21 February 2019

Kenya: Why DP Ruto May Be Forced to Honour Stars' Sh50m Pledge From His Pockets

Uncertainty surrounds an Sh50 million pledge made by Deputy President William Ruto to Harambee Stars players should the team qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Speaking after he hosted the triumphant Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup side to a luncheon at his official residence in Karen in December 2017, the DP also promised the national team a state-of-the-art bus, complete with Wi-Fi and comfortable seats.

Football Kenya Federation boss Nick Mwendwa explained at the time he would head to Germany to source and purchase the bus on behalf of the government.

Stars players led by captain Victor Wanyama and star striker Michael Olunga have since met their part of the bargain after beating Ghana and Ethiopia in September 2018.

HONOURED

But now, government officials are haggling in public over how these pledges should be honoured.

"The money has not been paid and I am not aware of its whereabouts. I was not there when the DP made this promise," Sports PS Kirimi Kaberia told the Parliamentary Committee on Sports, on Tuesday.

Kaberia however, explained that the cash could be part of a Sh244 million budget set aside for Stars preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

This month-long tournament kicks off in Egypt on June 21, and Stars are expected to camp in France for three weeks to prepare.

"It (this money) cannot be in the budget because it was not an official government promise," said Machakos Town MP Joseph Munyaka who chairs the committee.

"The promise must be honoured because failure to do so will trigger a hue and cry in the team and puncture the morale of the boys ahead of the tournament."

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