AFC Leopards fans back Ababu Namwamba amid Kenya Kwanza political onslaught
Ababu Namwamba, the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Youth and the Arts, celebrated the recovery of the football scene in Kenya in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic and the FIFA suspension in Kenya.
“Supa (super) happy to see football back in full swing across Kenya. Recovery from Covid19 and the FIFA suspension has not been easy. But we sure are on the right trajectory.. #TalantaHela,” said CS Namwamba on the evening of August 28, 2023.
He said this following his attendance of the match between AFC Leopards and FC Talanta that took place at the Nyayo Stadium in Langata Constituency. 2,849 tickets were sold for the match with 153 of the ticket holders being VIPs- and among the VIPs was CS Namwamba and his children. According to the Leopards, Sh 615,700 was collected but the match ended up being goal less.
Of key interest, however, was that as CS Namwamba arrived at the station, he was met with hundreds of AFC Leopards fans who sang vernacular songs praising him. In one song, to the tune of traditional Luhya beats, they sang ‘those judging Namwamba will be judged harshly in heaven.’
These songs of praise and support come in the wake of CS Namwamba enduring a difficult time as a section of Kenya Kwanza Parliamentarians- his fellow allies- turned on him in regards to the management of Sports and sportsmen and women in Kenya.
Among those who’ve taken an issue with Namwamba’s activities as Cabinet Secretary are Uasin Gishu Woman Representative Gladys Boss Shollei, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah (Kikuyu Constituency).
Ms Shollei faulted Mr Namwamba for the hardships that Kenyan athletes have faced at the ongoing World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. She also claimed the athletes flew economy while Athletics Kenya and Ministry officials flew first class, . She also cited another instance that athletes left the country for the past Tunisia beach games with fake Adidas shoes bought from River Road in downtown Nairobi, an area known for manufacturing knock offs of various products.
Additionally, she claimed the Ministry was not being proactive in investigating and incarcerating perpetrators renowned for tricking young athletes to take drugs listed among doping substances after telling them the drugs are supplements. Shollei also claimed that the Talanta Hela App, a feature of the program that falls under Namwamba’s docket, does not exist online despite the Ministry claiming they had launched it.
Mr Ichung’wah slammed Mr Namwamba over claims of bulldozing his way through traffic in fuel guzzlers flying government flags and escorted by Subaru police vehicles. He also apologized to Kenyans and the sports men and women who represent the country – on behalf of the government – for how the Sports docket operates; and neglects and ignores sportsmen and women, vowing to summon Namwamba to answer to Parliament why he lacks the time to attend to people representing Kenya abroad.
Senator Cherargei chimed in on Honorable Ichungwa’s sentiments, adding that CS Namwamba is mismanaging the sports scene in Kenya into oblivion.
“Tonight I echo sentiments of Hon. Ichung’wah Majority Leader National Assembly that CS Ababu continues to mismanage into oblivion our beloved sports. How can ministry officials fly first class with their girlfriends to Olympics Budapest, Hungary, at the expense of our athletes? Our female athletes being exploited sexually & economically! Parliament must summon CS sports to avert disastrous mismanagement of our sports!” said Senator Cherargei.
CS Namwamba later appeared before Parliament last week to answer questions, vowing that he will not resign from his position despite the pressure from Parliament. He said there was no evidence of abuse of office or corruption brought against him and that his Ministry is performing “exemplary well.”
“The Kenyan team in Budapest is actually properly kitted by the kitting partner who is Nike. The team was accompanied by 13 government officials, and two officers from the ministry. I want to assure the house that the ministry took full responsibility for this team. Upon their return from this trip, we had a reception at the airport complete with traditional dancers, which is a tradition for us in this country, we had officials from the ministry…I have images and videos of the very elaborate ceremony at the airport,” said CS Namwamba in response to several questions.
He added that the ministry is not a one man show, and that there are two Principle Secretaries who at times represent him in some functions when he is committed elsewhere.