Boxers demand justice

Monday January 11 2021

Uncertain times. Most boxers have been pushed against the wall due to political insecurity. Photo | Ismail Kezaala

By Abdul-Nasser Ssemugabi

Veteran boxer Isaac Zebra Ssenyange was due to travel to Russia for his first professional fight abroad when security operatives raided his  home in Bwaise at night and gunned him down in cold blood.

Two colleagues with whom he was supposed to travel on January 23 did not get time to comprehend his murder; they are detained by security operatives.

Joseph Lubega, alias Joe Vegas, went missing on December 29, last year, just hours before Ssenyange was killed. The following evening, Robinson Ntambi Mudde was arrested near his home in Katanga, Wandegeya, and jailed in Masaka Prison.
Last wek, Mudde and  48 other members of the National Unity Platform  were transferred to the General Court Martial in Makindye, charged with illegal possession of ammunition and remanded to prison.

“If he doesn’t appear, we hope to resume the search after the elections,” said his brother Charles Ssemakala, who is also in hiding because he was their lead trainer.
“We have just lost our friend Zebra, now we are worried about Mudde and Vegas, who are in state custody,” said Eddie Bazira, chairman Baltic Pro Box Promotions.

“These boxers are role models in their gyms and in the country but the way they are being treated discourages the youth that admire them. They deserve better.”
He added that the promotion company is in a dilemma. “We are confused. We didn’t anticipate it would get to this. We’ll try all legal means possible.”

Politics meets boxing


The three boxers were close to presidential candidate Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, before he joined politics. Though Ssenyange was a staunch NRM supporter, he was close to Bobi Wine and trained him in boxing before the singer turned politician.
And Ssenyange and Lubega frequented Rhino Boxing Club in Katanga to link up with Mudde, with whom they belong under the same promotion.

Bobi Wine often trained in the makeshift gym with his friend Mudde, who sometimes also trained at Bobi Wine’s gym in Kamwokya and has been a trainer for his security team. Lubega, too, worked as Bobi Wine’s guard and led a group of boxers to join NUP and back his presidential bid.

When security operatives clamped down on Bobi Wine’s team, the boxers could not survive the operation that has injured and killed some and jailed over 100 others.