Kampala -The government has been asked to come up with answers regarding allegations that a coach sexually and physically harassed national female runners in a scandal that is threatening the footing of athletics activities in the country.
Last month, the athletics fraternity was thrown into disarray after female runners accused a coach of sexually harassing them during a training camp in preparation for the Africa Cross-country Championships.
The accused coach has since been identified as Peter Wemali and was banned from athletics activities in Kapchorwa District last month.
Woman MPs Betty Amongi (Oyam) and the Phyllis Chemutai (Kapchorwa) brought the issue, which has hamstrung the performance of the national athletics team to the attention of the House yesterday.
Ms Chemutai told Parliament that the accused coach was previously thought to be a witchdoctor in the areas of Kapchorwa.
“Some of the girls who were interrogated said that this issue has been going on for a long time but they feared reporting this big man. Before he become a coach, many people knew him as a witchdoctor – people would go there to consult,” Ms Chemutai said.
She added: “There was one of our promising athletes who was suspended from the team when she raised issues of sexual harassment.”
However, junior Foreign Affairs Minister Henry Oryem, speaking on behalf of government, made an undertaking that the Internal Affairs Ministry will pronounce itself on the status of the accused coach after MPs alleged that he could be an immigrant.
“On behalf of the government, I would like in unequivocal terms to condemn all forms of sexual harassment against our female athletes or in any other disciplines. I also thank the athletes who gathered the courage to expose the coach involved,”Mr Oryem said.
Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah ruled that the government should come clear on the matter next week.
“This is a very urgent issue. Present a statement next week,” Mr Oulanyah said.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor