Kenya: African Champion Disappointed With Pay Delay

5 September 2019

The Ministry of Sports is on the spot for taking too long to pay allowances to young athletes who have no national identity cards from the just-concluded African Games.

On August 2 when the athletics team returned from Morocco, the Principal Secretary for Sports, Kirimi Kaberia said most athletes had been paid their dues, before adding that "we are giving Team Captain Julius Yego a number which those who have issues should call and get sorted out."

There was unhappiness with that statement at the time, with most of the athletes speaking in low tones that they would rather be paid on the day than having to call some number.

Four days later, one of the young athletes told Nation Sport on Monday that they are struggling to make ends meet as the Ministry still owes them local and overseas allowances.

"I have not been paid. I called the first number I was given, it wasn't going through. Yesterday (Wednesday), Yego gave me another number of an official from the Ministry which was successful, but I was told they were going to a meeting. I haven't attained the age of 18, so I have no National Identity Card nor the Kenya Revenue Authority Personal Identification Number.

I have no means. It's even worse because my parents saw me on TV being welcomed home and know I won a medal in Rabat and they expect something from me, yet I haven't received a shilling," said newly-crowned African Games 400 metres hurdles queen Vanice Kerubo.

Commissioner of Sports Japson Gitonga confirmed in a telephone interview that "there are a few of the young athletes who have not received their allowances".

"We have not paid a few athletes who have no IDs. I don't know the exact number, but the matter is being addressed by the accounts office. By mid this month, they will have got their dues," he added.

"Mid-month! It's just too far because training requires that you eat well," said a disappointed Kerubo, who cleared High School in 2018 and depends entirely on athletics for survival.

In Rabat, Kenya finished seventh overall in Africa after fielding athletes in 22 disciplines with athletics bringing home 10 gold medals, six silver and four bronzes.

Other medallists for Kenya were from boxing (one silver and four bronzes), women volleyball (gold), women beach volleyball (bronze), Women's Cross-country marathon (bronze), Women's 4x100m Medley Relay swimming (bronze) and taekwondo (silver and bronze).

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