Beauty is a short-lived tyranny and so was the sovereignty that SC Villa enjoyed as leaders of the patriarchy in Ugandan football. This manifesting itself in their conquest and holding grip to the game’s holy grail.
There is actually no single local or regional trophy on which the Jogoo name is not inscribed and this glaring reality has had many fans waxing lyrical about this gigantic football club for years now.
Their dominion over the league started a few years after their inception in 1975 under founding president Daniel Musoke Kiwalabye, whose magnificent work helped to clearly establish the fact that this was no ordinary football club.
The Jogoos hit cloud nine the moment Patrick Edward Mayengo Kawooya (who is to this day regarded as the greatest Villa president) consolidated power at the club in 1979, exponentially changing their fortunes with astonishing success.
Kawooya’s tenure span a staggering fourteen years at the helm until his uncharacteristically disgusting departure in 1993 saw Franco Mugabe takeover and revive success that the club so badly clamored following a plummet.
Mugabe’s tenure stretched for a whopping seventeen years, proving longer than anyone else’s, courtesy of the sustainable success it came with. So much so that even at the time of his resignation in 2010, the Villa faithfull tearfully protested against what they described as an undesirable gesture.
What followed his retreat was a series of disagreements that have since ravaged the club for the past 10 years or so. The club that once offered a study in sustained success has not added to its unprecedented tally of 16 league titles since 2004.
It’s odds of snapping the drought still lingering. It therefore seems obtuse to concentrate these shortcomings to simply on-pitch-occurrences. If anything, the off-the-pitch phenomena must take precedence.
The genesis of this scramble and partition that has seen many not standing the taste of was under Fred Muwema’s two year reign at Villa, a tenure best remembered for the fights with the hierarchy at Mengo regarding two football leagues.
The fights were fierce and ferocious enough that they required the then Minister for Education and Sports, Hon. Jessica Alupo, to call to order both parties and respectfully agreed to operate a single league without further back-and-forth. It was at this juncture that the Uganda Premier League was born.
Muwema’s departure from the seat gave prominence to Eng. Immanuel Ben Misagga who was unopposed while capturing office in 2012 and took to his job like a house on fire. He is even regarded as the most assertive Jogoo president in recent times.
His debacle with the federation in 2018 coupled with what he came to describe as a witch-hunt from a section of fans saw him surrender the office to an interim cabinet led by SC Villa legend William Nkemba.
This was in the aftermath of a stop-start electioneering period where the tone of the then candidates was deliberate, somber, and terrifying in it’s certainty, the club’s past leaders-whom fans still remembered with a sentimental fondness, decided they had seen enough.
The likes of Franco Mugabe & Hajji Omar Mandela stepped forth to name an interim committee charged with the responsibility to shepherd the Jogoos through a normalization process in the weeks that followed Misagga’s departure.
Their (interim committee) immediate roles were to steer the club to sanity, develop a constitution, register fans and as well as organize elections and conjure something sustainable to steady the Jogoo ship to stability.
This process was expected to straddle not more than six months as Uganda’s most successful club attempted to stop lurching from scandal to scandal.
Many Villa fans and observers alike had been quick to conclude that those developments were to ensure that the record UP champions do not continue in what had largely looked like remorseless collapse.
It is indeed refreshing to know that all these fans and observers agreed that the club was not about to develop a ruthless instinct for success over time, for all it’s worth, patience was to be practiced.
The promises made then seem to have not been fulfilled. This has seen the club slide back into the usual hullabaloo that has characterized them for the previous years with problems concerning player remunerations having to remain a constant concern.
This particular misgiving was expounded more the previous season by their now former club captain Asuman Alishe Kihogo and to the fans’ dismay, the management decided to suspend the player instead of maturely handling the issue.
That said, the recent semblance of organization in terms of fan democracy had granted a shot at redemption and provoked a feeling that maybe, just maybe-the cloak-and-dagger intrigues that have swirled around the club could finally be spoken of in the past tense.
This feeling amongst the fans was informed by the club organizing a presidential election that pulled out a lifetime Villa fan, Dennis Mbidde Ssebugwawo alongside an enigma as regards club leadership, Busiro-East Member of Parliament Hon. Medard Lubega Ssegona.
Until polling day (August 28th), the mood around the club was fascinating for the fans who needed no invitation to register as voters despite the fact that the campaigns were characterized by state politics.
The real plot twist was to however come from an unforeseen source, a one Nambalirwa Brenda Kawuma who took it upon herself to sue the Villa Member Trustees and thus forcing the VEC chairman, Robert Kiggundu’s hand, eventually calling off the elections on polling day.
The aftermath has been one of uncertainty despite the High Court in Kampala resolving to allow the elections to be organized under stringent directives, among which registration of fans and appointment of an entirely new and independent electoral committee are paramount.
As of Tuesday 31st however, FUFA through the Deputy CEO Decoras Kizza addressed a letter to club CEO Shawn Mubiru highlighting a few issues but key to these was the fact that the Villa Trustees had no liberty to appoint an executive according to the clubs, FUFA, CAF and FIFA statutes.
Kizza also warned that the club was running behind schedule regarding the club licensing program and provided an ultimatum of 7th September for them to have finalized with this exercise.
If an event that the deadline is defaulted, SC Villa run a risk of not participating in the forthcoming 2021/22 StarTimes Uganda Premier League season according to the statement. They will however be required to sort the elections first.
The process of realigning Villa to time-honored best practices will take a protracted period. Villa has found itself in a state of seemingly unstoppable decline because it failed to put in place structures that would have kept it on the rails.
It, therefore, strikes one as very telling that Villa fans call on-even begging-the likes of Mugabe, Capo and Mandela to show more interest in the day-to-day running of the club as if this will wish away the plethora of problems.
There will be no shortcut if Villa wishes to clean its house and interim committee boss William Nkemba is not oblivious to this. The loose threads that unraveled Villa revolve around the lack of concrete strategy.
If this strategy is not deeply woven into the club’s fabric, the whirlwind will continue to be reaped. There are no two ways about it. Structures and a strategy will give Villa a direction it so badly craves.