Wrangles persist at Paralympics Committee as officials trade jabs


Henry Kirwa (3rd left) competing in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in China. PHOTO/File
Henry Kirwa (3rd left) competing in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in China. PHOTO/File

In Summary

  • The wrangles within the Kenya National Paralympic Committee (KNPC)  has yet again taken another twist with new revelations emerging that over 40 officials accompanied players for the Africa Paralympics Championships held  in Marrakech, Morocco.
  • Prior to their travel to the competition that kicked off on April 21, two factions were locked in a tussle over the leadership of the federation and its affiliates.

The wrangles within the Kenya National Paralympic Committee (KNPC) taken another twist with new revelations emerging that over 40 officials accompanied players for the Africa Paralympics Championships held  in Marrakech, Morocco.

Prior to their travel to the competition that kicked off on April 21, two factions were locked in a tussle over the leadership of the federation and its affiliates.

The controversy pit one wing led by current president Agnes Oluoch against the Douglas Sidialo led faction.

An interim secretariat chaired by Elijah Aliero was subsequently formed to mediate between the two warring factions but Sidialo accuses Oluoch of not complying with the directives of the secretariat.

At the centre of the fight is leadership and team selection which went to Morocco for the championship.

The team jets back today after harvesting 42 medals(11 gold, 14 silver and 17 bronze) at the competition but former chairperson Sidialo has added a new twist to the long running bad-blood alleging that a staggering 40 officials accompanied only 22 athletes to the championship.

“It is actually puzzling to have a team of 22 athletes and 40 officials which is also against the International Paralympics Committee (IPC) conditions that a contingent of 48 people should have travelled; 22 players and about 19 officials with six guides,” Sidialo, fuming at the turn of events made his frustrations felt in an interview with Citizen Digital.

According to Sidialo, the Ministry of Sports is also to blame for the mess being witnessed.

“The Principal Secretary should also explain to us how he allowed 40 officials to travel with the team. This in itself is corruption since they are spending tax-payers money,” lamented Sidialo.

In a letter seen by Citizen Digital, the ministry through the office of the Commissioner of Sports sent a letter with the names of 61 people to the Embassy of Morocco requesting for visas ahead of the travel, with Sidialo now questioning how an additional person travelled with the contingent.

However, when reached for comment, Oluoch who accompanied the team to Morocco rubbished the claims, and instead put up a defence.

“The athletes that travelled to Morocco are 38; eight guides, 14 officials and two physiotherapist,” Oluoch said.

She further dismissed claims by Sidialo that Paralympic gold medalist Henry Kirwa was left behind against the agreement reached between the mediation team and the warring factions.

“Henry Kirwa did not participate in the trials and that is why he is not part of the team,” said Oluoch.

The inaugural continental championships also doubled up as the qualifiers of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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