What you need to know:
- The ministry is currently reviewing the Sports Policy and the Sports Act, 2013 for possible amendments that will help to develop sports in this country.
- Through the inter-governmental relations mechanisms, we are encouraging county governments to enhance support to the sports sector.
This week Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia responds to your questions.
1. All Kenyan sports federations and associations are in a management crisis due to corruption among officials who have made a habit of exploiting our sportsmen and women in both national and international competitions. What is your office doing to clean up the mess and reform the sector? Daniel Murugu, Nakuru
I refute the assertion that there is a management crisis in the federations.
However, the State Department has identified areas that need improvement to promote integrity in sports.
We have come up with a raft of measures to reform the sports sector in the country.
Among other things we have reviewed our procedures and guidelines on financing sports federations to improve accountability.
We have made changes across the board and are beginning to see results in many areas, including athletics and non-traditional areas.
We are carrying out training for the federations every Thursday and invite all interested parties to join us.
It is a practical class where federations learn about the procedures for applying for support from the Fund.
We have made it clear that all federations must adhere to existing laws, which include the Sports Act 2013, the Anti-doping Act 2016, and other international laws.
The month of October was one of celebration after celebration as our athletes broke records, led by Eliud Kipchoge.
However, the concerns of many athletics enthusiasts are the many reported cases of doping involving even some of the big names in athletics.
2. Sir, is the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) sufficiently resourced even as National Treasury implements austerity measures across all government departments and agencies? Do you have confidence that ADAK is ring-fenced from corrupt individuals in its crucial duties? Komen Moris, Eldoret
The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) is one of the most important organs in our ministry.
The government appreciates the critical work that it does in promoting “clean” sports and it has continued to support the agency by providing the necessary resources to enable it perform its work effectively.
The agency continues to play a very special role and is one of the institutions that are globally respected.
A number of international partners are interested in collaborating with ADAK with a view to strengthening the fight against doping.
I have confidence and wish to confirm that the agency is in good hands in terms of leadership and management. ADAK is safe from any interference.
3. Successive sports ministries have grappled with and failed to address the thorny issue of sporting organisations, teams and individuals lacking finances to fund their programmes. What are you doing to turn the tide? Raphael Obonyo, Nairobi
We appreciate that financial constraints have been a major challenge to sports development over the years.
However, this challenge is surmountable. The government established the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund to address some of these challenges.
At the same time, we are encouraging sports federations to reduce over-reliance on funding from the government.
The corporate sector has over the years supported the development of sports in Kenya.
We encourage sports federations to improve their relationships with the non-state actors to advance their programmes.
We also encourage players in the corporate sector to support sports programmes as a way of developing sports and transforming communities.
Money provided to sports has a tax rebate. Corporates should take advantage of this law. The ministry is working with some corporates to fund sports.
It is however the responsibility of federations to finance their sports programmes and we encourage them to come up with innovative ways of generating finances.
These include developing vibrant marketing strategies and increasing their fan base. Other ways include merchandising and membership.
4. Kenyans were hopeful that the sports policy and Sports Act of 2013 would bring order and ensure development of sports in the country, but it seems nothing much has changed. What are you doing to address the sorry state? Raphael Obonyo, Nairobi
The sector is undergoing major changes. The institutions created by the Sports Act 2013 are fully operational.
The ministry is currently reviewing the Sports Policy and the Sports Act, 2013 for possible amendments that will help to develop sports in this country.
No change comes without resistance. We have changed the old ways and today athletes are at the centre of policy and operations.
We have also established clear checks and balances for greater accountability, transparency and efficiency.
Demand for accountability should not only come from the ministry, but also the sporting fraternity and the public.
We must demand accountability and clarity in expenditure of public resources.
5. In the run-up to the 2017 General Election, Deputy President William Ruto promised that six stadiums of international standards would be built. This was to happen in six months. To date, we haven’t seen anything. Where are these stadiums that were promised? Could you mention any stadiums that the national government has built in, say, the last five years? Joseph Wafula, Mumias
The government is committed to delivering on its promise of building stadia.
