Members of Parliament have resolved to contribute over shs45 million to support Elizabeth Mwesigwa in her preparations for the Paralympics in Japan.
Mwesigwa, who attended Thursday’s Parliament sitting from the public gallery, is the current Uganda and Africa champion in para-badminton for persons with disabilities. She is set to take part in trial games ahead of the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, appealed to Members to each contribute shs100,000 towards supporting Mwesigwa.
The State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Hon Florence Nakiwala, applauded Mwesigwa for going against the disability odds and pursuing her passion in athletics.
MPs however expressed urgent need for government to plan for talent and avoid athletes having to turn to begging.
“This is a cause for which government should give its all; if this requires a supplementary budget, let government raise the money for this lady to participate in the games,” Hon Jovah Kamateeka (NRM, Mitooma district) said.
Hon Beatrice Anywar (Ind., Kitgum Munic.) was concerned that excelling sports personalities have been turned into beggars and urged government to establish a special fund to cater for them.
“People who are talented and are making Uganda proud should not become beggars. We need to make government get committed to talent rather than [athletes] depending on handouts,” said Anywar.
Hon. Hellen Grace Asamo (NRM), who represents persons with disabilities in Parliament, criticized the Ministry of Education and Sports for neglecting Paralympics during the budgeting process.
Hon Anifa Kawooya (NRM, Sembabule district) promised to contribute US$1,000 towards Mwesigwa’s preparation for the Paralympics.
Kadaga directed the Clerk to Parliament to deduct shs100,000 from each member’s pay next month and channel it to the athlete.