GUThe Paramount Chief of Acholi David Onen Acana IILU–, has commended the people of Acholi for their generous contribution towards the renovation of Pece war Memorial Stadium that is due to host the East Africa Secondary School Games beginning August 17.
He was speaking during a courtesy visit and inspection of the ongoing works at the stadium yesterday. Acana observed that the community’s contribution through offering their labour is a true reflection of the Acholi culture.
“I am happy with the way we Acholi have generously contributed towards the renovation of the stadium. It would have taken much longer if we had sat back and waited for government to do the work,” he said.
Acana said the stadium is culturally and historically important, adding that it will help restore Acholi pride and also serve as a tourist attraction site because of its associated history with World War I.
Three months ago, Gulu district local government took over the renovation of the stadium from the Board of Trustees and War Veterans Association –who had hitherto been the custodians of the stadium and instituted a fully-fledged finance committee to oversee contributions from well-wishers.
Rwot Acana noted that the government should take part in the preparation activities since it is Uganda and not Gulu alone hosting the games.
Seven countries are expected to participate in the games that commence on August 17. They are: Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Zanzibar, Burundi and the host, Uganda.
Gideon Gumisiriza, the project site engineer, told the paramount chief that the renovation has cost UGX700 million. He said about UGX300 million was raised locally but added that there is a debt of about UGX100 million, arising from supply and services offered by contractors.
“You are not seeing many workers on site because they are demanding their pay for services offered. The money contributed by the community has not been enough to cover all costs,” Gumisiriza said.
The paramount chief promised to contribute towards the renovation works.
Simon Oola, the Gulu district vice chairperson who was present at Pece Stadium when Acana visited, said the district has not yet received any contribution from the central government despite continued communication and attempts to have the Ministry of Education and Sports get involved. He said they are depending on well-wishers for work to continue.
On July 18, 2017, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda visited Pece Stadium to inspect the ongoing works and assured Gulu local leaders that Pece Stadium will be ready to host the East African Secondary Schools Games when the competitions start on August 17. However, the district still awaits any contribution from the central government towards the renovation works.