Who Will Exorcise the Demons in the Running of Sports in Kenya?
Kenya, once again finds itself on the edge and having to work towards complying with the directives issued by the International Olympic Committee after the disbanding of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya whose membership comprises of affiliates from all the sporting disciplines.
The irony of the whole spectacle is the fact that the International Olympic Committee as created by the Congress of Paris on June 23, 1894 was entrusted with the control and development of the modern Olympic Games yet its offspring; in this case the National Olympic Committee of Kenya seems to be keen on taking away the few sporting disciplines Kenya is involved in within the framework of the Modern Olympic Games!
While the disbandment was the expected reaction after a dramatic Rio Olympics, it is not and cannot be the one thing that would recreate the universe so that everything falls in place. Kenya is a country so rich in culture so that we would stand the best chance of participating in all the major Olympics games if not all the Olympic Games.
How is it that we are unable to harness the resilience of the Turkana’s and the Pokot who have for a long period of time lived and probably built the adaption to survive in the harshest conditions, is it not obvious that such a person equipped with proper training would probably dazzle the world in the 42 kilometre-marathon genre? That we do not have a single Maasai participating in the Javelin and Long Jump competitions speaks of a people bestowed with so much by nature but choose to look elsewhere for their salvation. Our diversity as a people would be sufficient to give birth to a nation of the world’s most exceptional sporting talent!
There is a greater need for the country to reflect on the possible interventions that would bring about sanity in the running of Sports in Kenya and we must be fair to the leadership of the country since for the first time since independence we have a piece of legislation namely the Sports Act that seeks to harness sports for development, encourage and promote drug-free sports and recreation, provide for the establishment of sports institutions, facilities, administration and management of sports in the country. What however remains to be seen is the operationalization of this particular piece of legislation.
The Sports Act creates a body known as Sports Kenya whose mandate among others is to promote, co-ordinate and implement grassroots, national and international sports programs for Kenyans, in liaison with the relevant sports organizations and facilitate the active participation of Kenyans in regional, continental and international sports, including in sports administration.
While the National Assembly has invited the Cabinet Secretary to answer questions regarding the Rio Mess, we are yet to hear from Sports Kenya, yet we have an existing board in which the Attorney General sits and should have guided the executive on the disbanding of the National Olympic Committee. There must be a push by all and sundry for accountability from all the bodies tasked to manage sports in this country.
Unless there is a deliberate effort towards operationalizing the Sports Act in both letter and spirit, the realization of our country’s sports potential will remain just but a moving target despite the amazing sports stories that have come from Kenya.