MPs who regaled in one of the world’s biggest sporting event in Russia at the expense of Kenyan taxpayers have set a new low for the 12th Parliament.
The members of the National Assembly Sports committee chaired by Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka lifted thousands of words from sports websites to compile their report on their World Cup experience in Russia.
Of their 37-page report, only the table of contents, chairperson’s foreward, write up on committee membership and recommendations -- all just about three pages -- have not been plagiarised without a whiff of attribution.
The entire background information on the tournament, including the hosting, bidding, budget, qualification, draws, transport, match venues and schedules were all lifted word for word from the various sports websites and online search sites.
The section on “Preparation for hosting the World Cup” is carbon copy of “Planetizen” blog article of 2010 by one Nate Berg and titled “Why hosting a World Cup does not matter for cities.”
The “qualification” part was lifted off Wikipedia search engine, except for one paragraph which notes that “Kenya was knocked out in the second round of the qualifications by Cape Verde.” The “Ticketing” bit was pulled out in its whole from Fifa.com while the writing on their outings to historical sites were pulled off Moscow.com and Wikipedia.
In page 26, 27 and 28 of the report, the MPs purported to give the country advice on “benefits of hosting a major sporting event” but it turned out to be word for word of an article by one Tejvan Pettinger which is published in the site Economics.help.
The next four pages -- 29, 30, 31 and 32 -- are “observations” of the MPs wholly lifted from the the site “Penalty Kick’s” in article titled “25 requirements of a FIFA World Cup Stadium.”
“It was observed that Russia achieved all these requirements hence the hosting of the 2018 FIFA World Cup,” the MPs said in the only part not plagiarised in that section.
The two pages of recommendations are perhaps the only work the committee did in the two week-plus report which is estimated to have cost millions in allowances, accommodation and travel.
The outing was styled as a bench-marking tour to “get a good understanding of international standards of football.” Eight MPs represented the committee - Munyaka, Chris Omulele, Jones Mlolwa, Ben Shinali, Dan Wanyama, Sylvanus Maritim, George Sunkuiy, Charles Nguna and one staffer, Fred Otieno.
They however stumbled on another delegation from Bunge Sports Club comprising of nine MPs -- including Senators -- and two parliamentary staff whose names were not included in the committee.
Senators Cleophas Malala, James Orengo and Millicent Omanga were also spotted in Russia.
In their report, the MPs offered a commentary of their experience on the final match between France and Croatia. They described the finals as “dramatic”, “controversial” and “a match that was just about everything.”
“France became only the sixth nation to win the world cup more than once, with Croatia missing out on the opportunity to win their first world crown.”
“With six goals, a VAR- awarded penalty, a politically motivated pitch invasion and one of the youngest squads to achieve greatest, there was no shortage of talking points,” their commentary ran.
From the report, the MPs were clearly enthralled by the quality of the stadiums in Russia and they said as much in their recommendations. They also got time to train in some of the mini-stadiums spread across Russia.
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Mindless of the fact that they control the budget making process, the MP pitched for more funding of the national team, building of stadiums and promotion of sports activities.
“For Kenya to host a major event like World Cup, the relevant departments must start working towards keeping the environment clean,” the MPs said.