By Kenfrey Kiberenge
One of the world’s biggest sporting events, kicked off in style yesterday here in London.
A 50-strong Team Kenya will lead the hunt for medals that will see the county’s national anthem played and the flag flown globally. Going by history, these great Kenyan men and women will do this country proud.
Just to refresh your memory, during the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Kenya topped the continent with 14 medals; six gold, four silver and four bronze. Globally, we emerged position 13 out of 204. London 2012 looks brighter! Just to give you a taster, Kenyan athletes have swept all the World marathon majors in recent years in Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.
Then we have David Rudisha, the 2010 IAAF World Athlete of the Year who is also the world record holder in the men’s 800 metres. Rudisha has run five of the ten fastest times for this event.
On our corner, too, is Vivian Cheruiyot the reigning Laureus World Sports Award for Sportswoman of the Year – athletics category. Last year, Cheruiyot bagged two gold medals in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
She has also won gold in the African Championships, Continental Cup, Commonwealth Games and the World Cross Country championships. These are just two exceptional performers in a list of the crème-de-la-crème representing Kenya in the London Olympics, billed as the most costly games ever.
A study by the Oxford University’s Said Business School, puts London’s final bill at a staggering Sh1.1 trillion (£8.4bn). The 2008 Beijing Games cost Sh409 billion (£3.13bn).
Yet, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka thinks Kenya can stage the 2028 Olympics. This is remarkable – but farfetched. The VP argues such a move would dovetail with the Vision 2030, which seeks to make Kenya a middle-income country in the next 18 years.
The blueprint is categorical that Kenya’s economy must grow at a minimum of 10 per cent between 2012 and 2030. Yet in 2011, the economy grew at a paltry 4.4 per cent. And going by the World Bank’s forecast, the economy will accelerate marginally to five per cent in 2012 and 2013. Analysts at WB also feel another “series of shocks” could easily create renewed economic turbulence and slow down economic growth to 4.1 per cent. We all know what they mean. We were on course in 2007 when the economy grew at seven per cent. Then in early 2008, we butchered one another reacting to a bungled election. We have not recovered since. To be fair, the Al Shabaab monster, which has kept tourists at bay, will be a factor in the growth of the economy.
But the political class has done little to help a precarious situation. I believe the drafters of the Vision 2030 document envisioned that by 2012, the politicians would stick to their political parties and fight for positions based on ideologies.
How mistaken! For the two months I have been away, I get the impression of Kenya as a den of corruption and a battle zone heading into a high-stakes election in the next few weeks.
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