Judo team to EA tourney in Burundi claims hardships

KJA chairman, Shadrack Maluki and secretary, Joan Githua (front R and L) pose with the ...
KJA chairman, Shadrack Maluki and secretary, Joan Githua (front R and L) pose with the national team. PHOTO/Courtesy)

The national judo team that is on their way back from Bujumbura, Burundi where they took part in the just concluded 10th East Africa Championships told Inooro FM of hardships they have endured during the trip expressing fears their allowances will not be paid.

Kenya bagged five gold and eight bronze medals at the tournament with the squad that is expected to arrive on Sunday morning enduring a long bus journey from the Burundi capital where the tournament delayed to accommodate them when the vehicle they had been hired for broke down enroute to the event.

Inooro FM established from a passionate plea sent from one of the squad members of how they had gone through the tournament without their allowances while accusing their officials of plotting to ‘pocket’ them.

In fact we had been promised we will be paid our all allowances after the game. Later, tukaambiwa gover haijarelease doo (we were told the Government has not released money) of which we are aware pesa ya kila mchezaji ilitolewa (each player’s money was released) and that officials want to take all the money,” the squad member who’s identity is withheld for fear of victimisation wrote to Inooro FM sports desk.

Jana ilikuwa nivute nikuvute when tunaambiwa pesa gover imeachilia ni ya hoteli pamoja na ya gari pekee (Yesterday/Thursday, it was a tug of war when we were informed the Government had only sent money to cater for hotel bills and transport) which has never happened,” the judoka added.

Speaking on the subject on Friday, Kenya Judo Association (KJA) president, Shadrack Maluki and his secretary general, Joan Githua dismissed the allegations assuring the allowances will be settled.

“This one is politics from our detractors. We are sponsored by the Government and you know the procedures of payment of Government takes long, so the allowances will be paid on arrival.

“We have been assured by the Government when the money will be released, they will be paid. The most important thing was first of all is to bring them home, we have paid the hotel and the transport and when they come here, we shall pay the allowances,” Maluki said.

“The reason why they delayed in Burundi is because the dates were changed for the competition. The Minister is aware of that; we got money from the ministry yesterday (Thursday) for the accommodation and transport.  What happened is because we had not released the money by the Government, and the competition is already there and if you don’t go through, then you can’t go to the higher level. If we didn’t do this, Kenya would not have participated in African champions,” Githua further explained.

Sisi tunadai haki yetu which is allowances mbona tusipewe wamezoea. Tunaambiwa na officials for those willing to leave pesa yao italipwa Nairobi. Hiyo ndio imekuwa mutindo (We are demanding our right which is allowances, why are we not being paid? They are used to this habit. We are being told those who are willing to leave, their money will be paid in Nairobi. That has been the trend),” the player added.

The player then alleged they were coerced to board the bus back home to avoid being stranded in the country that has witnessed violence in recent times following the controversial re-election of President Pierre Nkurunzinza.

“Last time we were Zanzibar in fact tulilala njaa only to realise baadaye pesa gover ilitoa hata before tutoke Kenya kitu 1.6m unajua kenye tulipewa 3k only (last time we were in Zanzibar, we slept hungry only to realise later the Government had set aside Ksh1.6m even before we left the country and you know, we were only paid Ksh3,000).

Maputo the same pliz we as players tunaomba uwasiliane minister of sports Wario make him aware of the situations here in Burundi we are intimidated to be here na the town is full of police men its not safe at allow. Tunafukuswa hotel. Officials wanataka kuenda watuache huku (Maputo was the same, please as players, we request you to get in touch with Minister of Sports, Wario and make him aware of the situation in Burundi. We are intimidated to be here. The town is full of policemen and it’s not safe. We have been chased out of the hotel and the officials want to leave us here),” the plea for help continued before Inooro FM sports desk confirmed the team were on their way back.

“The Zanzibar issue was sorted out, that was back in 2013 and the Maputo was in 2014. Since 2014, we have gone to seven trips and these people have been paid their allowances. The only allowances they have not been paid are these ones and they will get them upon landing.

“I can tell you the allowances are paid directly by the ministry and they sign, we do not touch any money for players, they go directly and sign because we have submitted their list. Even a player who is talking about (this), we have done about seven competitions and all this has been cleared, including Gabon last year and in January when referees went to Japan,” Githua stressed.

“We know where these things are coming from, there are some people who cannot agree to be defeated and they keep on coming in. Trust me, the team performed well, why was that not raised? When they see a small problem, finance is a problem, every federation has a problem with finances,” her president, Maluki, added.

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