The Uganda Boxing Federation president Moses Muhangi has on Saturday expressed concern and fear over the growing number of injustices done to the boxing community in the country.
Muhangi’s statements come in the wake of the recent murder of former National team captain Isaac Ssenyange alias Zebra Mando who was gunned down in his home on Wednesday.
The gruesome murder, pointing to security personnel involvement, caps a string of pull-and-push events between security and several boxers. Another former Champion Justine Jjuuko was detained in Police custody for over 20 days before being released without any charges.
“Zebra Mando was brutally gunned down and we don’t know what triggered the murder until the president confirmed that he is aware of who killed the fallen soldier and he’s still investigating the matter. We expect justice, transparency, and assurance of our safety as the Federation since we are now answerable to the boxers countrywide,” Muhangi said.
He added, “The ongoing situation is not an isolation one but incidences that put us in fear. Mando was instrumental in the sport of boxing and the administration of the Federation. If a boxer is found guilty of something then should be brought to court for an official ruling. We need special attention because we are leaving on borrowed time as the fraternity.”
A day after Ssenyange’s murder, another boxer in Mukasa Robert, 17, commonly known as Soldier man was also kidnapped and found dead near Bombo barracks.
Also, coach Mudde Ntambi along with former World Champion Joe Vegas Lubega and other boxers are reported missing.
“Right now, the boxers are hiding alongside the coaches as they can’t determine their fate which is directly affecting our programs as the Federation.” The UBF added.
“By early February, we expect to announce a National team squad that will take part in the trial games for the second phase of the Olympic qualifiers games but nothing can happen with the prevailing circumstances. We need transparency and assurance for our safety and justice for whatever is happening so as to have our hearts at peace.”
The outspoken president has hence called for vigilance amongst the boxers and to desist from the politics which could land them into trouble.
“I urge all the boxers to be careful and be vigilant not to be involved in any fracas so as not to involve in incidences that are currently happening as we wait for president Museveni’s investigative report. Boxers have always been victimized by the security forces for a very long time and the government has given it a deaf ear so it’s time to determine our fate,” Muhangi concluded.
The second phase of qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympic Games is scheduled to take place in France this year.
Shadir Musa Bwogi is the only athlete who booked a ticket to feature in the Olympic Games after winning Silver in the first round of qualifiers in Senegal, Dakar last year.