BY MWANAHABARI REPORTER
The Senate has called for an investigation into Team Kenya’s poor performance at the last Olympic Games, a probe that could land four top sports editors and high ranking government and sports officials in collision with the law.
At the centre of the call by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei is the clandestine deal entered between the ministry of sports and representatives of four leading media houses – for a potential cover-up for another ‘Rio scandal’ expose.
While calling for an explanation on the selection criteria used ahead of the Tokyo Games, Cherargei questioned the private engagement between the Ministry of Sports and local media.
Struck a deal
Ministry of sports is understood to have struck a deal with top sports editors from Standard, Nation, Citizen and Capital who were facilitated on government budget to cover the event in Tokyo.
In the deal, Mwanahabari understands that each of these editors; Robin Toskin – (Standard deputy editor- sports), Elias Makori (Nation –sports editor), Mike Okinyi (Citizen TV) and Alex Isaboke (Capital Sports Editor) were allegedly paid Sh25,000 a day, for the 40 days they were in Japan.
The four were gazetted as the Team Kenya Media team.
Cherargei requested for a statement on the performance of the Kenyan national team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan.
“I seek the statement, pursuant to standing order 48 (1); from a Labour and Welfare Committee, regarding the performance of the Kenyan national team to the 2021 Tokyo in Japan and mismanagement of athletes by the ministry of sports, athletics Kenya and the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK),” Cherargei said in parliament last week.
Why did we perform so badly
The senator wants the committee to among others; state the reasons for the dismal performance of team Kenya in Tokyo in both track and field events, including a historic loss of the men’s 3000 metres steeplechase. Kenya lost the title to Morocco, which was a first since 1964.
“The ministry should reveal the terms of engagement between the public and private media, and the ministry of sports, detailing the allowance paid and expenses inquired to facilitate the media and editors to cover Olympics in Japan.”
Cherargei also wants the committee to compel the ministry of sports and Athletics Kenya AK), and the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), to avail the details of the contract between them and sports apparel, NIKE with regards to the just-concluded games.
NIKE is the official Team Kenya’s merchandise partner
The senate wants NIKE to reveal the exact number of kits handed to Team Kenya ahead of the games.
Some of the journalists (the four editors) who accompanied both the Olympic and Paralympic team to Tokyo were also fully kitted by NOCK.
Involved of the media to this extent, has been viewed as a plan by the ministry of sports and NOCJ, to avert a possible repeat of what happened at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games where Wahiga Mwaura, the then citizen TV reporter exposed the famous Rio scandal.
From the expose, former Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and Chef De Mission, Stephen Soi, were found guilty of misappropriation of funds.
Soi was slapped with the heaviest penalty of a 10-year jail term or a fine of Sh103 million while Wario was fined Sh3.6 million.
The four have been working very closely with the Ministry of Sports, having also rendered the same services the World Safari Rally, the World Athletics Under 20 championship and the Kip Keino Classic.