Ababu Namwamba pledges to deal with rot in Sports Ministry

Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts CS nominee Ababu Namwamba during vetting at county Hall, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts Cabinet Secretary nominee Ababu Namwamba has pledged to deal with the rot at the Sports Ministry, which he observes has denied the sporting industry the opportunity to grow.

Namwamba, while appearing before the National Assembly’s Committee on Appointments on Friday, acknowledged that some rogue agents had run down the ministry, maligning its name.

“I have a fairly good view of the sporting terrain; I am not under any illusion as to the state of this terrain…It is actually in turmoil. Our football activities are in limbo having been suspended,” Namwamba noted.

The former Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary said he will hit the ground running if approved and would start with talks on the months-long FIFA ban.  

“I will move with haste to start cleaning the mess, starting with the FIFA ban. My first morning in office should I be cleared; I will be on the phone with FIFA president Gianni Infantino,” the CS nominee said.

Namwamba, who once led the Sports ministerial docket between 2012-2013, said several scandals in the Ministry have tainted its name beyond regional borders.

“Kenya is in a state of doping crisis, which threatens to shatter the very-fine image of this country as a sporting nation. People that retire from sportsmanship live in poverty because we don’t have a framework to take care of our sports people in their retirement.”

He said he will make sure that cases such as athletes arriving late for World Championships and sleeping on airport floors due to mismanagement of resources will not play out under his tenure.

“We cannot continue running Sports and the Arts as a sideshow. It must be turned into an industry because you can fully live from it and also be a huge contribution to our GDP,” said Namwamba.

The nominee on Friday also placed his net worth at Sh425 million, which he said he acquired through salary, two residences in Nairobi and Busia counties, company shares in Safaricom, Cooperative Bank, and the Kenya Power, pension, two motor vehicles- a range rover and a jeep wrangler, and two water vessels.

Namwamba is also a former Member of Parliament for Budalangi Constituency, having served for two terms.

He was appointed Foreign Affairs CAS in 2017, and would voluntarily resign to take up a position as Head of International Relations in William Ruto’s presidential campaign team.

Namwamba was also Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports during former President Mwai Kibaki’s-led coalition government.

He holds a Bachelor in Law degree from the University of Nairobi (UoN), and a Master's at the American University Washington College of Law in Washington DC, New York.

The Standard
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