The stadia are in various stages of completion. Delays in completion of the facilities have been due to financial constraints.
We have discussed with the contractors the payment modalities and they have accepted to go back to work.
6. Sir, how has your ministry supported body-building in Kenya? Why is it that we have never had a national event in body-building held with support from the ministry to the Kenya Body Building Federation (KBBF)? Gerald Mwangi
The government is committed to developing all disciplines, including body-building.
This will help us diversify areas in which our country performs well and also develop the talents of our youth.
I would like to encourage the Kenya Body Building Federation to strengthen its relationship with sports stakeholders, including the government.
We are going to work together for the growth of body-building in Kenya.
7. Football fans in the country have become more and more attracted to European leagues compared to the local one. If we rule out the major issues affecting football clubs in Kenya such as sponsorship challenges and mismanagement, what can the ministry do to make Kenyans follow local football? Oluchina Antony, Eldoret
The ministry has been working with FKF and other sports federations to increase spectators’ enthusiasm and interest in local sports.
We have in the past waived gate charges to encourage fans to attend matches.
We are working with other agencies to improve safety and security during sports events; this has increased fans’ confidence when attending matches.
We are working with the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya and the media fraternity to publicise local competitions and to raise public awareness.
We appreciate that the media gives sports adequate space and will continue working together to increase the local content.
The government has provided tax incentives for corporates to sponsor sports, including football.
We are negotiating with local and international academies and clubs to establish units in various parts of the country.
8. Why is it proving to be very difficult for sports federations to get funding for national teams from the Sports Fund or the national government? Who is not doing his job in planning ahead? Jeff Kinyanjui, Nairobi
No matter how much money there is, no amount can satisfy the sports need unless it is properly used and accounted for.
The Fund has developed procedures and processes that must be adhered to for any federation or programme to access funding.
Funding is based on priority list of the sports events. Federations have been enlightened on the processes and procedures through various forums, including training and meetings.
We encourage sports federations to continue familiarising themselves with the requirements and operations of the Fund.
The federations must be ready to be audited for all finances that they manage and to fully disclose any other sources of funding for the programmes for which they seek support from the Fund.
I wish to reiterate the need for structure, procedure and accountability. Integrity must be the guiding principle for the fund to meet its mandate.
9. We hear of last-minute rush to purchase air tickets every time our national teams are due to represent the country in international tournaments. Why does the Sports ministry wait for the last minute to perform such administrative tasks? Who gains in this last-minute confusion? Jeff Kinyanjui, Nairobi
The ministry has always insisted on timely planning and sharing of information. However, this does not always happen.
To address the problem, we have issued guidelines that require federations and organisers to provide details of all persons travelling for international sports events at least two months before the event.
The system is now in place to address these challenges. The last two major events had the allowances and tickets provided in good time because information was given in good time.
10. Our county governments seem uninterested in matters relating to sports. They give many promises, such as putting up modern sports facilities, without effective implementation and follow-up. What is your take on this and how can your ministry step in to bridge this gap? Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi
Sports is a concurrent function between the two levels of government. Through the inter-governmental relations mechanisms, we are encouraging county governments to enhance support to the sports sector.
The ministry provides technical support on sports to county governments and is also working with them through the Kenya Academy of Sports to identify, nurture and develop sports talents at the grassroots.
11. Your public spat with FKF president Nick Mwendwa is not good for development of sports, and the adversarial relationship the two of you gives us, sports lovers, goosebumps about the future of football in the country. What is the genesis of this bad blood between the two of you? For the sake of the beautiful game, can you put your personal differences aside and work together for the good of football in the country? Bramwell Osotsi, Nairobi
There is nothing personal between me and Nick Mwenda.
The ministry has supported football over the years, including the just-concluded Afcon.
However, we insist on accountability and procedures when it comes to management of public finances.
We would also want federations to follow the necessary procedures on accessing financing from the government.
Secondly, for those that have received public funds, they must bear the responsibility to account truthfully and fully for the funds.
This is the law. If you are asked to answer 1+4 you cannot choose 4+7 and claim to have answered. Nick is my very good friend.