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Ababu sends Azziad and entire Talanta Hela team packing

Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts Ababu Namwamba has revoked his appointees to the controversial Talanta Hela Council just months after he defended the appointments.

The revocation of the Talanta Hela Council and Technical Committees was published in a Gazette Notice No 7509 dated 9th June 2023.

“It is notified for general information of the public that the Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts has revoked Gazette Notice No 1649 of 2023,” the notice by the ministry reads in part.

Mr Namwamba’s appointments to the Sports and Creative Technical Committees as well as the Council of Talanta Hela had caused public uproar.

The technical creative committee, which was to be chaired by seasoned comedian Daniel ‘Churchill’ Ndambuki, consisted of Akinyi Odongo, veteran radio presenter Jimmy Gathuu, actress Catherine Kamau, singers Wahu Kagwi, Esther Akotheee, Tiktok star Azziad Nasenya, Kizito Makhande, Awadhi Salim Awadhi, Douglas Kipkurui and Langat Susan Ekasiba.

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The Sports technical committee, was led by veteran sports journalist Carol Radull and the Council (board), was spearhead by former blogger Dennis Itumbi and included the Principal Secretary of Youth Affairs & Arts, the Principal Secretary of the State Department of Basic Education, Principal Secretary of Sports and representatives from the Council of Governors as well as 22-year-old TV presenter Claudia Naisabwa.

Namwamba’s appointments evoked mixed reactions from not only the public, but also the creative industry and legislators with Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei a month ago attacking the CS in the Senate for underperformance.

The heat over the appointees also saw Namwamba questioned by the Departmental Committee on Sports and Culture headed by Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama.

The committee sought to know the methodology used in the appointments of the council and its committee, but also on the remittance of royalties to artistes.

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The CS however defended himself stating that whereas the handpicked appointments were made without public participation or via a competitive process, the appointees were a representation of Kenya’s diverse communities.

Last month High Court judge Lawrence Mugambi issued interim injunctions suspending the establishment of the Talanta Hela and its appointees until a petition by Charles Mugane is determined.

The appointees in the council and committees were appointed to serve for a term of three years.

But Mugane argued that it was in breach of Article 10 of the Constitution which spells out the national values and principles of governance on public participation, transparency and accountability.

With the notice CS Namwamba is now set to launch the Talanta Hela programme later today without the council or the two committees.

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