THE STATE OF CYCLING IN KENYA
There are many reasons why different people engage in one or more forms of cycling activities available, for some, it’s for pleasure, fun and adventure, for other, it’s for fitness, and some for commuting to work or school. An increasing number are taking up cycling as a competitive sport.
It is well documented that engaging in a physical activity like cycling promote the physical well-being, enhances the mind-body and spirit, builds character, discipline, self-confidence, dedication and a host other positive traits, thus placing the active participants, in a prime position in meeting the many challenges in a competitive world.
Cycling can contribute significantly to the economy. Well-developed and organised events attract huge numbers of spectators. Advertisers, manufacturers and other service providers from diverse industries, they can leverage on this to promote and sell their products through Sponsorship of the cycling events, teams, individual men and women. A whole industry can evolve around the commercialisation of cycling and this intern has the potential of creating numerous employment streams.
In addition to health and economic benefits, sports can be used as an effective tool for the resolving of conflicts and the creation of a cohesive society by promoting unity and peace globally. In Kenya, a fine example would be The Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation. http://office.teglapeacefoundation.org/. In Rwanda, Team Africa Raising has brought together into one team the different ethnic communities that were against each other during the 1994 Rwanda genocide in which one million Rwandans, were massacred within a span of 100 days.
CYCLING IN KENYA A BACKGROUND
The African Cycling Confederation, known by its French acronym “CAC” or Confédération Africaine de Cyclisme is the body mandated with the running of cycling in Africa Dr Mohamed Wagih Azzam of Egypt is the current President; its headquarters is in Egypt. President of the Kenya Cycling Federation is Mr Julius Mwangi, he is also the is the vice-president of the African Cycling Confederation, a position he has held since 2001 when he was elected during the confederation’s congress held in Pretoria, South Africa.
The Kenya Cycling Federation governs the sport of cycling in Kenya, it was registered in 2004. Mr Julius N. Mwangi is the current President and Mr Charles Mose the General Secretary. Before Kenya Cycling Federation, we had the Amateur Cycling Association of Kenya that was registered, 12th of June 1972, by Kenya Gazette notice 1845, and cancelled on 6th July 1978 Kenya Gazette notice 2144 and before it was The Kenya cycling association that was registered on the 24th of January 1966, by Kenya Gazette notice 425, and cancelled on 10th February 1969 Kenya Gazette notice 652.
PROBLEMS FACING CYCLING IN KENYA
East Africa has a long rich history of excellence in medium and long distance athletics, this success is attributed to the unique and abundant physiological abilities possessed by athletes in this part of the world and these physiological traits are similar to those, if not better, than those of the top cyclist in the professional circuit in Europe. Kenya, in particular, has been the most dominant of the East African Nations in distance athletics.
KCF, the body with the responsibility of discovering and nurturing cycling talent, lacks the vision and the will to tap into this smilingly inexhaustible resource for the benefit of the sport of cycling. The KCF has failed to discharge its duties of growing and supporting the sport of cycling, it has no agenda and long-term developmental action plan for cycling.
Article 19 Exclusion 2016
1. A national federation may be excluded by the Congress in the
a) When the national federation ceases to assume the real character of a national cycling federation in its country;
The genesis of the predicament facing Kenyan cycling is rooted in the weak governance structure of KCF, institutional reforms to KCF are long overdue, An outdated constitution with its numerous loopholes, have been exploited by officials to perpetuate themselves in office for some 30 odd years, a new constitution with a limited term statute is required. The current KCF leadership has deliberately ignored to implement open democratic systems of electing its officials.
Article 62 UCI CONSTITUTION 2016
Limitation of terms
1. The President of the UCI may serve a maximum of three mandates of four years.
KCF has never encouraged the formation of regional or county cycling associations, in addition, it has never implemented a national race calendar, it has failed to prescribe rules that ensure that the sport is well regulated, it does not oversee cycling events, cyclist and individuals have taken it apron themselves to organize and run cycle races, no effort has been made to encourage the development of clubs, there is no training and accreditation of coaches, the selection, and management the national teams, has all way been shambolic.
