WESPA in Profile: Uganda

History of Scrabble in Uganda

The Scrabble Association of Uganda (SAU) was created in June 2001 as the organization to manage scrabble according to International standards and best practices in the Country. SAU is registered with the National Council of Sports in Uganda

Earlier in 2001, The Daily Monitor started to run a small piece of news on the letters pages looking for Scrabblers. The man pushing those ads was Joash Manyasa from Kenya Scrabble. When Henry Lubega, then of Capital Radio got wind of this news, he mobilized Scrabblers who in April assembled at the Subway restaurant at Crested Towers, Kampala and the main item on the agenda was formation of a steering committee to launch a Scrabble Association in Uganda.

Geria Richard, Dr. Muganzi, Mildred Nsereko, Peter Mukembo, Abdu Mukembo, Dr. Allan Mpairwe, Henry Lubega, Julepa aka Lebo Julius congregated. Henry was kind as to foot the entertainment bill, and as if to honour his effort to get the Association off the ground, he was elected the Chairman of the Interim Executive, Dr. Mpairwe Vice Chair, Geria National Co-ordinator, Dr. Muganzi as Secretary while Mildred Nsereko became the Assistant Secretary. This meeting set a calendar and a date for an Inaugural Tournament.

During that event Bernard Amuke became the first man to win a Scrabble tournament in Uganda, Paul Bosita was second.

The Association has since grown the game across the country taking it to Northern, Western, Eastern and Central Uganda. From a membership of 40 players and three clubs initially, the country now has over 500 players who play competitively in 10 clubs. In addition, the Association regularly organizes events for the youths in schools and universities in the country. .

Scrabble in Uganda Today

SAU organizes national events dictated in a yearly calendar. They are qualifiers whose objective is to determine the finest from Uganda to represent the country in national, regional and international tournaments. The qualifiers rotate from club to club in the different regions of the country. The major international tournaments are: World Championships, African championships, Causeway, Cape Town International etc. The main regional tournament is the East, Central and Southern Africa Scrabble Tournament (ECASA) - Zambia being the 2017 host nation.

The important national Uganda tournaments include The Sajeki International Tournament sponsored by the Sajeki Agency and Scrabble on the Nile.

Chris Ntege of Spa club holds the best performance record for Uganda at the World Championships, having ably represented the Nation in London 2005 and Mumbai 2007.

In early February 2016, Philip Edwin Mugisha participated in the Cape Town International where he entered and finished no. 9 in a field dominated by World and international Champions. This is the first time a Uganda player has finished in the top ten of an international tournament.

There are two ongoing SAU Projects in the area of youth development
a) University Scrabble tournaments (annual major universities)
b) Annual Schools Scrabble tournament

Participation in International Tournaments

Uganda will participate in the following upcoming international WESPA rated tournaments:

a) The African Scrabble Championship.

b) The Causeway International Championship

c) The East, Central and Southern Africa (ECASA) Scrabble Tournament that brings together players from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa.

Previous Chairmen of SAU

Mark Okwir - Lira, 2015 to date
John Ssempebwa - KFS, 2014 - 2015
Chrisostom Kalibbala - Mbarara, 2008 - 2014
Chris Ntege - Spa, 2003 - 2008
Henry Lubega - Founding Chairman, 2001 - 2003

Previous Vice Chairmen

Nelson Kyagera - Mukagwa, 2015 to date
Phillip Edwin-Mugisha - Rustemerald, 2008 to 2015
Balero David - Iganga, 2003 - 2008
Dr. Allan Mpairwe - Founding VC from Otuboi - 2001 - 2003

Past SAU Champions

Geria Richard
Edwin Mugisha
Sennoga Ahmed
Dr. Meko Godfrey
Davis Kinene
Kayondo Hamdan
Jonathan Tawoda
Chris Ntege
Rose Kisembo
Greens Kamugisha

SAU Executive

SAU reconstituted a fresh executive at Mbarara Scrabble club in May 2016.

Dr. Mark OkwirChairmanMarkdr111@gmail.com+256782352356
Nelson KyageraVice ChairmanKyagera2000@yahoo.com+256772619706
Chrisostom KalibbalaGeneral Secretarychrisjkalibbala@yahoo.com+256772507016
Christopher NtegeTreasurerntegechris@gmail.com+256793845227
Edgar Odongkara Tournament DirectorAfib256@gmail.com+256779664836
Linda AlyekPublicity Secretarylilalyek@gmail.com+256793952151
Lawrence OnyoinNational Coachlawyonal@yahoo.co.uk+256772696833

Please visit our website: ugandascrabble.com

National Council of Sports website Uganda: www.ncs.ug

Text with thanks to Chris Ntege and the SAU