The Kenya Paralympics team on Friday threatened to sleep on the roads surrounding State House Nairobi if their demands for allowance payment was not addressed by the government.
The team claims they are yet to be paid allowances amounting to Sh80,000 per person for participating in the International Athletics Meeting that was held in Marrakesh, Morocco from April 23 to 27 where they hauled 42 medals (11 gold, 14 silver and 17 bronze).
It has however emerged that the bank accounts of the Paralympic committee are frozen due to lack of accountability for funding received from the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee.
The team of 54 athletes pitched camp at the sports ministry offices at Kencom, before moving to the sports commissioner’s offices at NSSF building after they failed to get an audience with Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed and Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia.
“We shall not relent. Somebody has eaten our money and now they are taking advantage because we are disabled,” said Kenneth Ndungi, the Secretary General of the Kenya Paralympics Committee.
“The team received approval to travel and we agreed on the extent of support that we were to give them. We empathise with the athletes and we are looking into the matter and will sort their allowances out as soon as we receive money from treasury,” said Sports PS Kirimi Kaberia when reached for comment.
Indeed the government supported the team during their residential training camp at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani for a week before they travelled to Marrakesh.
“When we got there we received nothing and we looked like beggars in Morocco, yet we were representing the country. How can they approve our travelling tickets without providing for our accommodation and meals, or even catering for our participation fee?
“The policy has always been to pay individuals via their personal accounts but they are now using the issue of accounts as an excuse,” Ndungi charged.
This happened a day after a video of police officers forcefully dispersing a demonstration by the Paralympic team along Thika Road went viral on social media.