Uganda athletics coach facing new sex abuse charges
Uganda, an emerging distance running country that is establishing itself as a challenger to the dominance of Kenya and Ethiopia, was hit with the athletics sex abuse scandal last year.
It broke after the country’s star distance runner and Commonwealth gold medallist Moses Kipsiro made public complaints from his female teammates against Peter Wemali, until recently the head coach of a training camp in eastern Uganda.
The two additional charges, confirmed by police spokesman Fred Enanga, mean Wemali is now accused of sexually abusing a total five girls. The two charges relate to girls living near the camp, and not runners.
The coach appeared in a court in Kapchorwa in eastern Uganda on Monday, where the country’s athletes have a training base, with his case adjourned until June 5, the Daily Monitor newspaper reported.
Earlier this month it was revealed Wemali was also HIV positive and there are fears the virus may have been spread further among other runners, with reports adding that several athletes are also pregant by the coach.
The Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) has been accused of dragging their feet or even trying to cover up the scandal, and is now facing threats of a boycott.
On Tuesday, Kapchorwa’s district chairperson warned that together with athletes they would boycott UAF activities until its head, Dominic Otucet, was sacked.
“Our children are being raped, they are being beaten and no one from UAF is helping,” Sam Cheptoris told the Daily Monitor.
A boycott could affect Uganda’s participation in the World Athletics Championships in China in August, which the nation’s Olympic marathon gold medallist and defending world champion Stephen Kiprotich is expected to attend.
One of the east African country’s national athletes, speaking on condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying in the New Vision newspaper that they would support a boycott if regional leaders backed it.
Wemali was first taken into custody in April over the alleged rape of three female runners aged 15, 16 and 17 between 2013 and 2014.