Saturday, 12 January 2013

Sports Bill - Let's Get Kenyan Sport started

After a 10-year heart-wrenching and sometimes frustrating journey, Kenyan sport will finally get its biggest shot in the arm. As the 10th Parliament prepares to end its stay, the one thing the Kenyan sports fraternity will be grateful for is their passing of the Sports Bill ( it awaits Presidential assent to become law as early as March 2013).
Kenya 50 years on - courtesy of
At least our lamentations to our Minister one Ababu Namwamba seems to have borne fruit and history will judge him accordingly.
The Sports Bill had a number of proposals which will among others ensure Kenyan sport changes and is run more professionally as well as addressing the revenue issues which plague majority of the sports bodies.

Check this out;

  • establishment of Sports Kenya Development Authority ( mandated to oversee all sports activities, promote, co-ordinate and implement sports programs and manage sports assets and facilities countrywide among others);
  • establishment of a National Sport Fund ( to raise and manage funds for sports authority as well as advise sports federations on appropriate financial grants among others);
  • establishment of  a National Sports Institute ( to manage sports training facilities, promote research and development, check on current sporting trends and recommend appropriate practices to sports federations);
  • registration and regulation of sports organisations and licensing ( creation of Registrar of Sports organisations, licensing of sports bodies - federation, club or otherwise, inspection of financial records and books among others)
Once the Bill is signed into law, existing sports bodies will have to register afresh and in some cases might have to elect new officials for fresh mandate. This has surely not gone down well with many of the current sports officials. The Bill also prescribes regular monitoring and evaluation of sports bodies through annual reports and returns to the Registrar.

It also offers the Secretary of Sport ( equivalent to the current Minister) to intervene and dissolve a sports body in case of disputes or mismanagement. This again has caused discomfort with some of the federations such as Football Kenya Federation which believe they're beyond any national government interference ( as FIFA honchos have always made national federations feel above the law).
The law has addressed the perennial headache of fund-raising which shall be taken care of by the Sports Fund. This will ensure future national and international representation will have sufficient funds to participate in events and also federations running their affairs smoothly.

But we in Kenyan sport should remain vigilant and ensure that the Sports Law is not just another clause in the Kenyan laws. Just like our legislators, most of the sports officials without interest in the development and growth of sport will fight back and stifle these developments. Law experts tell us that the law doesn't operate in a vacuum and isn't cast in stone - it is in the interests of all those involved to safeguard against its abuse. ( We know that a number of sports bodies campaigned for the removal of the clause limiting the terms of office for sports officials).

As the country marks the golden anniversary and in its over 60 years legacy in international participation in sport, the legislation will pave way for added investment and interest in Kenyan sport. It will ensure professionalism in running sports bodies and see that sport is firmly grounded in case of indiscipline.

Notice is served to all you charlatans running sport! Just like our outgoing MPs, start packing your bags too!

'Useless' Kenya Facts:
The 10th Parliament had quite a number of MPs who have either been sports personalities or managed sports organisations in one capacity or the other. Here are a few noteworthy ones;

  1. Peter Kenneth (MP for Gatanga) - served as Chairman for Kenya Football Federation 1996 -2000( now Federation of Kenyan Football...semantics), played for now-defunct Re-Union as goalkeeper,
  2. Alfred Khangati (MP for Kanduyi )- served as Chairman Kenya Volleyball Federation in the 1990s and
  3. Dr. Sam Ongeri (MP for Nyaribari Masaba)- served as Chairman for Athletics Kenya 1974-84, 
  4. Chris Obure (MP for Bobasi) - played for Gor Mahia in the 1970s ,
  5. Elijah Lagat (MP for Emgwen) - former marathoner who won Boston (2000), Prague (1998) and Berlin (1997) marathons respectively,
  6. John Harun Mwau ( MP for Kilome) - sharp-shooter who represented Kenya in the Olympics in 1968 and 1972 shooting category.
(...if anyone can recall any others, please help us note them)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Rallying & Africa - Worlds Apart...

Around this time of the year up until 2009, rallying enthusiasts across the world and mainly those from Africa would be cheering for what is the most gruelling and once longest rally in the world,  The Dakar Rally ( previously known as the Paris-Dakar Rally). But thanks to the insecurity at the respective countries borders and route, hostilities from nomadic communities along the North African sides and also the nonchalance of the respective Governments and motor rallying bodies of those countries; all these and other factors got the Rally was discontinued.
Dakar Rally - Logo courtesy of 

While in its former state, it was a favourite hangout for European and sometimes Asian drivers out for an African adventure as well as a testing ground for car manufacturers for their off-road contraptions. Its combination of the four wheelers and the motorbikes make it quite the ultimate adrenaline kick for any rallying or speed buff.
Now as indicated in 2009, the organisers Amaury Sports Organisation invited bids for interested countries to host the race. This ended up falling to the South American comrades in Argentina, Chile and Peru. It was a perfect fit for the race since there is a combination of the terrain that is similar to what was experienced driving and riding through the Sahara desert and the French countryside. Except there is no famous crossing like there was on the Mediterranean Sea.

The main observation though as seen in previous posts in about rallying in Africa is the fact that world rallying bodies seem to have lost patience and attraction with the continent in the sport. As we write this, there is no African rally on the World Rally Championship for the 11th year running ( the Safari Rally was the last African escapade after the Rallye Cote'de Ivoire was dropped in 1992. The Paris-Dakar was the only other bigger rallying event that traversed African roads until 'we gladly let it drive away'
Some of the factors of the loss of the interests by major car manufacturers and rally organisers is the fact that running a rally has become extremely expensive - from the crew working on the cars, to the fuel and spare parts involved. African governing authorities have also not seen the need to get directly involved in these events and instead institute tax and other major barriers to the event. It might also be said that the fact that most of the rallies originated from the colonial days meant that there was declining investment by the locals in the sport.
More recently though has been the fact that stringent sponsorship measures have meant reduced targets for overall sponsorships - e.g. the banning of tobacco advertising in the 1990s meant that the Safari Rally quickly seeking new overall title sponsors who would bankroll the event.
We have also seen major car manufacturers jump into the sport only to be driven out by the heavy expenses in hopping around the continents of the world. The latest exits saw the Mini ( after only 2 years ) and Ford (from 1992) world rally teams replaced by Hyundai and Volkswagen respectively.  
Another factor that has seen Africa lose out is the fact that there are few media organisations that are willing to take up the costs of covering and airing the WRC rallies. With every sport increasingly turning to the silver screen for major advertising revenue and the exclusive rights, the world of rallying had no option but to follow suit. Except for SuperSport through its mother company Multichoice, there is no big media company that would be able to carry the events with continental reach and a tidy sum for that.
And so as the continent continues attracting investments of an economic nature, it is imperative for the governments and sports authorities to look out for added value opportunities such as sports events provide. Of course, there is need to involve locals and potential sponsors in what the events would bring for them in terms of visibility, uniqueness and exposure to the rest of the world.

But until then, Africa will remain a forlorn relic in the world of rallying.

For more on The Dakar Rally go to and you can also check this blog