What you need to know:
- Double Olympic marathon champion and world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge said we need to instill positive morals in our sportspeople.
- “Our society as Kenya is rotten. There is a lot of permissiveness; parents have abdicated their roles. Many of our athletes do not live their lives on the straight and the narrow. Athletes should be careful with the people they associate with,” he said.
Nothing could say it better than the tears that trickled down the cheeks of legendary athlete Catherine Ndereba as she narrated the pain athletes face as victims of gender-based violence.
There was a brief pause, and pin drop silence, before Ndereba collected herself and proceeded with participants soaking in the emotional moment.
“Silence no more,” she said. “There should be a place where we can run to. To the Judiciary; criminals should be brought to justice. It is sad to see lawbreakers walking scot free after committing horrible atrocities. My fellow Kenyans, let us do something now, not later!” she said.
The two-time World Athletics Championships winner, a six-time World Marathons Majors winner and two-time Olympic marathon silver medallist spoke at the gender-based violence conference at Diani Reef Hotel in Kwale County Monday.
Sports Principal Joe Okudo asked participants to hold a minute of silence in honour of star athlete Agnes Tirop who was found murdered at her home in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County on October 13 last year.
He said that for gender equality to be achieved, both men and women must all be on the negotiating table.
“If you are not on the negotiating table, you are on the menu. Let us be on the right side of history; let us stand up and be counted in the fight against gender-based violence,” the PS said.
PS State Department Culture Josephta Mukobe said that gender-based violence is more severe among people with disabilities.
“We need to appreciate ourselves, we need to know that we are important, we need to raise the bar to avoid exploitation and settling for less,” she said.
Sports Chief Administrative Secretary Zacharia Kinuthia said that this was the first conference of its kind and thanked Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed for taking the initiative to create a level playing field for all sportspersons.
Chief Justice Martha Koome, in a speech read on her behalf by Supreme Court Judge Njoki Ndung’u, said that the ministry has taken a critical step to bring about much-needed transformation.
“Women have excelled in sports, but gender exclusion remains rampant. Challenging stereotypes is a long journey."
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji said they need required infrastructure and evidence to successfully prosecute cases. He said: “Corruption and lethargy prevent successful prosecution of criminals.”
National Olympic Committee of Kenya President Paul Tergat said the sportsmen and women should have a condusive atmosphere where they can speak their mind without fear of victimisation.
“There is no central place where athletes can run to when they are faced with challenges,” he said.
Justice Ndung’u said: I have tears in my eyes listening to the ordeal that female athletes go through. There are laws to deal with perpetrators and they must be applied. Training camps are breeding ground for paedophiles. I am feeling down,” said the judge, who sponsored the Sexual Offences Act when she was a nominated Member of Parliament.
Double Olympic marathon champion and world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge said we need to instill positive morals in our sportspeople.
“Our society as Kenya is rotten. There is a lot of permissiveness; parents have abdicated their roles. Many of our athletes do not live their lives on the straight and the narrow. Athletes should be careful with the people they associate with,” he said.