NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 30 – Kenyan Parliamentarians have been challenged to win the football title that has eluded them when the seventh edition of the East African Community Parliamentary Games will be held from December 4 -10 in Mombasa County.
The games were officially launched Wednesday at Parliament buildings by both the National Assembly and Senate Speakers with over 1,000 participants set to compete in football, athletics, netball, tug of war, golf and volleyball.
The games are open to member countries of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) which are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi while South Sudan is the latest member but will not participate in this edition.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is optimistic Kenya will retain the overall title as well as break the jinx of winning the men’s football title.
“As we head down to the Coast we go there with our heads high because we will begin as defending champions for the overall title. My hope is that the football trophy that has eluded us all this years, we will be able to wrestle it from EALA who managed to win it from Uganda and we believe it can be done,” Muturi said.
“I hope that some of my key strikers like Jakoyo Midiwo will put their best feet forward and ensure this is achieved. The main aim of the games is to deepen and widen the cooperation within the partner state and indeed strengthen the ties and relations among the people of the region and be one united East African Community,” he added.
Muturi said they decided to take the games to Mombasa to show the world that the county is safe from terror attacks unlike in the past.
“There has been negative publicity about what was happing in the coast and we thought that hosting the games in Mombasa will be an opportunity for us as a country to showcase what we have been able to do in eradicating stigma of terrorism.”
“In the last few years the National Government has done a lot to ensure there is peace and safety in Mombasa and the menace of terrorism has been dealt with,” Muturi added.
His Senate counterpart Ekwee Ethuro hopes the games will be a perfect platform to preach peace and harmony ahead of 2017 General Elections.
“Our participation in these games is a commitment to our participation in East Africa Community. I noticed that every time we have an election the games come to Kenya, the last time it was here was in 2012 so I’m just hoping the rest of the East Africa is coming to give us goodwill that we will go to the elections in a peaceful manner,” Ethuro declared.
“The only reason why EALA won the football category is because I was missing in action so this time round I will ensure the title comes to Kenya. As a Parliament we had a very great football team and we want to continue in that tradition. We have committed ourselves out of our very busy schedule to train so we are hoping that we will retain all the trophies in Mombasa.”
The games will be held at the Mbaraki Sports Club, Mombasa Stadium and Nyali Golf Club.