Uhuru’s Covid-19 reward to artistes angers sports people

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 12:00 |
Shujaa captain Andrew Amonde in training with team-mate Augustine Lugonzo. Photo/PD/ALEX NJUE

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s yesterday directive to the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage to avail Sh100 million from the National Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund towards cushioning artistes, actors and musicians in the period the country will be battling Covid-19 outbreak has been met with criticism from athletes.  

Uhuru’s directive left out sports people, who claim to have been more affected by the pandemic than their fellow youths in the three categories stated as all sports events worldwide have been cancelled. 

With most of the athletes relying fully on competitions to earn a living, the cancellations have left thousands of the country’s athletes with no source of income and many feel that they deserve the same cushioning from the effects of Covid-19 that has been accorded their fellow youth in the arts industry. 

“All athletes deserve to be cushioned from the effects of this virus too.  While this has affected everyone in one way or the other,  those in sports have been badly hit and are in need of support.

I urge the president to consider giving a directive in the subsequent reviews to help athletes,” said Shujaa captain Andrew Amonde. 

The rugby sevens national team player says that with most events cancelled until later in the year,  players are not sure whether they will continue drawing salaries for their contracts as well as a way forward after the said contracts expire.  

“We have running contracts until July with Kenya Rugby Union (KRU)  and there has been no communication on whether there will be renewals since all series events have been moved.

While we have been paid our March salaries,  it remains unclear whether there will be cuts effected from here on or whether we will continue getting salaries even without playing,” added Amonde. 

His sentiments on the need for cushioning of athletes from the effects of Covid-19 have been reiterated by Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF)  boss Waithaka Kioni who says, unlike artists who still have ways of making money from their careers at this time through online platforms and royalties, not every athlete has a way of earning from their sport that way. 

“The President is on record, when he hosted Malkia Strikers after the team qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, saying that money in the Sports Fund belongs to our sports men and women.

The ball is now in the ministry’s court to ensure that our athletes,  who are equally entitled to benefit from the Fund,  do not suffer while the artists benefit at this time of such dire need,” said Kioni.

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