightlifting, shooting and cycling.