Zebra’s killers yet to be arrested six months after he was gunned down

Former National boxing team skipper Zebra Ssenyange, alias Mando. PHOTO/ISMAIL KEZAALA.

This week marked six months since Bwaise-based boxer, Isaac Ssenyange alias Zebra Mando, was shot dead by soldiers under the Joint Ant-Terrorism Task Force (JATT). Zebra met his death on December 30, 2020, at St Francis Zone, Bwaise III Parish, Kawempe division. His death came after soldiers moving in three Toyota Hiace vehicles commonly known as drones raided the area around 11:45 pm, blocked all roads and access routes leading to St Francis Zone.
Security cameras captured the drones driving into the area and leaving shortly after Zebra was killed.   Initially, it was claimed that unknown people had gunned down the boxer after raiding his home. However, in his January 1, 2021 address, President Museveni revealed that government security officers he deployed to search for people who had been mobilised to wreak havoc in Kampala ahead of the January general election had killed the pugilist.

Mr Museveni explained that he had deployed exceedingly skilled soldiers in Kampala who had been facing off with the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
“This is because of the weakness of police. These units (soldiers) started operating around Kampala and other areas. They were able to deal with some hardcore criminals who had turned some parts of Kampala into a no-go area. On December 24, the same unit operated around Nakivubo channel, which had become a no-go area for police. These are operations against people who are misled by corrupt, weak police and violent politicians,” Mr Museveni said then.
He revealed that UPDF would conduct investigations and bring those behind Zebra’s death to book. When asked about the progress of the investigations, UPDF spokesperson, Brig Flavia Byekwaso called for patience, saying the report on Zebra’s death will be availed at an appropriate time.  


"It will be availed at an appropriate time. The investigations take time depending on the complexity of the case at hand. These investigations to me are case by case basis because, they don't have the same circumstances; some are short term while others take longer. We've had investigations that took years without adding up pieces. There're cases where you reach the bottom of the matter after like 20 years but for as long as you're asking about the update my answer is that the updates will be available as and when they are ready,” Brig Byekwaso said.
However, Zebra’s colleagues have voiced concern about the slow progress of the investigation and arrest of those behind his murder.  

Mr Badru Lusambya, a professional boxer said Zebra was their voice and provided for each of them with the little he had.

Mr Lusambya revealed that during the first lockdown in 2020, he almost succumbed to pneumonia but Zebra raised funds to clear his medical bills at Nsambya hospital in addition to providing for his family when he was almost helpless.

"We (boxers) are still hurting ever since he was killed. Personally, he saved my life when I was admitted at Nasambia hospital after I was diagnosed with pneumonia. He fundraised for me. If it had not been him, I would probably have died before he did. It is sad that those who killed Zebra are known; even the president talked about them because Zebra was an NRM member but we are yet to see justice,” Mr Lusambya said.

Mr Isaac Masembe, another boxer asked President Museveni to fulfil his promise to investigate and prosecute Zebra’s killers. Masembe said that he misses Zebra’s voice for all boxers regardless of their level.
Both Lusambya and Masembe said they have missed so many international and local boxing tournaments, which was not the case before Zebra was killed. They say Zebra had unique skills of grooming boxers and mobilizing resources for tournaments.

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