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Charles ‘Ayiekoh’ Lukura, 32, is a football coach married with three boys. Lately, Ayiekoh has made headlines. He’s accused of making sexual advances towards a male journalist during the recently-concluded Inter regions football tournament in Lira –where he had gone as a talent scout. In an emotional interview, he tells NASSER SSEMUWEMBA that the allegations were fabricated;

Hey Charles, you are still a young man yet your name has been in the coaching circles for long…how did you get into coaching?
I was introduced to football coaching in the 1990s by former national team star Timothy Ayiekoh (no relation) and the late Steven ‘Jesus’ Mulinde. My close working relationship with Timothy confused many people into believing that I’m his son and that’s how I also came to be known as Ayiekoh.

 

As a coach, I have managed and coached various football teams including Monitor FC, Mbarara’s Rwampara FC, URA, Wandegeya, Horizon (Kabale), Bunamwaya and Police FC among others.

What is your response to the recent allegations of sodomy leveled against you during the Inter Regions football tournament in Lira?
Those allegations are not true. They are absolutely false. Look at the way everything unveiled! The entire saga was planted by my enemies; either those from the football coaching circles or in management. It is all football politics!

Remember I also double as a FUFA delegate and we are soon going for elections at the end of this year. In my opinion, those could be the primary causes of these malicious allegations.

What really happened?

If you take a closer look at the entire story, things don’t add up. For a start, I was residing at Kenyatta Guesthouse in Lira town, under the same roof with some members of the press who had come to cover the regional football tournament. Opposite the guesthouse was a bar called Fortress.

And because they did not sell booze at the place where we stayed, I used to go to Fortress bar for a couple of drinks and watch the Confederations Cup football matches live from there as well.

One Wednesday, June 17 after watching football, I went back to our guesthouse where I met two journalists Ivan Kyeyune and Ivan Matovu. We chatted a bit about football before Matovu left the room. So we remained behind with Kyeyune for a couple of minutes before I left him and went to my room.

That night passed, then the next day, I went back to Fortress Bar for some drinks. As I approached the counter, one of the supervisors came from nowhere and grabbed me and took me outside where his colleague was waiting.

Then this guy asked me; Are you normal? Last night when you were here you told my friend that he has nice lips. How can you get attracted to a fellow man’s lips? Do you want to do my ass? Eee..ee..! At this time I was in a state of confusion.

I asked them why they did not question me the night before. They then asked me for my identifications which they later confiscated and asked me in return for a bribe to let me off. I told them that I did not have money, which they took as a lie because they were convinced that Inter Regions sponsors MTN had given us a lot of money.

Out of the blue, Sam Ssimbwa [Simba FC coach] showed up and intervened. He then took one of the accusers away, as I remained with the other. Later on the guys told me that everything is OK and I was ‘forgiven.’ But they remained with my identity cards which they promised to give back to me the next day.

Then all of a sudden, no sooner had I entered into my bed, than I heard a knock on my hotel room. When I opened it was the same guys. Then they told me that since I’ve refused to give them money, ‘your people from Kampala have advised us to take you to the Police station until when the FUFA boss [Lawrence Mulindwa] shows up the next day. Eventually they left me promising to return my identification the next day.
 
On Friday morning, as I went about with my business of scouting for talented players, I ran into journalist Abdullah Mubiru who then told me that there were rumours flying around that I was going to sodomise Kyeyune [one of the journalists I had a football chat with on Wednesday night at our hotel].

So I told him that was garbage and I was not bothered because it was not true. The next thing my phone was ringing endlessly as a number of concerned friends from Kampala asked whether what they were hearing on radio about me was true.

That is when I woke up and thought someone is now seriously tarnishing my name. From there the police came and took me to their Lira station, where I made a statement together with Kyeyune and Matovu. That is when I was released on police bond, got all my identity cards back and was told to report to my nearest police station in Kabalagala upon return to Kampala.

So did the Police free you without charge?
As I have said, they have never put me behind bars. I told you that I was released on bond and the next time I will be reporting to the Kabalagala police station will be on July 8. But some people like Sam Ssimbwa were quoted as saying that they knew you had this habit before….

That is not true because I have never been in any kind of trouble with say the Rwandese police authorities whom he (Ssimbwa) asserts that gave me a grilling. You know Rwanda very well; can you commit crimes there and just walk off? If anybody wants a close look at my passport they can come and see that it has been stamped all the time I have got in and out of Rwanda.

I think if I had committed some crimes there, that wouldn’t be the case. Besides, I’ve managed many teams and no such complaints have come up. Why would I go all the way to Lira to sodomize someone.

Who is witch-hunting you?
I can’t tell, because if you look at the entire story it just stinks of malice courtesy of football politics. Anyway, let me wait and see what the police comes out with since they are doing the investigations.

What does your family say about the whole situation?

It has affected us a lot, mostly my kids. My wife is not perturbed because she trusts me, but it is my boys who are seriously affected as well as myself. I just feel totally traumatized.

Have you ever heard of homosexuality in Ugandan football?
Yes I’ve heard about it, but it is all rumours.

Do you believe it is real?

I don’t know!

What is your view on homosexuality as a whole?

Of-course it is not a good practice.

What next now that the Uganda football coaches association has indefinitely suspended you as a result?

How can they? They have not listened to my side of the story like you the nice people of The Observer have done. I have replied a challenging letter, because it seems I’m being charged in two courts, and that they have already ‘found me guilty.’ I know my rights, just like any other human being and I’m going to pursue them till I’m a free man.

Do you plan to sue for defamation?

I’ve not yet reached that level. I will wait until the Police finish their investigations.

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Comments

 
0 #1 moses bagumira 2009-07-07 14:05
Judging from the interview....the hurried conclusions, quick judgments etc on the side of football coaches smells of something, cant they wait for the police report if at all it is not yet out....
And talk of Rwanda, sure, no games with their institutions, a mess is a mess...no cover ups....the only reason i believe ayiekoh's story.
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