Moses Magogo has always suggested that he understands football better than any other Ugandan.
Whether at a press gathering or off-record one-on-one talks, the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) president has never shyed away from making such an outrageous and arrogant claim.
Just over four months before the next FUFA elections, it is as clear as day light that Magogo is going to stand for another term as president, making the announcement during his latest media engagement.
Is he standing because up to date, he has never come across another Ugandan who understands the game like he does or is it that he is as greedy and selfish like some individuals tend to become while holding powerful positions?
The presidential term that will run through to 2025, will see Magogo lead Ugandan football, if re-elected, for 12 years. By the looks of things, even then, he may as well want more.
How Magogo got here
Magogo is an electrical engineer by trade and before he decided to run for the top job at FUFA, he was working for the African Development Bank.
Being the FUFA vice president in charge of administration, at the time, he was eligible for the role of the Federation president.
The 44-year old was first elected to the helm in 2013 following the-then FUFA President Lawrence Mulindwa’s decision not to run for a third term.
At the elections that took place at the Jinja Nile Resort under the watchful eye of then-CECAFA president Leodegar Tenga, Magogo who was a sole candidate was endorsed by 92.3% of the voters after getting 69 of the 73 votes.
His sole candidature was down to the fact that his final two competitors Muhammad Nsereko and Taban Amin had been locked out of contention by article 9(8) of the FUFA Electoral Code, which stipulates that; For anyone to be eligible to stand for FUFA President, they must have served for at least 7 years in the last 10 as either; a member on the Executive Committee of CECAFA, CAF, FIFA or FUFA, Chief Executive Officer/General Secretary of FUFA, FIFA Accredited Administration Instructor or a Chairperson of a Member of FUFA.
Magogo’s first tenure was highlighted by attempts by several individuals to convince the government of the Republic of Uganda to disband the Federation for legality issues and set up a normalization committee to restructure the Football Association and organise ‘legal’ polls.
Despite the consistent challenges, Magogo somehow managed to see out his four year term that ended in 2017.
He announced early that year that he would be running for a second term in the elections that would be held in August in Masindi District.
His re-election was put into jeopardy by a group of men, Edwin Bazanye, Paul Mugamba and Solomon Bbiira who went to court seeking an injunction regarding the General Assembly. However, the High Court judge Henrietta Wolayo ruled that the FUFA Assembly, where Magogo would be voted-in as the FUA president for a second term, should go on as planned because it was it would be held in accordance to the law.
Once again, Magogo would run as a sole candidate and required only 50 per cent of the total votes so as to be named President of the federation once again. 94.4% of the eligible voters (68 of 72) endorsed his bid and thus another four years to lead Ugandan football.
In the build up to the 2017 elections, Magogo’s competitor Mujib Kasule was controversially eliminated by the Electoral process on grounds that he did not comply with the mandatory requirements stipulated in the FUFA Statutes, FUFA Electoral Code and FUFA Election Guidelines, for candidature of the FUFA President and Executive Committee.
Mujibu who had earlier served as FUFA Vice President and Chairman of the technical committee, before resigning, had allegedly failed to comply with articles, 10(5), 10(6), 39(4) of the FUFA Status and 11(2) of the Electoral Code and was forced to step aside to let Magogo run unopposed.
It is a move by the Electoral Committee, that disappointed many and some still claim that Mujibu was unfairly denied a chance to contest for the FUFA top role.
Unlike his first term, the second has moved smoothly for Magogo, save for a two-month suspension from all football related activities, by FIFA for his role in the resale of the 2014 World Cup tickets.
After entering a plea bargain, he was forced to step aside between October and December 2019.
So far, it has been two almost unchallenged presidential bids for Magogo and who says he can not go a third-time unopposed!
Magogo’s achievements as FUFA President
It is hard to argue that Magogo’s reign as FUFA President hasn’t been a success.
To some, he is the most successful president of the Football Association in Uganda and he has even earned himself a nickname ‘historical’ in some circles.
His most notable achievement has been on the level of the Uganda Senior Men’s national football team, the Cranes.
Before his arrival, the Cranes had failed to qualify for Africa’s football showpiece, the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for 34 years and he took over on the back of two disappointing eliminations at the hands of 2013 eventual winners Zambia and Kenya in 2011.
On his first attempt, Uganda once again failed to reach the 2015 finals but he would not be denied twice as he ensured the Cranes ended a 38-year old wait when they sealed a spot in Gabon 2017 where they were eliminated at the group stages.
To prove that that was no fluke, the Cranes repeated the trick two years later and were part of the finals in Egypt where they reached the knockout stages of the competition for the first time since 1978.
Qualification to those to edition is partly attributed to Magogo and his administration as they ensured that the Cranes are well facilitated in both the qualifiers and final tournaments.
Before Magogo came in, grass-root and Women football was near to none existent.
That all has changed in the past eight years as Uganda now has fully established and functioning Boys U15, Boys and Girls U17, Men and Women U20, Men U23 and Women senior national teams.
All those teams are now consistently taking part in Regional competitions and feature in qualifying for both the continental and global tournaments. As if that is not enough, with the exception of the Men’s U23, all the rest have won either a regional or invitational title in the eight years under Magogo.
