The first ever National Secondary Schools Boxing championship that was initially slated for 18-28 June 2022 in Kampala has been called off by the Ministry of Education and Sports. This was revealed on Friday.
Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) President, Moses Muhangi is not happy with this development and has issued the statement below:
It saddens to inform you all that our preparations for the National Secondary Schools Boxing Competition where all the gold winners in each weight class for the juniors, youth and elite teams were to recieve a fully paid up school fees offer in their current schools for the next term, has hit a snag as we have just received unfortunate news.
According to the letter from Hon. Obua to the Permanent Secretary, the National Secondary Schools Boxing Competition that was scheduled for 18th – 28th June 2022 has been suspended.
It is further stated in Hon. Obua’s letter that the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports was part of the said meeting of which I have strong reasons to believe that facts were misrepresented to our dear First Lady leading to such an unfortunate decision. As UBF we shall seek immediate audience with the First Lady to give her the correct and clear Facts in as far as schools boxing is concerned.
I therefore make the following quick observations and questions;
1. Since 2018, we have written formal letters to the Ministry of Education & Sports requesting for the letter that suspended boxing in schools and the reasons why but no letter has been shared to this day
2. According to Hon. Obua’s letter, a special meeting was held with the First Lady – The Senior Minister of Education and Sports, to suspend our Schools competition BUT unfortunately NO SINGLE reason has been given as to WHY it has been suspended
3. We as Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF), the organizers were not invited or part of this meeting and therefore not given a chance to a fair hearing. Rules of Natural Justice were defaulted which is a huge demonstration of bad governance
4. UBF is mandated by the Sports Act 1964 and the NCS Statutory Instrument 38/2014 to organize, promote and manage the sport of boxing in Uganda. We do not know under what laws or regulations the Hon. Minister has based on to call for this kind of suspension
5. The National Schools Boxing competition is for willing participants and the mandated legal organizer UBF. Why would this small boxing matter take special attention from the Hon Minister to the extent of involving the First Lady for guidance? Are all Federations organizing their activities in schools treated the same way? Is it a new precedent that for a federation to organize a competition they must seek for permission from the Hon. Minister?
6. According to Hon. Obua’s letter, the competition was suspended “pending a decision to be made in a meeting with Top Management of Ministry of Education and Sports to be held soon”. So why suspend the competition with no point of contention? A suspension should be pending an investigation but what has been done wrong that requires an investigation? Who is the complainant? What is ministry investigating? When will the investigation end? How long is “soon”? As referred to in Hon. Obua’s Letter!
The elementary maxims in law for anyone who has ever attended law school state that; a suspect is innocent until proven guilty! So whatever the Minister is investigating would legally not call for a suspension unless the competition has been contested with a complaint, which we are not aware of. A suspension of UBF activity before an investigation is very unfortunate without baring in mind the impact on the organizer, the willingly participating schools, the athletes and the sponsors in as far as resources are concerned
7. A meeting was held to suspend the schools competition which works against the development of boxing in Uganda and more so grassroots development. We must take note that UBF has raised many challenges to do with a lack training facilities even for the national team the Bombers, inadequate funding as a result of a lack of funding distribution guidelines at NCS , failure to engage in good preparations for international competitions like Commonwealth games, a lack of boxing equipment, no allowances for our National team boxers, coaches, officials etc. BUT The Hon Minister has not paid attention or guided in that effect for so long yet these problems persist.
BUT matters raised by or in respect to the adversaries of UBF or any matter against UBF, our Hon. Minister is quick to interfere and respond take for instance;
a) when the 12 out 200 boxers went against the UBF regulations to participate in the Boxing Champions League then, Hon. Obua was in arms and ready to suspend the Champions League save for the numerous interventions from many stakeholders
b) when a group of people under UPBC, a body not recognized by NCS was after stopping Champions League, still Hon. Obua entertained them and up to now he is handling their grievances against UBF yet he knows that legally they have no claim of right but continues to habor them. The Hon Minister is slow to respond to matters to help boxing grow yet swift to respond to matters against the development of boxing in Uganda. This leaves us wondering the real intentions of our dear Hon.
8. In the corridors, I hear the people who are against the development of our sport of boxing, argue that Boxing is not good or safe for youth in schools. They’re are threatened by the presence of boxing in schools as it would sky rocket the mass spread countrywide of our sport in the grassroots. According to the people against the progress of our sport it’s okay for boxing to played by the same youth when He or She is out side schools?! For avoidance of doubt a boy of 17yrs in school is prohibited to do boxing but the same boy of 17yrs if not in school but is in one of our boxing clubs is allowed to do boxing?! This kind of logic is wanting from those against the sport of boxing
Such a letter is not directed towards the growth of the sport but the opposite. I will in due course consult with our stakeholders, lawyers and see the best way to respond formally to this matter
By the contents of this unfortunate letter, I painfully advise all the head teachers from the over 57 senior secondary schools , over 450 student boxers , coaches and the entire boxing fraternity that had already confirmed participation in the schools competition slated for 18th – 28th June 2022 to hold on as we deal with this matter .
I can only assure you that the Sport of Boxing is too big for any individual to stop it’s existence. Boxing has been here and will always be here!