NAIROBI, Kenya, July 1 – Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Nkaiserry has assured that the ongoing political activity in the country ahead of the August General Elections will not interfere with Kenya’s hosting of the IAAF World Under-18 championships beginning July12-16 at the Kasarani Stadium.
The Championships which will be in its final edition will come slightly a month to the National Polls August 8, a time when the country will be flooded with political campaigns thus putting all the security organs on their toes.
Nkaiserry, speaking this morning after conducting an inspection at the championships venue as well as the accommodation facility at the Kenyatta University, said there are enough personnel within the police service to secure both the campaigns and the global event.
“We have enough resources in terms of personnel to secure the country not only for the championships. We are ready. We have put in place a good program of securing this country. Since 2013 we have recruited over 30,000 police officers so we have enough to take care of the campaigns and to take care of these championships,” Nkaiserry told Capital Sport.
The Cabinet Secretary, himself a retired Army General from the Kenya Army has assured that security will be a first priority especially after a number of countries pulled out with uncertainty.
Nkaiserry led a high powered government delegation on a tour of the venues and he was impressed with the work put in especially with the athletes’ village at the Kenyatta University which the government has spent Sh2bn on.
“Looking at how it was the first time and now, there is so much work that has been done and I am happy. The only concern I have is the cleanliness, both at the hostels and the competition venue at Kasarani. I have instructed them to look into it and I am confident because we have all the contractors on ground,” he said.
The team will make a second visit at both venues on Monday for a final dry run and the track is expected to be opened on Wednesday where sprint athletes are expected to start their training, according to Local Organizing Committee Chair Mwangi Muthee.
To avoid interference, the stadium will be closed for four days from Sunday where marking of the already laid blue Mondo tartan track will commence.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, who was also part of the delegation, noted that work has moved on so fast and with only 10 days before the curtains open on the event, he is confident the finer details will be completed by the end of the week.
“As government we have invested a lot. We have worked tirelessly and now we are asking Kenyans to come out and fill this stadium. We have learnt a lot and this experience will be taken into the future and the future is for Kenya to hold the World Championships and bigger things,” Wario said.
Kenya is set to host its second biggest ever event after the 1987 All Africa Games with over 131 countries expected to converge in the capital for the last ever edition of the Under-18 Championship.
Meanwhile, Wario has also said plans are being mooted to ensure the Sh2bn project at Kenyatta University including the hostels and training venues will be put into good use as part of the legacy plans after the Championships.
The CS said plans are in top gear in collaboration with the University officials to turn it into a high performance training centre, with the IAAF said to be hugely interested in the program as well.
At the same time, athletes will start arriving in the country on Saturday and they will be training at the University training track as well as the Kasarani training arena. The competition venue will only be reserved for sprint athletes.
Athletics Kenya meanwhile has said 40 retired athletes have been selected to officiate during the championships and they are currently undergoing training. Also, AK will invited legends and former athletes to the championship to inspire Kenya’s next generation of stars.