Saturday August 27 2011

Kipsiro’s life in danger



By Sande Bashaija


He is not a politician but Moses Kipsiro’s association with President Museveni seems to be putting his life in harm’s way. “My life is in danger,” Kipsiro told Saturday Monitor in a phone interview yesterday. “Some people want to finish me off. They think I support NRM,” the runner, who announced he is skipping the World Championships getting underway in Daegu, South Korea today, added.

Kipsiro had earlier said he was pulling out of the Daegu event due to sickness but as it turns out that may not be the reason. “I am currently fine health wise but I am psychologically tormented. I have not left my house for three days now. I haven’t been able to go out and train.”

As a result, the Commonwealth Games double gold medallist says he may not be able to compete at the All Africa Games due September 3-18 in Maputo, Mozambique. “I have told the federation not to count on me. I very much want to travel and defend my country but that may not be possible under the current circumstances,” he revealed.

After winning gold over 5000m and 10,000m at last year’s Commonwealth Games in India, Kipsiro was hosted to dinner at Entebbe State House by President Museveni. The President also gave the 25-year-old runner Shs20m for hoisting the country’s flag high at the Games and promised to construct a running track and camp in Bukwo – Kipsiro’s home district.

Later, government, through Parliament promised the runner a car. That promise has not been fulfilled. During the dinner at Entebbe, Kipsiro praised Museveni although he never openly campaigned for him in the February Presidential elections.

Museveni was returned as President for another five years after defeating FDC’s Dr Kizza Besigye and six other candidates. The Opposition said Museveni rigged his way to victory. “Dinning with the President doesn’t mean I am a politician. I am just an athlete trying to excel and make my country proud,” the father of one added. “But if things continue like this, I will think of relocating to another country for my security.” He revealed that he met the Bukwo District Internal Security Officer and reported the matter yesterday morning.

Kipsiro has won a medal at almost every big international championship and his absence in Daegu and Maputo will be a very big blow for the country. It’s not the first time Kipsiro is finding himself in a death trap. In October 2009, he survived death by a whisker during riots in Kampala. His car was badly damaged but the runner used his legs to escape unhurt.