Akii Bua Stadium construction starts in Lira City

President Museveni pledged to build the stadium in 2010 but it has since been delayed, sparking public outbursts.

LIRA, June 27, 2024 – Preparation for constructing Akii Bua Stadium in Lira City in memory of Uganda’s first Olympic gold medalist, John Charles Akii Bua, has kicked off after the government allocated Shs 100 billion towards the project.

Egyptian firm, SAMCO National Construction Company scheduled to undertake the project has assigned EPSC Associates for survey works, and K& J Engineering and Associates to handle soil excavation.

In a letter dated June 24, 2024, to Lira City Commissioner, Lawrence Egole, the company’s Engineer, Ahmed Abdel Hadi said President Yoweri Museveni directed the fast-tracking of the project.

A month ago, the government announced it had allocated Shs 100bln towards the stadium’s construction.

President Museveni pledged to build the stadium in 2010 but it has since been delayed, sparking public outbursts.

Commenting on the project, Government Chief Whip, Denis Hamson Obua said what people of Lango have been advocating for has become a reality as the money for the construction of the stadium and Lango Palace was approved by parliament this financial year.

As the people of Lango have been agitating for the construction of both Lango Palace and Akii Bua stadium. I want to assure you that in this financial year beginning in July and ending next year 2025, parliament approved Shs 100bln for Akii Bua and Shs 1bln for Lango Palace,” he added.

According to SAMCO`s letter to Egole, they requested for support and cooperation in facilitating the works assigned to EPSC Associate and K&J Engineering and Associates.

Akii Bua Stadium, when completed is one of the stadia in Uganda , according to State Minister for Sports, Peter Ogwang, identified to host African Cup of Nations 2027. Others are Mandela National Stadium, Namboole in Wakiso district, and Hoima City Stadium [also to be constructed]. Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania won a joint bid to host Africa’s premier football tournament.

Akii Bua Stadium will be reconstructed afresh (Internet photo).

According to Wikipedia, Akii Bua was raised in a family of 43 children from one father and his eight wives. Akii Bua started his athletic career as a short-distance hurdler, but failed to qualify for the 1968 Olympics.

Coached by British-born athletics coach Malcolm Arnold, he was introduced to the 400 metre hurdles. After finishing fourth in the 1970 Commonwealth Games and running the fastest time of 1971, he was not a big favourite for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, having limited competitive experience. Nevertheless, he won the final there, setting a world record time of 47.82 seconds despite running on the inside lane. He missed the 1976 Olympics and a showdown with United States rival Edwin Moses because of the boycott by Uganda and other African nations.[

As a police officer, Akii-Bua was promoted by former President Idi Amin and given a house as a reward for his athletic prowess. When the Amin regime was collapsing, he fled to Kenya with his family, fearful that he would be seen as a collaborator; this was more likely because he was a member of the Langi tribe, many of whom were persecuted by Amin, whereas Akii Bua was cited by Amin as an example of a Langi who was doing well.

However, in Kenya Akii Bua was put into a refugee camp. From there, he was freed by his shoe-manufacturer Puma and lived in Germany working for Puma for 3–4 years. He represented Uganda once again at the 1980 Summer Olympics. Later he returned to Uganda and became a coach.

Akii Bua died a widower, at the age of 47, survived by eleven children. He was given a state funeral.

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