One of the national female athletes that accused coach Peter Wemali of sexual harassment was arrested in Kapchorwa on Monday.
The athlete, whose identity we can’t reveal for fear of stigmatising her among her peers, was detained but later released on Police bond on Wednesday evening following the intervention of the Kapchorwa District LC5 chairman Sam Cheptoris and Sports Officer Tunde Musao. The runner was accused of poisoning two of her teammates.
The girl, who had deserted the Police Athletics Camp in Kapchorwa alongside several other national runners protesting the Force’s reluctance to punish Wemali, returned to the facility on Monday.
“She was lured to return to the camp by some officers who told her that Wemali had been suspended. We warned her not to go back but she never listened to us,” one of her teammates told Daily Monitor on Tuesday but requested not to be named for fear of being reprimanded. “When she got there, Wemali was in camp and called for a meeting with all the athletes. During the meeting, two of the girls complained of stomach pain and were taken to hospital,” added the athlete.
“Later, we were told they checked in her bag and found rat poison. She was detained. But we know it was a set-up. She can’t do such a thing.”
The Sports Officer said the runner, the youngest in the team that represented Uganda at the Africa Cross-country Championships on March 16 at Kololo Airstrip, was devastated.
“She came out of the cells crying,” Musao said on phone. “Since the matter is under investigation, I don’t want to say much. But that girl is a key player in the sex scandal, which makes her arrest suspicious. She has returned to her home but we hope the matter will be dealt with,” he added. The two runners, who were allegedly poisoned, were admitted at Kapchorwa Hospital on Monday and discharged Tuesday morning.
Kapchorwa DPC Patrick Odokonyero confirmed the poisoning incident. “The girls were discharged. The medical reports indicate that they were poisoned. Their chests and stomachs were affected,” Odokonyero said on phone.
He, however, hang up and made his phone busy after we asked him about the arrest and detention of the 17-year-old runner.