Moses Kipsiro is happy he won Commonwealth Games gold for Uganda.
His face brightens up when reminded about that monstrous finish that saw him rally from seventh position with one lap to go before edging Kenyan Josphat Bett in a photo finish at Hampden Park last Friday night.
However, his look turns gloomy when you delve into the state and management of Uganda’s athletics. “There is a lot of cheap politicking in athletics and I hate it. Instead of focusing on performance, people are wasting time fighting useless battles,” the first Ugandan to win three Commonwealth Games gold medals said.
Despite his global successes for the country since 2006, Kipsiro is not a welcome figure in the face of some Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) officials because he speaks his mind.
He cites UAF organizing secretary Faustino Kiwa as one official who has worked tirelessly to bring him and other runners considered ‘opposition’ down.
In March this year, Kipsiro was kicked out of the team that represented Uganda at the World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark because he had spoken out about coach Peter Wemali’s habit of sexually abusing young runners during the March 16 Africa Cross-country Championships training camp in Bukwo.
He also says he was accused of associating with Julius Achon, who unsuccessfully tried to secure the UAF presidency in January. “Because I spoke about the ills of his friend Wemali, Kiwa promised to deal with me. He told some people he would squeeze me because I supported Achon and I got all that information first hand. But I have never met Achon. And I don’t even vote in their elections,” a bitter Kipsiro narrated .
In what seemed like a move to get back at Kipsiro, he was implicated as having been involved with two female runners during the Bukwo camp, according to the report presented by UAF to the Education and Sports Ministry after investigations. Wemali, who Kipsiro believes should be behind bars, was left off the hook because of his strong bond with Kiwa, the runner argued.
“I am really saddened to learn that my image can be tainted like that for the sake of protecting evil people,” the former African champion, told Daily Monitor. Kipsiro was only included in the Glasgow team after the intervention of Uganda Olympic Committee head William Blick.
When contacted yesterday, Kiwa dismissed Kipsiro’s allegations. “That’s his (Kipsiro’s) view and he is entitled to his view. He is his own entity and he can say as he so wishes.”
When asked to comment on Uganda’s showing at the just concluded Games, Kiwa was blunt. “I wasn’t at the Games and so I cannot say anything about them. I am in Uganda and I can say nothing,” he remarked.