The local sports stakeholders have continued to stand firm behind Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, the Arts and Sports Ababu Namwamba in the wake of condemnation by politicians allied to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA),an affiliate wing of the ruling administration.
According to the Kenya Basketball Federation President Paul Otula, Namwamba has performed his mandate of advocating for the development of the game in the country with distinction and allegations by the legislators of both houses are unsubstantiated.
“We have a CS who is player-oriented and all the ministry policies are aimed at empowering an athlete who form an Integral part of the sport. Unless people don’t have eyes because CS Ababu Namwamba has been consultative with all the local stakeholders of the game and all the critical decisions in governance of our sports have not been a one-man army but through a collection of views by the majority. Our MPs and Senators should continue with their oversight work without necessarily involving sideshows and innuendos which will ultimately derail the workman spirit of growing the game.When he took over he warned everyone against misappropriation of government funds in stadia construction and even during local and international championships and since then everything has been in order.Objective castigation is positive but on this one the CS should be left to steer the sports wheel which he has done well so far” noted the long serving sports stakeholder
His sentiments were reiterated by the Kenya Sports Coaches Association led by their Chairperson David Weru who lauded Namwamba for establishing the Talanta Hela project, a flagship plan to monetize talents in sports and the creative industry.
He said that since the creation of the program in line with the government’s bottom-up economic transformation agenda,several talents across the country especially from the just concluded Kenya Secondary School Sports Association (KSSSA) national games in Kakamega, have been recruited and exposed to the outside world.
“The CS reflected on how we had performed as a country over the years hence need for thinking outside the box.Courtesy of this project which has seen its competent honchos work with the education system to identify schools that will act as academies and nurture certain sports,the local game is blossoming.This is a program which will continue seeing our young lads and ladies get upbrought and rewarded heavily through talent development mechanisms deployed in place by the Ministry of Sports.As part of the implementation of the project, the government has renamed Kenya Academy of Sports to the Kenya Academy of Sports and Arts to accommodate the creative industry” Weru who also doubles up as the Kenya Rugby Union Regional Development Officer for the Nairobi Metropolitan Region remarked.
Under Namwamba’s tenure,Kenya’s ban from global football was lifted by world governing body FIFA in November last year after the suspension had been imposed on the East African nation following move by the former Jubilee government disbanded the country’s football federation (FKF) over alleged misappropriation of funds and appointed a caretaker committee in November 2021.
“On my day one in office today, I engaged FIFA on the phone to commence the process of resolving the impasse that has seen Kenya banned by the world football governing body. Government is committed to returning Kenyan football to normalcy in sync with the rule of law and public good,” posted Namwamba in October last year after taking over the mantle from Ambassador Dr Amina Mohamed
As a result of this development, Kenyan teams and clubs returned to the international stage with Kakamega Homeboyz and Vihiga Queens setting the season in motion with convincing performances at the Caf Confederation Cup and the Cecafa Caf qualifier, respectively.
During last week’s Parliamentary sitting on Thursday, National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichungwa expressed disappointment over how the ministry has ignored Kenyan athletes when they record stellar performances during international competitions.
Ichung’wah said it is appalling to see teams jetting back into the country yet no one from the Sports ministry bothers to celebrate or receive them.
The former Budalangi Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee has already written to the National Assembly and the Senate requesting to be summoned to clear the air on the accusations levelled against his ministry.