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Coach Micho in the dock: Are Ugandans casual towards sexual assault?

by Editorial Team
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By Alex Balimwikungu

Uganda Cranes head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic is a man in the news. This has nothing to do with the double header against Rwanda in the Qatar 2022, World Cup qualification campaigns.

Micho was recently in the dock. He was found guilty on sexual harassment charges in South Africa and handed a suspended five-year term for sexual harassment.

During the U-21 Afcon qualifiers in South Africa, a woman gave Micho coffee while he watched a game in the stands and then asked if he wanted sugar, he digressed.

It was revealed in court that the Lady, 39, asked Micho if he would need sugar with his coffee. He said no and added that he needed another type of sugar, pointing at her private parts.    She reported about his conduct to her bosses and the rest is misery for the disgraced Micho.

“For count one, he was sentenced to three years imprisonment which was wholly suspended for five years on condition that he does not again contravene section 5(2) of the Sexual offenses Act. This section entails sexual assault in the form of inspiring a belief unto the complainant that he or she will immediately be sexually assaulted.

Had Micho been a coach in England, he would have resigned honorably and issued a groveling apology.   In 2006, England national team coach, Sven Goran Eriksson left his job. He says it was because he was damaged after his private life became a national debate.   He had fallen for the bait of an undercover reporter who unearthed his affair with a married woman, Ulrika Johnson!

Back here, Micho is being treated like a hero. “There was no sexual act or no contact. Why bother him,” a one Sim Stephen posted on Twitter.   Was he being typically Ugandan?

FUFA, Micho’s employer gave their full support.  They insist he will continue undertaking his duties as the Cranes head coach after concluding the ‘private matter’

“We have this afternoon received information that the private matter has been concluded for now. The coach will come back to resume his duties accordingly.” FUFA said.  In a brief statement, Micho insists he is the victim, without divulging details.  Very few cried injustice.

Flashback.  Remember when Buganda Road Court dismissed the case against Brian Isiko; a student of YMCA had been accused of harassing Kabarole District Woman MP Sylvia Rwabwogo through love messages?

In her petition, the legislator alleged that Isiko had repeatedly sent her lustful love messages between late 2017 and June 2018, which had disturbed her peace of mind.

In July 2018, Brian Isiko was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail before he appealed the judgment through his lawyers in High Court.  Court later ordered for a retrial.  Last year, magistrate Stella Amabilis made the decision to dismiss the case.

Brian Isiko was dragged to court for cyber harassment and offensive communication against Ms Rwabwogo. He was later released (Photo: file)

According to the magistrate, the witness had repeatedly missed case hearings which showed that she could have lost interest in the matter.

“In the interest of justice, the case has been dismissed and the accused is set free unless charged with other offences. Bail money should be refunded,” Amabilis ruled.  Interestingly, the public cautioned the MP to “be a woman” and learn to keep quiet about other things.  She has since fizzled into oblivion?

Why would a sexual assault victim end up apologizing?  Is it so Ugandan! Soroti District Woman MP-elect Anna Ebaju Adeke dropped a bombshell by revealing that she was sexually harassed by a fellow legislator during a foreign trip.

“I once had my breasts squeezed by a male colleague old enough to be my father. Another one hounded me during an MPs’ trip abroad. He kept knocking at my door in the night. I had to lock the room,” she relayed at a function in Kampala organised by Uganda Law Society to celebrate female lawyers joining the next Parliament.

She added: “I looked around and all the men there, said ‘yah…yah, so what!’ I am just saying the House is so much patriarchal but we thank you madam Speaker (Ms Rebecca Kadaga) because you have given us a platform to air out the issues that people think should not be talked about.”

MP Anna Adeke Ebaju accused a legislator of harassment on a foreign trip  but the case died a cold death (Photo: file)

MP Adeke did not disclose the offending MP or further details about the incident. She also did not say whether she reported the matter to police for investigation.   When she was probed for finer details by media, she ended up begging them to drop the story!

Sexual harassment is any form of unwelcome sexual behaviour that is offensive, humiliating or intimidating and it is against the law.

According to the 2019 Police Crime report, 15,706 persons were victims of sex-related crimes and of these, 13,536 were female juveniles,while 1,829 were female adults and 63 male adults.


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