Museveni to meet boxers

Thursday January 07 2021
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President Museveni

By Abdul-Nasser Ssemugabi

About 60 boxers are due to meet President Museveni to discuss the current plight, highlighted by the unrest due to arbitrary arrests and the killing of their fellow Isaac Zebra Ssenyange last week.

Salim Uhuru, the Uganda Professional Boxing Commission (UPBC) president, wrote a letter to the President January 2, requesting for a crisis meeting to resolve the tension.
Uhuru told Daily Monitor that he met Museveni who granted his request to meet the boxers later this week.

“We have three issues to discuss,” Uhuru said. “The killing of one of our executive members, Zebra; the abject poverty among boxers which was worsened by the Covid-19 restrictions, which led to cancellation of all professional fights and the arbitrary arrest of boxers.”
Until his death, Ssenyange was the boxers’ representative at UPBC.

Uhuru, who is eyeing the Kampala Central mayoral sit, added that the poverty is what might tempt some boxers into being used in criminal acts.
“We thank government for the release of [Justin] Juuko but others must also be released,” Uhuru said. “Some are being arrested because they joined the Opposition, which is not a crime.”

Kenneth Omona, the Principal Private Secretary to the President, is aware of the pending meeting, but did not specify the date. Former Commonwealth champion Justin Juuko spent 19 days in detention, answering charges of treachery and illegal possession of firearms. Juuko, a mobiliser for the opposition Forum for Democratic Change party, was released December 31, after the General Court Martial withdrew the charges.

In his New Year address of the nation, Museveni admitted that Ssenyange was killed by security operatives. Meanwhile, three more boxers have gone missing and one returned after being tortured in a detention centre.