It is barely four days until the much-awaited SC Villa presidential election. Following the exit of Eng. Ben Misagga and Joseph Kizito from the race, city lawyer Medard Lubega Sseggona Akalyamaggwa is left to tussle it with legendary marketer and SC Villa diehard, Dennis Mbidde Ssebugwawo. Reports from Villa Park however indicate that if nothing changes within the remaining days, then National Unity Platform’s (NUP) Busiro East MP Sseggona will be named Villa President on Saturday, August 28, 2021.
Evidence of Sseggona’s looming victory manifested last week when a snap opinion poll put him at a distant 81% against rival Mbidde’s miserly 19%. In this edition of the Inspector Special Report, we delve into the reasons that have placed Sseggona in such a good stead to trounce the man who has been grounded at Uganda’s most successful club for so long now.
MISAGGA, JOSEPH KIZITO WITHDRAWAL
Without doubt, Eng. Ben Immanuel Misagga Mbazzi Muguluma Nkalitezaala is one of SC Villa’s most enduring supporters. He rose from being a Villa National Fans Coordinator to steering the club to its most successful stint in the modern era ever since the club fell from the glorious days of its founder Patrick Kawoya and later his apprentices including Franco Kapo Mugabe and legendary secretary Edward Luyimbaazi. Misagga, like some of his predecessors including Omar Mandela, suffered an acrimonious exit from Villa Park at the end of his tenure. However, his unwavering love for the club had seen him try to seek another stint at its helm.
He was however disqualified by the FUFA constitution that barred him from contesting since he is already designated as president for Big League side, Nyamityobora FC.
Club insiders intimated to us that Misagga’s loss in this race is now Sseggona’s win as the former president is widely thought to be the only man who would have given Sseggona a run for his money. “Fans pushed him out badly but over time he was vindicated because the club got even worse and struggled much following his exit. They got to learn that he wasn’t entirely to blame for the club’s troubles at the tail end of his presidency,” a source said. Sseggona’s bid was also boosted by the withdrawal of coolheaded Joseph Kizito. The man known for his excellent technical knowledge of football has since joined Sseggona’s camp thus crossing with a huge support base for the legislator.
ENVIABLE, ACTION-LADEN MANIFESTO
On Monday August 23, 2021, Sseggona launched a manifesto detailing his plans for villa. The manifesto is based on 7 pillars touching mobilizing fans, improving the club’s teams, its brand, and building infrastructure including a stadium and training facilities. To any football lover in Uganda, the manifesto, much as it is ambitious, is achievable. This is especially when one considers that through excellent organization, Vipers SC built its own stadium while this also applies to smaller clubs like Kyetume FC. This manifesto will be driven by a very strong 9-man executive committee which Sseggona unveiled recently. Made up of credible professionals, this largely corporate team includes: Joseph Kizito, Baker Mugaino and Norbert Kazibwe (Vice Presidents). Others are: ICT Ministry’s Principal ICT Officer Joseph Zirimenya, X3 Corporate Image MD, Emmanuel Mugarura, IT Consultant Brian Lwetutte, Uganda insurers association CEO Paul Kavuma, Kazo County MP Dan Atwijukire, MD Sheebah Establishments Mariam Jumba, Samuel Gabula Nadiope and Sim Katende.
Sources say this team has already hit the ground going, especially in terms of sourcing players for the team. Already, this executive pooled over Shs200m which has seen Villa beat KCCA to the signature of U-20 stars Isma Mugulusi, Davis Mugabi, Kenneth Semakula, and U-17 star Abdul Wahid from Onduparaka. They have also acquired Oscar Mawa from KCCA. Considering that these are players for the future, it tells so much into the legislator’s plan for the club. It is such organization that has made fans warm up to a Sseggona presidency for he is bringing something that fans have been yearning for for long. In Sseggona’s plan, the club will emulate rivals KCCA and Vipers that nurtured top class players like Allan Okello and Faruk Miya who then fetched top dollar for their respective clubs.
