NAIROBI, October 2 – Sports Minister Helen Sambili has denied claims that she called for the postponement of Athletics Kenya’s (AK) national elections, which have been scheduled for October 9.
Sambili said at a media conference on Thursday that some athletes had raised issues with the way district elections were being carried out by AK.
“We have had complaints from some members of the athletics fraternity regarding how the elections are being carried out and we would like to say as a ministry that we would be happy if Athletics Kenya addresses those issues, before they carry out the election,” said Ms Sambili.
The Minister further stated that she was keen on talking directly to AK to iron out any problems between athletes and the sports governing body.
“I want to emphasise here that as a Ministry, we believe in negotiations. Let these issues be dealt with and we will listen because athletes have done our country proud,” she said.
The Minister was commenting on a statement in a section of the press purported to have been made by her, where she called for the postponement of AK elections by six months to make room for the current constitution to be amended, so that active athletes could run for elective positions.
Asked whether she thought active athletes should be allowed to run for positions, Ms Sambili side-stepped the issue and instead urged AK to abide by the tenets of its constitution.
“AK should look at these issues. If there are former athletes who want to run, let AK deal with it openly, fairly and in time,” said Ms Sambili.
She was speaking after receiving Sh4.5 million from various companies towards Saturday’s homecoming party for athletes in Eldoret that has been organised by Rift Valley Members of Parliament (MPs).
Energy Assistant Minister and Belgut MP Charles Keter donated Sh500,000 on behalf of legislators.
The Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), National Cereals and Produce Board, Kenya Sugar Board and Kenya Commercial Bank are some of the other companies that have weighed in financially towards the homecoming party.
The festivities, which have been organised by the EMO Community Development Society, start on Friday with a road show from the Nyayo National Stadium through Nairobi’s major streets.
The athletes will then be treated to lunch at the Carnivore restaurant before embarking on a game drive at the Nairobi National Park.
They will then fly to Eldoret on Saturday morning and will be paraded through the town to the Kipchoge Keino Stadium, where they are expected to be received by around 600,000 people.