Ababu Namwamba on neglecting athletes: Special Olympics team to Germany was well facilitated

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba has denied claims that his office has neglected Kenyan athletes, sportsmen, and women.

Appearing before Parliament on Wednesday, August 23, Namwamba, responding to concerns on neglecting the Special Olympics World Games Kenya team in Berlin, Germany in June this year, said that the Ministry provided over Sh159 million to support the team's preparation and participation in the games.

He also said that thirteen (13) government officials and two ministry officials accompanied the team to Germany.

"Let me confirm to this House that I have been available to receive Kenyan teams and send them off multiple times," said Namwamba.

The Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts CS was responding to questions raised by Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Kimani Ichung'wah, who queried about the ministry's role in facilitating the team's travel and accommodation, as well as why the team was not flagged off by the CS or a representative from the ministry.

To which Namwamba responded that he was not in town when the team left for Germany, but that they were fully facilitated.

He added that the team was given a Sh18.75 million cash award and a reception upon their return to Kenya.

“This particular trip did not find me in town because I was performing other duties elsewhere, but the team was fully facilitated. Upon their return, we had a reception at the airport, complete with traditional dancers, ministry officials, and garlands of flowers.  I have images and videos of the very elaborate ceremony,” he clarified.

“We provided Sh750,000 for every gold medal winner, Sh500,000 for every silver medal winner, and Sh300,000 for every bronze medal winner… I believe this team [Special Olympics] was well handled, facilitated, received, and rewarded for their excellent performance.”

The CS also said that he inherited several challenges at the Ministry after his appointment, including a FIFA suspension that he was able to lift within his first month in office.

Namwamba's denial of the allegations comes after several athletes, sports officials and leaders criticised the ministry for its handling of the team's participation in the Special Olympics games.

The Special Olympics World Games Kenya team was composed of 66 athletes, accompanied by 26 coaches and guides.

The games had a global participation of 6500 athletes representing 190 countries competing in 26 different disciplines.

The games involve persons who are intellectually challenged.

The team departed Kenya on different dates between June 10, 11 and 16.