No honeymoon as Namwamba takes over


NAIROBI, Kenya, September 21- Newly appointed Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba promised to dig in and make the most of his short tenure in his new docket with enactment of the Sports Bill before the end of the current parliament’s life top priority.

The Budalangi Member of Parliament who was who was elevated to the post during Thursday’s Cabinet reshuffle formally took over office from Dr Paul Otuoma who was moved to Local Government on Friday.

“Let me announce here that there is no honey moon for me, I will be hitting the ground immediately since the time remaining is short.

“This Sports Bill really has to be enacted before the current session of parliament expires, I think it will be a wonderful boom to sports in this country if it’s enacted and made operational,” the youthful minister passionately expressed during the handover at the ministry headquarters.

Namwamba who was sworn in earlier in the day said he was upbeat about growth of the national football team, Harambee Stars which is currently placed at 125 on the global list

“The current ratings for Stars are unacceptable; there was a time we had risen to position 68 globally which gave opportunity for our footballers to ply their trade in the international leagues.

“You all remember the (McDonald) Mariga case where he couldn’t break into the English Premier League, so the other target is to work with everyone involved to see how we can improve the fortunes of our national team.

The Minister added he was hoping to see Kenyans trooping back to the stadiums as he promised to eliminate hooliganism among supporters.

“I want to see people go and watch sporting activities without any fear of vandalism, disturbance or violence and actually be safe any time of day or night,” he said he called upon Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards fans to observe sportsmanship during their derby on Saturday.

Outgoing minister Otuoma took the opportunity to brief his successor on the challenges he would face in his bid to inject professionalism in the running of local football.

“As the outgoing, I have to tell you that definitely we haven’t achieved what we had envisaged since we can’t do so by talking and quarrelling for the wrong reasons.

“Unless we start seeing results and the teams’ rating start going up then we can say that’s progress, it has to be measurable,” said the outgoing minister.

Among sticking matters in his in-tray is the much awaited London Olympics report that was ordered President Mwai Kibaki that is yet to be released.

The initial document that was prepared by the National Olympics Committee of Kenya was trashed by Otuoma who termed it as a sugar coat of the real reasons that led to the much heralded team to return unsatisfactory resultc.

“You can’t tell me that an athlete who earns more than Sh100m a year is de-motivated by a uniform kit worth Sh1000, I need to think, you must show how it’s possible,” Otuoma said in his parting shot.