President Kenyatta orders Rio 2016 stars to be paid in full

President Uhuru Kenyatta poses with gold medallists from the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics team at ...
President Uhuru Kenyatta poses with gold medallists from the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics team at State House Nairobi on October 19, 2016 PHOTO/PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture, Dr. Richard Ekai to ensure Team Kenya athletes for the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics Games to be paid all dues owed to them for medalling, allowances and participation without delay.

President Kenyatta who hosted the athletes at State House Nairobi to receive back the flag national flags from the team gave Ekai until Monday to pay the athletes with the Head of State hailed them for competing and winning clean.

“It’s with big pleasure to receive you once again. I’m proud of you and Kenya is proud of you. Most importantly you kept your promise that  we shall play and compete clean. We shall do anything to facilitate you and help you compete.

“I shall personally promise you that I shall take care of the challenges you faced to ensure that there is no repeat of that in the future,” the President added.

He invited the team captains for Olympics, two-time steeplechase champion, Ezekiel Kemboi and his Paralympics counterpart Samuel Muchai who brought two golds from Rio as well as the presidents of Athletics Kenya, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei and National Paralympics Committee of Kenya, Agnes Aluoch to State House on Friday for further deliberations.

President Kenyatta ordered a probe into the mismanagement of the Rio 2016 Olympics team that has seen three senior National Olympics Committee-Kenya officials charged in court while allegations of similar impropriety have dogged the Paralympics squad.

During the function, no Nock officials were invited in a ringing statement of the discontent the Government with those responsible for the scandal where millions of shillings were misappropriated and kit stolen that blighted Kenya’s best ever performance at the Games where the country won 13 medals- six gold, six silver and a bronze.

Similarly the Commissioner for Sport and 2016 Paralympics Chef-de-Mission, Maina Kiruma who was present was asked to step away from the official photo session with the Head of State having initially taken his place alongside the medallists from the Games where Kenya won six medals- three gold, two silver and a bronze.

“The medals Kenya received were more than what the rest of Africa received. Two Olympic records were broken by Vivian Cheruiyot and Conseslus Kipruto in women 5000m and men 3000m steeplechase respectively,” Ekai said when he addressed the gathering.

Athletes present welcomed the declaration having seen payment under the Government reward scheme that was initiated by retired President Mwai Kibaki in 2006 take too long to be delivered with some yet to receive monies owed from events dating as far back as the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow.

“The president has always put athletes needs in his mind and it good for us. Him inviting the presidents and team captains is a good gesture meaning our issues will be discussed in depth,” men Javelin Olympics Silver medalist and world champion, Julius Yego said.

In living in his recent tradition, the President joyfully shared official photos and selfies with the stars present after all formalities were dispensed with.

Rio Olympics champions, Eliud Kipchoge and Conseslus Kipruto were joined by other medallists, Boniface Mucheru (silver men 400m Hurdles), Yego and bronze winner, Margaret Nyairera (women 800m) who will soon join the Kenya Prisons Service team and force.

Speaking separately at a luncheon organised by the Ministry in honour of the Rio 2016 athletes, Sports Aaron Komen, the Director Administration, State Department of Sport said that all monies owed for medals and some of the participation fees had been paid.

“We have started paying. Those who won medals during the Rio Olympics have already been paid and some of the participation. What is remaining is the Paralympics and the officials at the rate of Ksh200,000 per officials.

“The priority is to finish what is current and then go back to the World Championships, Beijing 2015 and Moscow 2013 and African Championships, all that will be paid by next week. The challenge on payment is not even money but the processing. We need them to produce account numbers which tally with their names and identification documents, IDs and passports,” the official added.

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