Namwamba confident of successful WRC Safari Rally

Sports CS Ababu Namwamba (centre) hands over a dummy cheque for Sh1.486 billion to WRC Safari Rally CEO Phieas Kimathi (right) and rally driver Sylvia King at Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel, Nairobi on May 26, 2023.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • KQ, KCB, Safaricom, CFAO Motors, KWS, KBC part of rally sponsors
  • Sports CS presents government grant of Sh1.486bn for event to be held next month will be next month

Despite slashing by half its sponsorship for the World Rally Championships (WRC) Safari Rally set for June 22 to 26 in Naivasha, the government is confident this year’s edition of the motorcar race will be a success.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba said yesterday that it was because of the tough economic times that the government had reduced its funding for the championships to Sh1.486 million.

Namwamba presented their government’s sponsorship to the Safari Rally Steering Committee and Local Organizing Committee at a function in Nairobi.

Last year, the government pumped in Sh2.6 billion for the famous rally that captured the imagination of the country and indeed the rest of the motorsports loving world.

“Because of the very hard economic times, we have provided support which is half of what was spent in this rally last year,” said Namwamba.

“We believe that even with the tight economic times, the team will still be able to deliver a memorable event and I want to thank your team Phineas Kimathi (Secretary of the Steering Committee) for agreeing to live within the tight means that we must all live in.”

The CS spoke during a breakfast meeting with Safari Rally sponsors at Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi where he was the chief guest.

Kenya Airways, Kenya Commercial Bank, Safaricom, CFAO Motors Kenya Limited (formerly Toyota Kenya Limited), Wildlife Research and Training Institute, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation are also sponsoring the WRC race.

Namwamba assured the partners that they will get value for their money since the Safari Rally “is the most watched of the 13 rounds of the WRC”.

Thirty-four drivers beat the May 22 entry deadline set by the International Automobile Federation for the Safari Rally.

The CS called for improved  in traffic control along the roads leading to Naivasha and spectators’ viewing area on the days of the rally.

Previous editions have seen  crazy traffic gridlocks inconveniencing many road users.

“There are a few areas that we think can be improved and the first one is traffic control. There is always a gridlock as we enter and exit Naivasha,” said Daniel Maundu, General Manager Sales CFAO Motors Kenya Limited.

“In the last couple of editions, we had a lot of challenges with traffic. We inconvenience both the rally enthusiasts and other road users. This year I have asked those controlling traffic, safety and the crowd that we must get it right,” said Namwamba.

Commissioner of Police and Chief Security Officer of the WRC Safari Rally Julius Kabiru assured Kenyans that the event will be free of hitches.

He said that 1,880 security officers drawn from various departments including the Rapid Deployment Unit, Anti-Stock Theft Unit, Recce squad and Anti-Terror Police Unit will be involved. The deployment will run from June 18 to 30.

As part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Safari Rally and government’s initiative to improve forest cover in the country, Namwamba said that the entire Ministry of Youth Affairs, Sports and The Arts together with friends and partners will plant trees at Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on June 16.

It has been dubbed "Sports for Climate Action and Wellness Heritage''.

President William Ruto is expected to launch the commemoration of the anniversary at State House, Nairobi on Friday.

There will be a legends get-together on June 9.

Namwamba said Safari Rally stakeholders including legends and families of those who have passed on will be invited to the event.

Kiburu said that 19 million trees will be planted as part of a national exercise by the government and the WRC Safari rally.

The exercise termed “green legacy” will commemorate the 19 years when the Safari Rally was not part of the WRC.


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