Sports agenda: What's in Azimio and Kenya Kwanza manifestoes?

UDAs William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja's Raila Odinga.

With only 38 days left to the General Election, political coalitions in Kenya are scrambling to get their strategies and formations aiming to garner more than enough votes come August.

Top of the coalitions' agenda is their party manifestoes. Though the political talk is centred on improving the economy, sports is also a sector that needs refining, if not an overhaul.

At the moment, sport in Kenya is at a crossroads. The national football teams are serving a FIFA ban, with the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) suspended and the leagues being run under a transitional committee.

National teams in other sports have resorted to asking well-wishers for funding, amid claims they are incapable of financing their trips for international assignments.

Earlier in the week, Kenya’s Simbas head coach Paul Odera appealed to fans to raise money for the team's upcoming 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in France, scheduled for July 1-10.

The Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) last month said the ladies' team (Malkia Strikers) are in danger of missing the World Championships due to a lack of funds. 

In April, Auditor General Nancy Gathungu revealed billions disbursed to various sports federations in the country could not be accounted for. 

Standard Sports takes a look at what's in it for sports in the political coalitions manifestoes:

Deputy President and UDA Presidential candidate William Ruto during the launch of UDA's Manifesto at Kasarani complex, Nairobi. June 30,2022 [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Kenya Kwanza last night unveiled its manifesto at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani, promising a myriad of changes in the sports sector.

Within 100 days, the coalition promised to establish a high-level expert task force to identify sustainable sources of sports funding, with the consideration of a national lottery, tax incentives for corporate sponsorship, a dedicated or ring-fenced tax, and a public-private partnership structure for infrastructure development.

They also vowed to establish and resource adequately a devoted function within the tourism promotion function to appeal to international sporting events.

The Ruto-led team also plans to leverage the country’s international athletics brand, aiming to develop a domestic sports attire manufacturing cluster.

They plan to expand the National Youth Talent Academy (NYTA) to include all sports, devolve it to county level and introduce a County Sports Talent Academy, with the ability to spot talent and provide necessary support through sponsorship.

Last on the Kenya Kwanza's sports agenda is promoting county leagues and inter-county sports championships while establishing a sporting heroes compassionate (benevolent) fund.

Azimio- One Kenya Alliance presidential candidate Raila Odinga launches his manifesto at Nyayo stadium on June 06, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Azimio La Umoja coalition, on the other hand, released its manifesto on June 7, identifying four opportunities to improve the sports sector.

These include increasing the quality of sports facilities and harnessing the rising demand for sports professionals, professional management, education, training and talent development. The coalition also aims to inculcate a culture of healthy living. They also seek to harness an increasing number of creative arts professionals while expanding the market as they develop policies, legal and regulatory frameworks.

To realise this, Azimio plans to:

- Reorganise sports funding and work with bodies of non-Olympic sports to prioritise long-term success

- Improve standards in sports management, enhancing transparency, accountability and coaching standards

- Integrate sports training and talent development at all levels of education by creating 47 county sports talent development centres

- Reclaim illegally acquired sports and recreation facilities and sites

- Improve the nurturing and welfare of youth and retirees from the sports and creative industry

- Establish a new mandatory governance sports code that will be rigorously enforced at home, set a new standard internationally, and introduce a mandatory ‘Duty of Care” for all athletes.

- Invest in sports participation by women, girls and People Living with Disabilities.

- Establish a Sports Business Council to develop a new business strategy and improve access to finance and skill development.

- Introduce a ‘Sports Cabinet’, bringing comprising sports ministers to help achieve coordination and sharing of best practices.

- Intensify staff input, support and training development in strategic locations across the country

- Improve performance and training in sport

- Introduce new grant conditions and guidance for academic institutions which place importance on sports and PE programs.

- Ensure the country is competitive in every competition they participate in.

Professor George Wajackoyah, leading the Roots Party agenda, is keeping his cards close to his chest and has not revealed the plans he has for sports in the country.

David Mwaure Waihiga of the Agano party is set to launch his manifesto on Monday, July 4, 2022.

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