NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 26 – The government has inaugurated two committees to oversee the Safari Rally re-admitted to the high profile FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) by 2020.
The committees known as the Steering Committee and Organising Committee were gazetted in the Special issue of the Kenya Gazette Notice Issue in November last year.
Speaking on behalf of Sports Cabinet Secretary, Hassan Wario, the Director of Administration State Sports Department, Haron Komen said the project, code-named “The WRC Safari Rally Project which will be officially launched to the public and media in due course.
Working under the supervision of the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, the Steering Committee is the oversight authority and will be headed by the Cabinet Secretary in charge of sports deputised by his Principal Secretary.
Others are the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, KCB Group Chief Executive Officer Joshua, James M. Kahumbura and Jaswant Singh Rai.
The Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Organizing Committee is a former rally diver Phineas Kimathi.
He said the functions of the Steering Committee will offer policy guidance in organizational framework, meeting International standards as set out by the WRC promoter and (FIA) federation Internationale’ Automobile.
Kimathi as the CEO will oversee the day to day running of the Organising Committee secretariat mandated to offer managerial services. The PS in charge of sports will be the overall accounting officer.
The committee brings together representatives from five ministries namely; Sports, Tourism, Transport and Infrastructure, Interior and Devolution.
The FIA Vice President and CAMS President, Surinder Thatthi has also been included to offer technical assistance and direction as an experienced steward in WRC events worldwide.
Three directors of KMSF namely; Raghbir Chatthe, Bimal Patel, Manjinder Bansal and the KMSF Rallies Commission Chairman Supinder Soin are all members of the Organizing committee.
Chris Eden an engineer by profession will offer technical advice while veteran journalist Peter Njenga will be in-charge of the Media Centre. Hellen Shiri will be the event Secretary while George Mwangi will represent the drivers.
Komen said the government is committed towards realising the Safari Rally dream, 15 years since the Safari was removed from the 13 rounds WRC.
He said the government’s first sign of commitment was to set up the WRC Safari Rally Project headquarters at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. All procurement will be done under the Public Procurement Oversight Authority.
Safari will be a big boost for Kenya as a brand and promote tourism.
Kimathi enumerated the journey so far covered which started in earnest in 2016 during the FIA Sports Conference in Turin, Italy.
“This has been a highly guarded pitch but now with the State Departments involvement, we must put together proper structures,” said Kimathi.
“We are halfway where we should be. But first we had to insulate this project from hot sports politics because the WRC ranks amongst the top five most prestigious and watched events in the world behind the Olympics, FIFA World Cup and the World Championships in Athletics with a cumulative global television reach of 776 million people.”
He added that the WRC attracts over 8.2 million visitors in the 13 host countries of the WRC annually.
“Even if we received 5 percent of this figure our tourism arrivals will swell tremendously as the WRC is broadcast by 50 different stations in 150 countries generating over 9,000 hours of TV coverage packaged by 1,300 journalists,” he said.