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Kenya: Ruto: Govt to pay athletes their dues

Deputy President William Ruto has assured sportsmen and women that the government has now put in place measures to ensure they are promptly rewarded.

Ruto also announced the government will ensure the stalled renovation works at four sports facilities are completed before the end of this year.

The facilities, according to PS Kirimi Kaberia, are Nyayo stadium in Nairobi, Kinoru Stadium (Meru), Chuka Stadium and Kipchoge Keino (Eldoret).

“We are going to invest in sports because sports unites. Thirty five percent of the proceeds we get from Sports Fund will be channelled towards investing in sports activities,” the DP said.

Ruto was speaking while hosting the World Cross Country Championships team at his Karen residence on Thursday night, and also assured all athletes that their pending allowances and bonuses stretching back eight years – totalling Sh234 million – will be cleared in full by President Uhuru Kenyatta this month.

“As our heroes and heroines, I’m finalising plans to enable you meet the President (Uhuru Kenyatta) in the next two weeks. I can assure you he will be excited to host you and we will then pay you all those allowances during that meeting,” the DP added.

Kenya won two gold, three silver and three bronze to finish second, behind Ethiopia at the 43rd edition of the World Cross County Championship in Aarhus, Denmark last weekend.

“We are proud of you coming second out of the 67 countries at the championships. In a world of about 6 billion people and 193 countries, you finished second. We could have differences in politics, but you are a special team because you unite the whole country.”

Earlier, the DP was stunned by the challenges facing these athletes while on national team duty and especially the consistent delays in receiving their allowances and bonuses.

Geoffrey Kamworor, who bagged bronze in the 10km senior men race in Denmark, was bold enough in his submission, telling a hushed audience which included Sports CS Amina Mohammed, Kaberia, Senators

Kipchumba Murkomen and Aaron Cheruiyot, lawmakers Dan Wanyama and Victor Munyaka, that the “government shouldn’t make promises it cannot keep.”

Munyaka revealed the Sports Fund has generated Sh24 billion over the past year, with proceeds mainly raked in to the kitty via taxes from the betting industry.

The delays in payment seem to be an all round problem in sports, with the men and women’s national football teams for example, also waiting to be paid allowances and bonuses stretching back three years.

Murkomen said the Senate will hold to account county governments on investment done in sports.

The Sports Fund is meant to finance the development of sports and recreation facilities that includes stadiums, gymnasiums, buildings and tracks as well as enhancing support and access to funding for sportspersons and sports organisations to enable their participation in sporting events and competitions.

By Daily Nation

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