It is all good news for Ugandan finalists in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games who scooped gold, silver, and bronze medalists.
The Ugandan government has pledged a monthly salary for each of them going forward.
The Yoweri Museveni-led government made a monthly salary pledge of $45,787 to Peruth Chemutai who clinched a gold medal in the women’s 3000m steeplechase.
Silver medalists will walk home with $27,472 while bronze medalists will take home $9,157.
On top of it all, they will receive a high-end vehicle to ease their movement courtesy of the government.
In a statement on Wednesday when he received the champions back home, Museveni said he made the promise in 2013 and he will keep it.
He said that it has not been honored in the past but is making reparations with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and righting the wrongs.
“I made an order in 2013 that anybody who wins gold at a continental level, commonwealth or Olympics should be paid Shs5m per month all the time and Shs1 million for silver and bronze,” he said.
The finalists include Chemutai, Joshua Cheptegei (Gold), Jacob Kiplimo (bronze). Others are Winnie Nanyondo and Halima Nakaayi.
Museveni said his earlier pledge was tainted because officials said they are paying quarterly while he meant monthly.
He also said all the arrears each of the winning athletes have will be cleared by his government.
“I was told they are being paid quarterly. I didn’t say quarterly. I speak English very well. All their arrears will be paid. …what they should have been paid. And because I’m now a happy man. I will give each of these medalist a car. I will build for their parents a house each,” the Ugandan President stated.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Museveni countered reports by a section of the media – local and foreign –citing that Uganda won the medals by “sheer luck”.
He discounted the claims telling off critics that the medals were not just by luck.
He noted that they came as an end result from investment the country has made in sports coupled with natural and human resources.
Museveni said comparing Uganda against Kenya and South Africa in the number of gold medals it clinched was nor here nor there.
Kenya and South Africa’s respective budgets for sports are four to five times that of Uganda. And Museveni acknowledged this but, maintained the “Uganda is well endowed to favor her athletes.
Uganda Sporting Fever
The East African nation gave a “sporting fever” to her neighbor Kenya on Wednesday as her athletes arrived from Tokyo Japan.Museveni received them in pomp and color. They cruised in high-end vehicles from the airport and around Kampala.
However, things were different in Kenya where her stars were given little recognition by the government.
They were received by family and friends at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. There were no celebrations nor government officials to welcome the likes of Eliud Kipchoge back into the country.
This sparked uproar among Kenyans who called out the government for “being insensitive and self-centered”.