FMU President Dusman Okee has issued a stark warning to Ugandan rally fans that they could jeopardise the sport’s future with unsafe behaviour.
In an open communication while announcing Hima Cement Ltd a USD25, 000 (Ush84million) sponsorship of the 2016 edition of the prestigious Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally slated for September 16 – 18, 2016, Okwee outlined his concerns for spectator safety, prompted partly by improper driver etiquette.
The event, which is the 6th round, counts towards both Africa Rally Championship (ARC) and NRC titles. It will take place from September 16-17.
Mr Okwee lauded the cement maker’s timely contribution saying that road safety was one of the aspects of the sport that the federation was looking at strengthening.
“We are happy that Hima Cement has come on board to support not only the rally but also FMU’s road safety campaign. As you may know, Uganda is ranked in the top ten countries in the world with the highest number of road accidents; most of them attributed to over speeding and reckless driving. We have taken it upon ourselves to sensitize road users on proper driver etiquette; for drivers to check their vehicles before every journey, to have enough rest, plan their journeys and take regular breaks, to wear seatbelts, lookout for other road users and most importantly not to over-speed. This contribution from Hima Cement and their expertise in Road safety will help us in taking the road safety message even further,” Okee stated.
He added that FMU was happy that companies such as Hima Cement had agreed to bolster the image of the Pearl of Africa Rally; a move he said would help the event regain its past glory as one of the best organized events on the continent.
“Hima Cement is an organization that is keen on road safety. Now that we are sponsoring rally, a prestigious sport which both directly and indirectly influences behavior on the road, we thought it wise to have a stand on road safety alongside our sponsorship. The campaign will run until the end of the year,” Allan Ssemakula the Marketing Director disclosed.
Adding: “We are proud to support FMU which has a longstanding tradition of carrying out road safety campaigns in partnership with the Uganda Police and Ministry of Works; most recently on Masaka Road; which is one of the areas of concern for the whole cou ntry. Hima is glad to partner with FMU in this regard because Health and Safety, on and off the road, is a core value of our organization.”
The two-day event organised by the FMU will start with as spectator stage at Busiika before the cars move to Mubende district.
Hima Cement Limited is the sponsor of rally driver, Ambrose Byona also known as ‘Omunyetto’. Byona in his Mitsubishi Evo 9 and navigator, Derrick Lubambula will be taking part in the Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally 2016. Hima Cement has also in the past sponsored legendary rally ace, Chipper Adams.
The Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally is one of the main motorsport events in the country. It is part of the National Rally Championship and the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC).
During the 2015 edition of the Rally, Hima injected Ush20 million into the event. has been part of the sport for many years having been the title sponsor of the Pearl of Africa Rally between 2000 and 2004.
The nine foreigners are led by three drivers Don Smith (Subaru) from Kenya who controls the ARC race and the Zambian duo of Muna Singh Jr (Subaru) and Ismail Shermohamed in a Ford Fiesta. The three along with Ugandan Hajji Abdul Ssempebwa (Subaru N11) are tussling for ARC points.
Other foreigners include veterans Giancarlo Davite (Evo X), Valary Bukera (Subaru), Isa Amwari (EvoX), Mohammed Abassa (Subaru), Sultan Kalura (Subaru) all from Burundi and Tusail Tusail (Subaru) from Tanzania. Vivo Energy is fueling the event to the tune of Shs100m.