April 21, 2014 (ISN) – The Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) has suspended a coach named Peter Wemali in connection with the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the sport in the East African country in recent weeks.
He has been accused of sexually harassing elite female athletes in what has been dubbed a “national shame” and was blamed for Uganda’s poor performance at a continental athletics tournament last month, with competitors claiming he disturbed their training.
“We are not saying that he is guilty but it is an administration process which we have to take,” Domenic Otuchet, President of the UAF, said.
Jessica Alupo, Uganda’s Education and Sports Minister, had warned that her office would step in to investigate the allegations against Wemali, while Uganda Parliamentary Women’s Association chair Betty Amongi insisted the culprit will be arrested and punished.
The scandal came to light after team captain Moses Kipsiro, a Commonwealth Games double gold medallist and one of Uganda’s top distance runners, went public with complaints he had received from his female teammates, including claims that the coach in question told runners they had to have sex in order to perform better on the track.
But the UAF has been slammed for not taking appropriate action following the allegations and even dropped Kipsiro from the national squad for the World Half Marathon Championships in what seemed to be punishment for speaking out.
Ugandan Police spokesman Fred Enanga confirmed last week that a criminal investigation is under way.
“We are taking up the matter,” he said.
“Those with information should pass it on to us to enable investigations.”