Time not ripe for return to sports venues despite orders

Monday, July 20th, 2020 00:00 |
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed. Photo/PD/PHILIP KAMAKYA

Omulo Okoth 

President Uhuru Kenyatta gave Kenyans a sigh of relief. He and his courtiers are keen to know how Kenyans will handle the 21-day window for free movement to and from Nairobi, Mombasa and Garissa. 

This Covid-19 pandemic is mysterious. American states of Florida and Texas had virtually lifted lockdowns, but their governors were forced to place new restrictions because of new cases.

CNN also quoted Governor Andrew Cuomo as warning New Yorkers of a new spike of coronavirus cases in the offing.

“We ain’t out the woods yet,” Governor Cuomo said famously. Similar trend has been noted in China. Just when the cases are thought to be subsiding, they suddenly spike.

Back to President Uhuru and the 21-day end of cessation in the three counties. We Kenyans are an interesting lot.

In the rural areas, many people are not following the regulations for protecting themselves against the virus.

People greet one another normally; they hug, and only put on the face masks to avoid arrest. When police are not in sight, life is very much normal. 

They are wondering when pubs will be reopened. Cases of people being arrested inside bars have been reported in many parts of the country.

Just because of fewer cases are being reported in Kenya, it does not mean the global pandemic cannot attack. 

Kenyans are even bragging that this is a ‘whites-only’ disease. How misguided. It is either because of being stubborn or being terribly ignorant.

This is why they put so much pressure for ending the cessation that the president, possibly acting on intel, succumbed and opened the economy.

Sportspeople have been severely affected by this pandemic. Because of social distancing, stadia are no-go zones.

Olympic Games that should have been in Tokyo this summer were cancelled, and so were many other global events.

This pandemic has changed the world order. It’s not a laughing matter. Yet there is pressure for sports to resume.

CS for State Department for Sports, Dr Amina Mohamed has put up a team to advise her ministry on how soon this can happen.

The team, which has technocrats and government bureaucrats, media and other professionals, should do the right thing and tell Waziri Amina to go slow on resumption of sporting competitions.

The manner in which the questionnaire was drafted appeared contradictory in some areas.

Why would they ask which sports the public wants mostly to resume, while also asking them to say whether they want sports to resume at all?

Just like schools have been closed until January 2021, sports competitions can wait until next year.

People with vested interests in sports, who want things to continue as ‘normal’, fixing their eyes on dubious expenditure, have been caught out.

They want to push the CS to bring back games so that ‘eating’ can resume. The CS and her advisory team know better. 

We must look for the bigger picture. I feel for athletes who had qualified for the Olympics, which is the biggest stage a sportsman or woman can aspire to compete in.

Some, who had qualified for age group athletics competitions, will sadly have to forego this ambition, cool their heels and wait for another day.

Life is too precious folks. They will have another chance. We must not risk the lives of our youths due to pressure from vested interests.

I have been watching European leagues going on inside empty stadia. Everybody is suffering, pay cuts to sportsmen, advertising revenues reduction, etc. And it is all over the world. -The writer is a syndicated writer who comments on topical issues

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