Kenyan athletes returning home from international competition staged a sit-in and blocked busy roads in Nairobi on Thursday to demand payment of their stipends and allowances.
After a few other teams were talked out of holding a demo with pledge to pay out their dues soonest, Kenya’s Paralympics refused to hear any plea from the government and blocked the busy Thika super highway to demand their dues.
The team, which had returned home from Morocco where they clinched 42 medals (11 gold, 14 silver and 17 bronze) are demanding their international allowance for the sacrifice they did for the country.
The team of 54 are demanding 4.3 million shillings (43,000 U.S. dollars) for local and international allowances. Each player is owed 800 dollars.
Team captain James Mong’erere said they were yet to be paid their dues despite the government, through ministry of Sports pledging to pay the money while they were in Morocco.
“It was a liar. We have not received even a single penny from the government ever since we began our preparations and yet we have families who depend on us,” said Mong’erere on Thursday in Nairobi.
The government has also not cleared their hotel bills, which they accrued in Nairobi while in training camp.
“Since we arrived in the country on Tuesday, we have been left at the hotel and not even a single government official has visited us. Right now, the hotel management is threatening to kick us out since our bills have not been paid,” said Mong’erere.
The Paralympics team opted to block part of the road to force the government to pay.
“We had no option but to protest and have a sit-in so that the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Sports would visit us and pay us our money,” said Mong’erere.
A week ago, the junior team from Africa Junior Athletics Championships in Abidjan, Cote dÍvoire also had a sit-in to push through their dues after the government had failed to wire the money to West Africa as agreed.
This is despite the State having spent 2.4 million dollars for the football team Harambee Stars to hold their preparations and training camp in France ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Egypt in June.
Kenya team, Harambee Stars, will also play four international friendly matches in their build-up to the AFCON, which will be played in Egypt from June 21 to July 19. Enditem