Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery on Tuesday took issue with USA for withdrawing its team from the IAAF World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi over terrorism fears.
Nkaissery assured countries that are coming for the July 12-16 championship of safety, adding that the USA should have consulted Kenya first before pulling out.
“Their move is far-fetched and far from the truth and reality on the ground,” said Nkaissery in a telephone interview yesterday. “Kenya’s security is perfect and there is no doubt about that.”
Nkaissery said that the USA shouldn’t speculate on security issues as he challenged the Americans to come up with the real reasons for their withdrawal.
“All our security apparatus and intelligence are in place in readiness for the championships,” Nkaissery said.
“We shall involve the military and the police in this operation hence there should be no qualms.”
Nkaissery noted that Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei, a retired Kenya Army commander who is also the chairman of the Local Organising Committee, is in Monaco to brief the International Association of Athletics Federations’ top brass on Kenya’s preparations for the championships.
The minister pointed out that Kenya successfully co-hosted the 2003 Cricket World Cup in Nairobi and the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa where security was top-notch despite fears of insecurity.
“Last year, Kenya hosted President Barak Obama and a World Trade Organisation session among other key international meetings in Nairobi and everything went on smoothly,” said Nkaissery.
Tuwei and Kenyan officials were Tuesday night locked up in meetings with IAAF President Sebastian Coe in Monaco following the decision by USA to withdraw from July’s championship in Nairobi.
A Kenyan delegation from the championships’ Local Organising Committee, led by chairman Tuwei and chief executive officer Mwangi Muthee, were seeking to salvage the championships’ reputation following the withdrawal of USA and four other nations including Great Britain.
The World Under-18 Championships, the 10th and final edition of the youth event, will be held at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.