Why Uhuru Kenyatta’s Regime Failed the Sports Sector; Things William Ruto’s Government Needs to Look at

Why Uhuru Kenyatta’s Regime Failed the Sports Sector; Things William Ruto’s Government Needs to Look at

  • Uhuru Kenyatta's government put in a below-par performance as far as the sports docket was concerned, with only the Safari Rally being the key point
  • Kenya was banned by FIFA from all football activities following the government's decision to arrest Nick Mwendwa, the Football Kenya Federation President
  • Kenya does not have an accredited stadium for international football events despite Kenyatta's government pumping billions of shillings into renovations

The curtains have officially fallen on Uhuru Kenyatta's reign as Kenya's fourth President. Kenyatta handed over the country to his former deputy William Ruto at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani.

As the country now retreats from an election mood to pave the way for Ruto to implement his manifesto, analysts have continued to dissect Kenyatta's legacy. In as much as there was a significant improvement in service delivery and key infrastructure, there is nothing much to write home about the sports sector.

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Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, sports, Kenya Sports, Harambee Stars, Sports Act, Athletics Kenya
Kenya's fourth President Uhuru Kenyatta and Kenya's fifth President William Ruto, during the handing over ceremony on September 13th. Courtesy @ItsMutai
Source: Twitter

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The sports sector remains one of the most undervalued projects in Kenyan history despite the enormous amount of wealth and potential within our borders. Jubilee's manifesto in 2013 promised refurbishment of several stadia in the country, but as Uhuru exited office, Kenya did not have even a single accredited stadium by the Confederation of African Football(CAF).

Kenya was suspended indefinitely by FIFA

Perhaps the pinch of not having an accredited stadium was not felt enough, given that Kenya did not have any games to stage in the country. Uhuru's government, through the Ministry of Sports under Ambassador Amina Mohammed, reigned in on the affairs of the Football Kenya Federation in November last year. The World Governing body of football, FIFA deemed this as a third-party interference and thus, Kenya was suspended from all football activities.

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The repercussions were severe. From Kenya's national teams missing out on international tournaments to reputable referees failing to get a chance to officiate at FIFA events. Not mentioning the mess created by the series of committees established by Mohammed to run football in the country.

The first order of business under Ruto's government will to be hand over autonomy back to Nick Mwendwa's-led FKF. Only then can FIFA rethink its position on the indefinite ban, Mwendwa's ability and suitability to run the federation notwithstanding.

And talking of Ms.Mohammed, many sports enthusiasts are yet to understand why Uhuru chose to assign the sports docket to someone who did not have any prior experience in sports issues or management.

The reintroduction of the Safari Rally into the WRC map

To their credit and perhaps the only positive thing to their name was the reintroduction of Kenya's Safari Rally to the World Rally Championships calendar for a period of six years. It goes without saying that the ripple effect of the Naivasha spectacle on Kenya's economy is huge.

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Uhuru Kenyatta, Safari Rally, William Ruto, Amina Mohammed
Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta attends the photo group with the FIA World Rally Championship drivers and codrivers during Day Two of the FIA WRC Kenya on June 23, 2022. Photo by Massimo Bettiol.
Source: Getty Images

Kenya also hosted successful editions of the World Athletics U-17 and U-20 Championships. A request to host the senior edition in 2025 was denied. But, questions linger over Kenya's dwindling performances in races that were perceived to be Kenya's strongholds. Athletics Kenya has been put directly in the middle of the saga, with the federation often blamed for failing to scout and prepare talents effectively.

Omanyala's delayed visa left a sour taste on many Kenyans

The case of Ferdinand Omanyala, arguably Kenya's best-ever sprinter, is also a stark record on Uhuru's and Mohammed's records. Despite Omanyala absolving the government from any blame over his delayed visa, the majority of netizens are still hell-bent on the fact that the government failed to step in to help him prepare adequately for Oregon 2022.

Ruto's government will also need to look into the issue of sponsors and adequate funding. The site of teams printing out paybill numbers to raise funds for competitions has become a sore sight. The Kenya Simbas, a national team, recently fundraised to attend the Repechage tournament in France.

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Ruto, and the incoming Cabinet Secretary of Sports, will also need to fully implement the Sports Act of 2013 and the Anti-Doping Act of 2020.

Sports might not be a big priority in this country, given the enormous challenges Kenya faces as a third-world country, but it can be used as a huge stepping stone to provide proper employment to many youths in the country. All it needs is government will.

Omanyala thanks Uhuru Kenyatta for his service

Sports Brief had earlier reported that Africa's fastest man and record holder, Ferdinand Omanyala, has taken time to send a heartfelt message to Uhuru Kenyatta, who is now the former President of the Republic of Kenya.

Kenyatta handed over the country's leadership to his former deputy William Ruto in a colourful ceremony at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani.

Source: Sports Brief News