Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The father of Uganda’s double gold medal winner at the just ended Commonwealth Games has expressed his unhappiness on how the government treats family and friends of medal winners.
Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei won gold for Uganda in the 5,000m and 10,000m at the Games that climaxed on Sunday in Gold Coast, Australia.
The team returned on Thursday afternoon and members from the Sebei Community, where Cheptegei comes from, were unfortunately first denied access to Entebbe International Airport and later the Old Airport VVIP Section to receive the team.
“This is very unfortunate because we travelled from Kapchorwa to receive our children and now we have been denied chance to welcome them because the government wants to run the show. This is very bad,” Cheptegi’s father Stephenson Munerya Kwalya told URN. They had first been denied access at the Old Airport VVIP Section where the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Kataaha Museveni, was welcoming the team.
Kwalya said there was no way him and his wife would enter the building unless the relatives who also travelled from Kapchorwa were allowed in. When State House staff Norah Nassimbwa arrived at the gate asking for Cheptegei’s mother, security then allowed all Sebei community members to enter, but were again denied entry to the Hall where a press conference was held. Only Cheptegei’s parents were allowed inside the Hall.
The arrival of the team and planning was obviously not well coordinated as many members including some from the National Council of Sports (NCS) were bounced at the entrance.
Major Juma Seiko, an aide of Gen Salim Saleh, the head of Operation Wealth Creation, was also a victim as he was seen crying after he was denied entrance to the Hall where the press conference took place. Seiko was heard abusing some security officers whom he said accused him of stopping Cheptegei’s parents from entering without other members from the Sebei community.
“How can a junior officer accuse me of something I have not done and tarnishing my name in-front of the First Lady. I have served the army for 39 years and you cannot spoil my name like this,” said Seiko as his tears rolls down the face.
Major Seiko is also a member from the Sebei community and occasionally comes to Entebbe International Airport to welcome athletes from Kapchorwa who win medals. Some of the athletes including Mose Kipsiro occasionally stay at his house in Nakasero when they are in Kampala.