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Government accused of neglecting sitting volleyballers in Kigali

By Charles Thuku
Wednesday, October 7th, 2020
A sitting volleyball match in progress in the past. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO
In summary

Allegations of apathy by the government towards disabled sports persons have come to the fore yet again.

Kenya Sitting Volleyball Federation has made damning claims that the country’s contingent was neglected by the Sports Commission during the Tokyo 2020 qualifier held in Kigali, Rwanda, in September 2019.

A senior official at the commission (name withheld due to the sensitivity of the matter) is said to be at the centre of the maltreatment which made the team a laughing stock in the championship.

The federation president Polycarp Mboya said the team went to Kigali without funds for accommodation and allowances after the commission reneged on its promise to provide Sh9 million that was the total budget presented for the championship.

He said that the team members hit the road to Kigali with only a paltry Sh200,000 that had been donated by the National Council for Persons with Disabilities

“Players and officials had to literally beg for food and kits from other participating teams despite the fact that the para-volleyball body had presented a budget to the commission to act on it early enough,’’ said Mboya.

He added: ‘’Rwanda then hosted Team Kenya for one week and all this time, we were hoping that there will be a representative from the ministry in Nairobi to save us but that never came to pass,”

Mboya said that matters had come to a head prior to Kenya’s departure to Rwanda when they sought audience with a Ministry of Sports official only to be chased away.

“He told us it was none of his business and even dared us to report him to the highest authorities if we felt aggrieved.

It was the height of arrogance despite the fact that we were carrying Kenya’s flag in the championships,’ added Mboya.

The team had earlier on in Nairobi held non-residential training in Nairobi without essential commodities like water and First Aid kits.

This was the second time a team incorporating members with disabilities has been abandoned by the government ahead of a crucial international match.

It can be recalled that slightly over a year ago, the national amputee football team which was gearing up for the World Cup in Mexico  camped at the Sports ministry headquarters at Kencom house to solicit for funds in vain and had to be bailed out by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.