Sports ministry under fire: Officials cry foul over poor working relations with parent ministry

By Robin Toskin: Wednesday, September 26th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Sports
The out-going Dr Hassan Wario and the incoming Rashid Echesa Mohamed (left) upon assuming office as CS of Sport and Heritage on Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Sports federations in the country are accusing the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage of dragging on its feet and failing to respond to their budgetary requests.

Multiple federations that spoke to Standard Sports yesterday said their frustration is reaching boiling point.

The accusations come a day to a meeting called by the State Department for Sports Development slated for Kasarani Stadium amid fears the Treasury has also pulled the rug under the feet of Sports Ministry over the control of billions of shillings from betting and gambling taxes.

Standard Sports has also learnt the federations will hold a meeting today to adopt a common stand against what they described as “a ministry not sensitive to the needs of sports organisations.”

“There is a big problem at the Sports Ministry, which if the appointing authorities don’t sort out, sports in this country will collapse,” a federation head, who sought anonymity for fear of victimisation of their association, told Standard Sports.

“Two officials of Kenya National Sports Council Charles Nyaberi and James Akama were detained in their hotel in Burundi for two weeks during the East Africa Games last month just because the Ministry could not pay the bills in good time,” the official said.

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Another official said: “The failure by the ministry to respond to letters addressed to them is showing brazen contempt to sports people let alone a dereliction of duty. If they cannot respond to our letters promptly then why are they in those offices in the first place,” the official said.

The agenda of the meeting called by the State Department for Sports Development, according to the letter signed by a Mr KM Farrah, is to discuss compliance with the Sports Act 2013, financing sports activities, the current government austerity measures, federations plans and budgets for 2018/2019 financial year and compliance with Anti-Doping Act 2016 and ADAK rules.

Several federation officials, however, are reading a sinister motive behind the meeting on Thursday.

“The stage had already been set when we were sent a letter directing us to comply with the PFM Act 2012, which clearly is in conflict with the Sports Act 2013. Someone somewhere could be out to rail-road us to the new Sports Fund,” the source said.

The letter also signed by KM Farrah reads: “This is once again to remind you that the State Department for Sports like any other Government institution draws its funds from the Exchequer which is governed by the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act 2012 and the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015.”

“Therefore from the date of the correspondence, all federations seeking support must meet the following criteria (see fact box),” the letter inviting federations for meeting.

On August 10, citing the PFM Act 2012, Treasury CS Henry Rotich created a Fund to be called Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund with a copy and paste mandate as specified in Sports Act 2013, which established the initial National Sports Fund.

Contacted for comment, Sports PS Kirimi Kaberia’s phone went unanswered but a ministry official who did not wish to be quoted said it was wrong to mix the two issues.

“The Sports Fund created by the Treasury CS is a different thing altogether while this other meeting is meant to address house-keeping issues with the federations,” the official said.