In 2021, the Men’s U20 team, Hippos, reached the finals of the AFCON tournament in Mauritania where they would lose to Ghana. That was the first time the team was playing at the continental showpiece.
It was a disappointment for the Boys who had a year earlier, won the CECAFA U20 championships in Cameroon but for Magogo and his administration, this was a gigantic achievement in the bid to ensure Uganda is on the football map, at least on the continent.
Magogo’s first two terms have not gone without controversies.
In 2018, an investigation about him was opened by FIFA regarding the resale of the 2014 World Cup tickets.
The matter was one that saw Makindye East Member of Parliament Hon. Allan Ssewanyana ask Government to investigate Magogo, a few years earlier but for some reason, the plea never paid off.
However, the Chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee ratified a plea of bargain that Magogo entered and ruled that the FUFA President is fined USD 10,000 and is also banned from all Football related activities for two month.
To some Ugandans especially Magogo’s long-term opponents, the punishment was not sufficient and somehow, he had escaped almost unscathed.
The fact that Magogo had entered a plea bargain was evidence to a certain degree of guilt in his and FUFA’s involvement in fraud, a fact that some claimed should have seen him thrown out of office.
Magogo has also, on several occasions, been accused of stealing and misappropriation of funds from both the government and other FUFA creditors.
It is believed by some that he keeps on using money meant for football growth and development, for his personal agendas not limited to the successful bid to become Member of parliament for Budiope East.
However, no one has ever really come out and offered tangible evidence to implicate him, over the years.
With just a few months to the 2021 elections, Magogo, much like it has been throughout his tenure, has seen former Uganda Cranes midfielder Sulaiman Mutyaba accuse him of the same.
Mutyaba claims that it is time Magogo and his Federation comes out and account for the UGX 50m that government pays Uganda Cranes players on a monthly basis.
Sources inside the National Council of Sports claim that that money came in for at least the first two years after it was sanctioned by government but Mutyaba says no player ever received it.
Mutyaba has also requested FUFA to pay all bonus and allowance arrears they owe national team players.
Magogo came out to acknowledge that his administration indeed owes several players monies and that they will be paid to them as soon as funds come in through the creditors of the Federation, who include government.
As a consequence of his actions, Mutyaba was locked up behind bars for a day, granted a Police bond and then released after holding a peaceful demonstration at the FUFA offices in Mengo.
Inside sources say Magogo wants Mutyaba to face court charges for conducting an ‘unlawful demonstration’ at FUFA House, the day that the former player was arrested and beaten up by security at the FA headquarters.
“What did those players play at CHAN? They played sh**y football and have no right to demand for money.” Magogo made that bitter comment during his media engagement, attracting a lot of criticism.
Many Ugandans have asked him to apologise for the comments but the arrogance in the man will clearly not see him give them that pleasure.
The few players i have spoken to have also come out to express their disappointment towards Magogo with some suggesting that he should resign and also apologise.
Just a week after the comments, Hassan Wasswa, captain Denis Onyango and Mike Azira have all retired from the national team and those close to them say that Magogo’s comments which also included a request to the senior players to throw-in the towel and help the FA build a new team, have played a big part in their retirement.
Knowing Magogo and his ways, he will do all he can for that to go away and i am feeling confident he will not apologise for the outrageous comments.
Soon to be Member of Parliament and FUFA President at the same time
During the just concluded General elections, Magogo was voted as the next Member of parliament for Budiope East.
It is more responsibility for a man who has overseen reasonable success for the nation in terms of football.
After assuring the football fraternity and the nation at large that FUFA is capable of functioning well during his absence, when he was banned in 2019, many expected that he would not stand for a third term and rather concentrate on his soon-to-be new responsibility.
However, somehow, he just doesn’t want to stop being the head at FUFA House.
“Being an MP will ensure I work best for football since i will be able to influence proceedings straight from the floor of parliament.” Magogo answered when he was asked why he decided to stand for another term as the FA boss yet he is now a Member of Parliament.
To a certain degree, it makes sense but to some, it only highlights the selfishness and greed in the person that Magogo is.
If he has indeed led FUFA in a way that even in his absence, the Federation can still run smoothly, then he should have already mentored individuals that are capable of being FUFA Presidents after him.
FUFA structure designed to lock out opposition
For anyone to be eligible to stand for FUFA President in the elections, they must have served for at least 7 years in the last 10 as either; a member on the Executive Committee of CECAFA, CAF, FUFA or FUFA, Chief Executive Officer/General Secretary of FUFA, FIFA Accredited Administration Instructor or a Chairperson of a Member of FUFA.
That above is Article 9 (8) of the FUFA Electoral code and it clearly locks out anyone from outside FUFA to stand against Magogo.
It is one article that has ensured that Magogo is elected unopposed in both of his first two elections.
The likes of Mujib Kasule, Allan Ssewanyana, Robert Kabushenga, Taban Amin and Muhammed Nsereko have all been denied candidature by those rules that have some how, remain unaltered throughout Magogo’s reign.
As we approach the 2021 elections, it is as clear as day light that Magogo will stand unopposed and win another term because the rules are designed for that to happen.
Unless someone from within the Federation miraculously stands against Magogo, the ‘selfish and greedy’ fella will be FUFA President and Member of Parliament for Budiope East simultaneously.