Gov’t in race against time to prepare for EAC Parliamentary games

Gov’t in race against time to prepare for EAC Parliamentary games
Speaker Jemma Nunu Kumba (centre) visited Juba’s only Basketball Stadium ahead of upgrading plans. [Photo by Joseph Pitia]

The government is facing the test of race against time as it prepares to host the maiden Inter-Parliamentary regional games in December.

South Sudan now has less than three months to refurbish the facilities available ahead of the annual regional games set to be hosted in Juba at the tail end of the year.

The games will bring together MPs from the host nation – South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya. It is not yet clear whether DR Congo—the newest EAC member—will also send representatives to the 12th edition of the multi-discipline games.

The MPs will take part in football, netball, golf, athletics, handball, basketball, and volleyball, among others.

In athletics, for example, the lawmakers will compete in race track events such as 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres, 800 metres, and 1500 metres, for men and women. There will also be a 4 x 400-metres relay and a 4 x 100-metres dash.

It remains to be seen whether golf will also be included in this year’s edition considering that South Sudan has no single golf course.

Last month, the Speaker, Jemma Nunu Kumba, launched the upgrading of Buluk Playground, which is expected to host football, athletics, volleyball, and netball.

The Nimira-Talat volleyball court, handball courts, and basketball stadium in Juba are some of the facilities that will witness a new face of development.

The government has until November to put in place all the necessary plans.

During their visit to the facilities on Wednesday, the committee headed by Kumba reiterated their commitment to upgrading the three facilities to the required standard.

 “As part of that initiative, parliament has decided to upgrade the available sports facilities in Juba for the upcoming East African parliamentarian games,” said Eche Wanji, MP.

“As you are all aware, South Sudan is expected to host a 12th edition of the Inter-parliamentary games in December 2022, we want to reiterate the commitment of parliament to upgrading and building the sports facilities within Juba,” added Wanji, who also chairs the Regional Integration and East African Affairs Committee of the Young Parliamentarian Forum.

Legislators claim that the Buluk track and field project is already 50 per cent done, with the rest of the work likely to be completed by the end of September.

Khaled Maroul, the head of the Juba Local Basketball Association (JLBA), hailed the development and reaffirmed the federation’s support for joint efforts with the national legislature to modernise the facilities.

“On behalf of Central Equatoria State Basketball Association we are honored to receive Speaker Jemma Nunu Kumbo for visiting the facility with the intention of upgrading and renovating the facility for the EAST African Parliamentarian Games,” he said.

The South Sudanese Parliamentarians made their regional competition debut in Tanzania last year.