By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: Hon Moses Balyeku of Jinja Municipality in a 19th June Plenary sitting fronted the proposal petitioning government to provide a substantial Euros 350,000 to the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) to purchase rights to broadcast the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) free. He said that Ugandans have a right to watch the games free of charge because the national team, the Uganda Cranes, would be participating. However, the games will only be aired on pay television which many Ugandans cannot afford.
His idea was also backed by fellow legislators. “We understand that this was not in the budget of the national broadcaster, but that is surely a small price for the government of Uganda to pay,” he said.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, reiterated a letter from the national broadcaster requesting for funds to pay for the rights to air the games, saying that they were desperate to broadcast the games live due to their big viewership.
“We have been pushing our national team to perform well so that they can qualify for the AFCON games, something that is a big achievement. We should let the locals watch their children play,” she suggested.
In response, the State Minister for finance and economic Planning David Bahati, said the government will support UBC to broadcast live. However, he regretted that UBC had not approached his ministry on the need. “I encourage the Ministers of Sports and Information Communication Technology (ICT) to forward the request to us so that we can handle it expeditiously.” he advised.
The Minister of ICT was directed by Parliament to process a request to fund the games and update the House on the progress.
If this is done, that means Ugandans will watch the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) that kicks off on Friday, 21 June 2019 live from Egypt for free.
Uganda will play against DR Congo in their first game scheduled for Saturday, 22 June 2019.