In the run-up to the botched November 11 elections of the Uganda Boxing Federation, incumbent Kenneth Gimugu and Moses Muhangi were vying for the top seat of the sport.
But barely a day to D-day, hitherto little-known boxing enthusiast Robert Matovu acquired an interim court order stopping the process.
Matovu cited UBF’s failure to adhere to the election rules roadmap set out by world boxing body Aiba. These include the communication of the date and place of the general assembly, list of nominations for presidency and executive committee (together with proof of their eligibility) and agenda.
Others include the list of delegates and copy of the most recent constitution or bylaws. Such documentation had to be reviewed and approved by Aiba before any election may take place.
“No national federation’s election (or appointments) shall be recognized by Aiba unless the following information is sent to the Aiba headquarters at least one month before the proposed date of the election,” reads part of a statement from Aiba.
In a November 4 communication by Leila Zeraoula, the Aiba senior legal officer, to incumbent UBF boss Kenneth Gimugu, the general secretary Sam Barigo and Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) president William Blick, Aiba had further warned UBF that the polls would be null and void if the latter did not heed the advice.
So, on November 9, two days before the planned elections, Matovu triggered Article 37.1 of the Aiba bylaws to force the postponement.
It is somehow ironic that while Gimugu and his executive failed to meet these requirements, Richard Lwanga, the returning officer, had earlier eliminated Matovu from the election process for lacking a certificate of good conduct from Interpol. Matovu claimed the said requirement was only being applied to him.
Paul Ayiasi, the UBF organizing secretary, contends: “It was an oversight when we presented the election roadmap to National Council of Sports (NCS) minus the Aiba bylaws.”
However, Fred Kavuma, the publicity secretary, says Ayiasi was privy to the correspondences but tactically withheld the information from the UBF executive for unknown motives.
In the meantime, boxing enthusiasts will have to wait till Matovu’s application is disposed of and then hold elections within thirty days after meeting Aiba’s requirements. Uganda risked a ban from Aiba if the process had gone as planned and this setback could further throw the sport into turmoil after years of power struggles.