MBIDDE’S OWN MISTAKES
If we are to give credit where it is due, then Mbidde is by all means a natural Villa supporter. He has many times stood with the club through thick and thin, offering his sweat and brain to see the club get better. It is not a surprise therefore that he attempted to use this status as his bargaining chip in the quest to become Club president.
It is worth noting that Mbidde’s credentials as a football administrator are not in doubt. For instance, he has run the very successful corporate league and has marketed for top brands in the country. He has also served at FUFA as a member of the executive committee and third Vice President. His name is also imprinted in football activism where, through the Save Our Soccer (SOS) outfit, he is most famed for having teamed up with lawyer Fred Muwema and Aldrine Nsubuga to end the leadership of late FUFA president Denis Obua. But most importantly, Mbidde comes from a strong Villa supporting family. We have learnt that Mbidde’s dad, Mzee Ssebugwawo was a very popular Villa supporter throughout the 1970’s and 80’s while his paternal uncle, Jaggwe, even coached the club. These successfully passed on the villa blood to their son.
This is by far a very rich Villa CV that gives Mbidde all the bragging rights. Unfortunately, however, Mbidde’s experience in Villa should be enough to remind him that these fans suffer the worst form of ‘retrograde amnesia’ in the sporting sense; they never remember or hold onto past memories. This is why they even turned against the club founder Patrick Kawooya once things didn’t swing in their liking. That they also later did it to other diehard supporters and financiers like Chris Mubiru, Misagga and Mandela, shows you that villa supporters only look to the present and future. This seems to be Mbidde’s misfortune because currently the fans believe Sseggona has the best promise for the future and present.
But blaming Mbidde’s woes entirely on Sseggona’s credentials and fans’ forgetfulness is harsh. This is because Mbidde has also committed some errors that have since boomeranged on him.
Apart from branding Sseggona a ‘Villa creeper’ without a footprint in the club’s history and struggles, Mbidde is accused of claiming that First Son Muhoozi Kainerugaba (who is Mbidde’s OB at SMACK), as well as the NRM Party were uncomfortable with the NUP lawyer’s bid for Villa presidency. He reportedly claimed that FUFA President Moses Magogo and Interim Chairman Eng. William Nkemba had been grilled by NRM Chief Whip Thomas Tayebwa on this concern.
Unfortunately, this claim would prove to be a hoax when Magogo vehemently distanced himself from it. He then went further to clarify that he was not behind Mbidde’s candidature as had been earlier thought.
Quoting FIFA and FUFA statutes, Magogo warned the presidential candidates against ever advancing rhetoric that borders on political, racial, religious and any related discriminatory tendencies in this race. On political correctness, some supporters dared Mbidde to explain why, if he is a popular NRM cadre, he stood as an independent in the recent elections. He was also dared to explain why he had not used his connections to Muhoozi to rally him to bail out the club in its most recent struggles. Based on this, some fans even suggested that he rallies behind Sseggona so as to take up the branding and marketing job since his credentials in the field are legendary.
KK/EXPRESS FC FACTOR
Until recently, express FC had also fallen from grace and was even threatened with relegation; just like former strong rivals SC Villa.
However, the club has undergone a rebirth under celebrated city advocate Kiryowa Kiwanuka (KK). Interestingly, many didn’t fancy KK to turn Express around since he was seen as a relatively unknown entity in football administration. However, KK has defied the odds and made Express both domestic and CECAFA champions within no time. Now, with Sseggona having so much in common with KK, many fans believe that he could be holding the lucky Charm to their desired new fortunes.
This is unlike Mbidde who is a marketer and mainstay in football administration both at club and national level.
It remains to be seen who will carry the day on Saturday but all Villa needs is a president who will modernize the club then unite its fans. Fortunately, this is what Sseggona promised at Katikati when he said, “One of the reasons why I’m contesting is to unite Villa, to make a strong bond between the club and the fans.”