By Ruben Luyombo
SC Villa go to the polls this weekend and there is alot of excitement from the villa fans fraternity.
For starters, Villa, one of the most supported clubs in Uganda, has been under the interim leadership of Eng William Nkemba for close to two years! They started on a reorganizing campaign to put their house in order.
Ever since Capo Mugabe left the club presidency,there came Fred Muwema and later pushed out , then came an interim of the sorts,followed by Ben Misagga who was pushed out.
After Misagga, there was a leadership vacuum and that is how some club hierarchy appointed their former Defender Eng. William Nkemba to steer the club to sanity, come up with a constitution, register members and organise elections.
The process has been long overdue but he is almost there. Now the task ahead is to deliver a free and fair election.
Two candidates have made it to the ballot paper; Mbidde Denis Ssebugwawo and Hon Lubega Segona Medard.
Mbidde was an open secret that he would vie for the hot seat , he has been looked at as the next thing to the throne having been around SC Villa all his life and being a close associate of the Mengo (Fufa) establishment.
Fufa has shown vast interest in this process and Villa has a big presence in the the establishment. Mbidde has once been Vice President representing clubs at Fufa, Marketing executive at the federation, and Villa fans coordinator. His football CV speaks volumes.
As we were all wondering who would challenge Mbidde with many pointing towards Counsel Agaba or Farouk Meyiwa, there came the ‘unheard of’ Hon. Segona.
Don’t get it twisted. Hon Segona is very popular but unheard of in the sports circles.
Agaba said he would not show any interest in the process which is not transparent.
For Farouk Meyiwa, it was a case of too much talk but less action.
The emergency of Segona a Rookie in the sports world has swung this election to the surprise of Mbidde and his followers.
I have been following exchanges of Villa fans in different camps. Some are interesting while others are nasty.
Segona has been welcomed by open arms and has gained a lot of ground on Mbidde.
Before, you would think Fufa was Mbidde’s strong hold but the tide has changed. Fufa close associates have openly declared their support for Hon Segona. People like Fred Katende , Rogers Mulindwa, Norbert Kazibwe , Abu Zikusoka plus a few others who have not come out publicly.
Some critics from the Villa family say they can’t trust their club in the hands of Mbidde. They say that he is not serious and easily gets bored. One thing in common though, is that those for and against his presidency know that he is a good sales man and the club needs his input.
For Segona not much is said about him apart from the fact that he’s a new kid on the block and others accusing him of being stingy, and insisting that football needs some one ready to inject in money .
Segona has come in a right time, when there is a leadership vacuum and it’s like the electorate is tired of the been there ,the tried and tested.
The argument here is that Segona comes with a reputable corporate image as one of the senior lawyers in this country and a politician.
His name needs no introduction to the ears of Ugandans.
One school of thought here believes that football can no longer survive on people’s pockets alone. You need corporate sponsorship to throw in a hand. It seems to most Villa diehards that Segona with no sports blemish can easily appeal to the sponsors.
This kind of acceptance from the Villa fans seems to have caught Mbidde by surprise and had to pull out the political card! The two are originally Democratic Party members. However, right now, one is NUP and the Other is NRM.
I will not go into details but the political card seems to have helped Mbidde financially to kick start his mobilisation but detrimental in the sports world. Sports is all embracing and knows no tribe, education ,religion or political affiliation.
It’s a big minus on Mbidde’s side.
It’s heated up. I see former players all getting registered and it reminds me of the Express FC 1990 elections that confirmed Bbale Mugera[Owek] as president . We saw a few players voting , even Isa Sekatawa who had moved to KCC turned up in his KCC truck suit and lined up to vote for Bbaale, a sign that every vote counted.
Villa’s registered voters as of today, are around 950 and every vote counts. it’s still a very small electorate that can easily be manipulated or convinced to vote otherwise.
For instance, if I have 100m I can have 2000 voters, the electoral commission should be wary of such scenarios on the last day of registration.
It’s not the best of process any one can be registered to vote much as he is not a Villa fan. I believe in growing fan base genetically through branches and locations.
Let me give them the benefit of doubt that they will improve it in future and may be Covid-19 has played a role in adopting such measures.
My humble plea to Villa fans is to stay united after these elections. Whoever goes through has that task to unite the disgruntled fans.
Each camp needs each other and as a soccer loving person who earns from sports, I need a strong organised Villa.
If you have Villa ,Vipers, Express, KCCA and URA all competitive, you thus have a strong league and strong national team.
What is evident here, is that Villa is anxiously in need of new leadership, new ideas and new faces.
It’s more like when Bobi Wine came to the political scene.
Villa need both Segona and Mbidde. Mbidde is Technical and Segona is Tactical.
The writer is a senior sports journalist in Uganda.