Ababu to appear in House today amid claims of athletes neglect

Ababu Namwamba speaking at the Sports CS's Champion Reception on July 29, 2023. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba will today appear before the National Assembly to respond to allegations of athletes' neglect.

The CS is expected to, among other things, explain the role of the ministry in facilitating Kenya's team to the Special Olympics in Berlin, Germany, in June, and the management of aquatic sports.

Last week, the Olympics team members who appeared in the House raised concerns over their treatment.

National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wa had questioned Namwamba's performance.

"You were made a minister to serve the people and if you are made the Minister of Sports you must serve sportsmen and women of our country and its indeed extremely sad that such good ambassadors can leave our country without due recognition by the ministry in charge of that responsibility," he told the House.

The Kikuyu MP demanded that the CS be summoned over allegations that national sportsmen and women were being neglected at the expense of a few individuals

"To make the matters worse our athletes represent the country, they win, come back and not a single officer in the ministry nor the minister himself has the decency to receive them at the airport. Every minister must be accountable and serve people. You are not made a minister in this country to fly flags in the streets and bulldoze your way through traffic with Subaru escorts. We must make him accountable for his time in office," said Ichung'wa.

"As we celebrate the victory of our men and women striving to win, the highest representation in those stadiums are our ministers carrying joyriders on trips abroad and doing nothing."

A team of 52 athletes are in Budapest, Hungary, for World Athletics Championships.

In response, Namwamba wrote to the National Assembly Speaker requesting to explain the ministry's position.

Speaking on a TV show, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Gladys Shollei and Kisii Senator Richard Onyonka also criticised the ministry.

"I'm happy that this was raised. Coming from Uasin Gishu where most athletes come from it's very painful, I listen to them. Every time they have landed they have come to my home here in Kitusuru," said the Uasin Gishu Woman Rep.

"I've hosted them for breakfast, lunch and talked about their challenges and they tell me their horror stories. They fly economy, the ministry officials are flying business class and first class."

Shollei also questioned the management of Talanta Hela, which was supposed to be launched in the 47 counties to promote youth talent.

"As late as yesterday I looked for the Talanta Hela app (and) it doesn't exist. They told us it was launched," she said.

The app is not available on Play Store and App Store, two months after it was launched at State House, Nairobi.

The Tourism, Sports, Culture and Recreational Sector was allocated Sh12 billion for the 2023/2024 year. About Sh6.4 billion of the amount will go to the Sports, Culture and Social Development Fund.

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