KAMPALA – Dipu Ruparelia has thrown his motorsport CV into the Federation of Motorsport Clubs of Uganda (FMU) presidential election, promising to defeat the incumbent in the February polls.
Dipu, a rally ace whose Mitsubishi Lance Evo 4 was one of the cars that excited motorsport fans during the sport’s most competitive era in the late 90s and early 2000s, has vowed to unseat incumbent Dusman Okee come February 1, when FMU goes to poll.
“I have the sport at heart and it is deeply touching for me when I see mismanagement in the leadership of such an illustrious sport discipline,” Dipu said, citing continued renting of office space as some of the lows.
“Can you imagine motorsport attracts a lot of sponsors but what do you get in return? FMU is renting office space and they are not even paying the rent in time. Where is the money from sponsors and sale of events permits going?” Dipu queried.
He said he will defeat Mr. Okee and return the Federation to motorsport drivers who should be at the heart of it’s running, arguing that what is missing is unity among the drivers.
Okee defeated Jack Wavamunno by only one vote in 2016 and has led the federation amid wrangles among his top executive.
However, he believes he still has what it takes to run FMU for another four-year term.
Besides the front runner in Dipu, Okee will also face another challenge from Geoffrey Nsamba, a city lawyer and an active rally competitor, Wavamunno and former president George Kagimu.
But it is Dipu who is talking his vision for motorsport in the country through his cockpit experience.
He accused Okee and his administration of promising a lot and delivering nothing while leaving motorsport marshals to continue earning peanuts.
“How can marshals earn a paltry Shs20,000 per event? What kind of joke is that? This is the same amount marshals used to get during the time I was a driver yet the cost of living has gone up.
How will they carry out due diligence when they are not well remunerated?” he said.
This news website could not immediately verify the claims that marshals earn only Shs20,000 during a rally event.
However, their role in enforcing safety and transparency during rallies and sprints cannot be overstated.
Dipu is one of the founders of the Uganda Motorsports Club (UMOSPOC) and used to drive for Crane Bank Rally Team. He retired from the sport in 2015.
Dipu has nominated Rwabogo Busingye as his running mate. The two are promising an overhaul of FMU constitution, including reducing the tenure of leadership to two years with riders and drivers have the biggest stake in decision making of the federation.