Wario and Soi got convicted for Rio fiasco, but our sports bodies are still filled with criminals

Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario at an anti-corruption court in Milimani on September 15, 2021. [Collins Kweyu,Standard]

Mid this week, Kenyans woke up to the news that for the first time in recent history, a sports administrator and a former Cabinet Secretary for sports were getting convicted for economic crimes.

Ideally, they committed crimes against athletes in the wider sense of the word, and people were surprised because, often, such suspects do not get more than a slap on the wrist. Also, seldom do such issues to do with crimes against athletes reach a prosecutorial stage that can likely lead to a conviction like it happened in this case.

It can be argued that the matter took too long. The crimes were committed two Olympic Games ago, in 2016, and the matter was concluded after the 2020 Olympics.

It is common knowledge that crimes against athletes in Kenya are committed on a daily basis by sports administrators, and even the Sports Ministry. The problem is that the accessories to these crimes are people in high places who gain the most, and those in low places who are snared in to help in protecting the looting, by being given peanuts.

That means that corruption in Kenya exists and is protected at all levels — even by the athletes themselves who are done favours so they turn a blind eye while the grand looting goes on.

Many a time even journalists have been in the mix, and while some of them might be genuinely calling out the corrupt, there are others who do so because they were denied an opportunity to sit at the looting table.

In the case of the Rio Olympics fiasco, the genuine ones played their role well, and that is largely why these cases ended in convictions. They did investigative pieces and some were in the probe committee that, was set up by one of the convicts, and it found him culpable.

That said, to end crimes against sports women and men, the investigative agencies should look in to all Kenya’s sporting entities, for our sports bodies are all filled with criminals.