By Omulo Okoth

The Sports Act passed into law yesterday took years of arduous work by stakeholders and the Government.The road to the Act started when Francis Nyenze was the Minister for Sports in early 2000, continued into the Najib Balala, and Ochillo Ayacko eras.

It continued with Maina Kamanda, Hellen Sambili and Paul Otuoma at the helm of the ministry.But the youthful Ababu Namwamba (pictured) ensured the Bill became law before the 10th Parliament ended its tenure.

Finally, there is something in place to guide sports management.

The original document recommended revolutionary changes, but they were fiercely opposed by stakeholders, which delayed the enactment of the Bill.

The most chewed bone of contention was the rule requiring officials to serve for two terms of four years each.

It was deemed necessary to curb the practice by officials who stay in office for so long that they outlive their usefulness. However, a strident opposition by well-connected officials, many who serve in international federations argued that this would go against the rules of international federations. They recommended the rule on tenure go in sync with IFs that set age limit rather than longevity.

“We are not civil servants who retire on age, but volunteers who are elected by stakeholders,” argued an official.

The Act caved in on this rule and the four-year two-term rule on tenure was removed.

Another rule in the Act that was opposed by many was where the re-branded Sports Department would be oversee all sports federations and the scrapping of the Kenya National Sports Council, hitherto an advisory body to the Minister for Sport.

A senior technocrat in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport, said 98 per cent of the document was acceptable to stakeholders.

However, the document still has many grey areas, which officials argue will be polished with time.

“We needed something in place to govern sports and rein in errant officials. The rest can be worked on as time goes,” said another official.

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Sports bill Sports Act