Ugandan boxers under their umbrella body, the Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) have called for answers from the government on why their members are being arbitrally arrested by security.
The federation which held a press conference on Saturday at Kati Kati Restaurant in Lugogo says that for long, boxers have been victimized and have been arrested by security personnel. On Wednesday this week, Isaac Zebra Ssenyange aka Mando who was shot dead by security personnel.
According to UBF president Moses Muhangi, to date four boxers are missing and their whereabouts still remain unknown. They include coach Robinson Mudde Ntambi, the former UBO World Super Flyweight champion who was reportedly picked from his home, Michael Kiiza, a boxer and sports trainer at Mengo Social Centre, Joseph Lubega who participated in the 2004 Olympics and Robert Mukasa.
On the death of Zebra, the federation says they want justice since President Yoweri Museveni confessed this week that he knows his killers.
"And he [Museveni] made it clear that he was aware of the people who killed Zebra Mando. He said it was a security operation and he was still investigating to get to the bottom of that situation…He said; 'I know those who killed him but am still investigating to get more information.' What he didn’t hint about is the issue to do with justice that we expect for a person of Mando because if you say you know those who killed him, then what action is going to be taken against those individuals. So we expect justice, we expect transparency on how this matter is going to be handled. We expect to see as a generation hp we are going to be assured that they are safe," said Muhagi.
Muhangi added that although Justin Juuko, the former boxing champion was released, the federation demands to know why he was arrested. According to Muhangi, boxers have been victimized, with some of gyms and boxing clubs raided recently by security.
Hajji Juma Nsubuga a boxing coach has proposed that a list of boxing clubs be generated and forwarded to the president so that the clubs that are not known can be questioned. Tony Ssekabira, a boxing coach says the state is wrongly worried about the gyms because boxers are trained to be disciplined.
"When people visit our gyms, we give them guidelines because we train people for health issues, we train people for self defense and those that we develop their talent for competitions. And what we emphasize is discipline, we always work out with people with discipline. If someone is indisciplined because we normally get reports from the community. We warn you, if you continue and don’t change, of course, we chase you out of our gym. We don’t train indisciplined people. If you’re a criminal and we know that you’re a criminal we chase you. We have chased many even those that were good," said Ssekabira.
Last week, the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) deputy spokesperson Deo Akiiki, said that security personnel will not hesitate to arrest anyone engaged in criminal activities during the electoral period.