The Kenya sports act 2013 states that “all national sports organizations registered under this Act shall be open to the public in their leadership, activities and membership “The activities and operations of KCF are shrouded in mystery, it is a recommended practice that any public institution avails its activities and operations to scrutiny of the public. KCF is managed as personal property, rather than the public entity that it is, to the exclusion of all but a select few. The KCF requires a transparent and qualified professional management team in order to provide effective and efficient administration of the federation.
The federation is beleaguered with allegations of corruption and lack of transparency in the management of its funds, there is a need for the KCF to be audited annually to ensure accountability for its funds. The Kenya sports act 2013 states that “Every sports institution shall cause to be kept all proper books and records of accounts of the income, expenditure, assets and the liabilities of the respective sports institution and shall prepare an annual statement of accounts in conformity with international accounting standards.” And that “The accounts of the sports institutions shall be audited and reported in accordance with the Public Audit Act, 2003.”
Corruption is described as “private gain via public authority, the abuse of public power for private benefit or profit.”
Sports federations in Kenya have a reputation of being run by corrupt administrators who after election into their organisations simply sit back and live off the accompanying allowances to the international meeting and event plus other benefits from sports without regard the welfare of the athletes and the sport, Kenyan cycling is no exception.
Article 69 Finances
Travel and accommodation expenses of the members of the
Management Committee and commissions with regard to the
Execution of their duties shall be at the expense of the UCI
THE SOLUTIONS TO FOR KENYAN CYCLING
The core objective of KCF should be to encourage the growth and support the development of cycling in all its forms by organising cycling events and activities to further the sport.
The initial goal should be reformed in its governance structures, electing into office leadership that has dedication and enthusiasm with a clear vision and focused on creating the best cycling nation in the world.
Amendment to the constitution, to bring them to conformity with UCI recommendations
Article 6 National Federation’s rights and obligations
4 .The Regulations of the UCI shall be incorporated in the corresponding regulations of the national federations.
The next step would be the formulation of a Strategic Vision, this roadmap should have clear achievable goals for the short term and long term, this roadmap should address the following:-
- developing a cycling culture by promoting cycling as means of recreation, and physical fitness through Social and community cycling events for cyclist of all gender, age and abilities
- advocacy of right and safety of cyclists, develop cycling infrastructure
- The provision of top-notch training facilities, equipment and coaches
- growing cycling at the grassroots by putting in place Coaching programmes, regional events, instructional clinics and training camps that have an emphasis on talent identification and talent-building of youth and women cyclist through coaching and mentoring programmes ,the grass roots will be used as a vast pool of harness talent required to build up a strong national team.
- Development of quality training programs and sports education programs
- Professional development opportunities for coaches. and accreditation scheme encourage the training of management and technical skills of staff, volunteers, medical, technical, mechanical, masseuse and mechanical personnel
- encourage of formation of Clubs and club membership, the growth of our membership base, encourage of formation of county cycling associations
formulation and enforcement of rules to regulate the sport of cycling in Kenya
governance reform, Improved leadership and governance, regular transparent reporting
- Development of a national event calendar
- Organise Kenya Cycling Championships a national league or road and off road series
- Team and rider ranking
- transparency in selecting, and preparation of a National team to represent the country at international events, improve our global competitiveness
- the introduction of Interschool Cycling completion
Better media exposure/visibility of cycling in broadcast and digital platforms.
Once the basic foundation has been laid, the next step would be implementation, this will require financing. With adequate funding, KCF will be in a position to provide support and the resources required to broaden the base of cycling and transition Kenyan cycling into a strong amateur and eventually to Pro status, Cycling unlike athletics is capital intensive and requires high level of skill and expensive equipment; these reasons coupled with an indifferent management team have hampered the development of cycling in Kenya. There is a need to actively engage public corporate, international and local partners to contribute both financially and materially towards the development of cycling
The funds raised should be invested in events and programmes geared towards identification of talent and development of youth, women and in school cycling, Training and coaching programmes
THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT IN DEVELOPING CYCLING
The Government needs to recognise the important part cycling can play help to reduce physical inactivity, therefore, improved the health of it, citizens, cycling can be a cost-effective form of transport and reduce pressure and the already overburdened roads and public transport system, therefore, reducing the number of car on the road and in turn reduce air, and noise pollution.
The uptake of cycling is hampered by the lack of cycling infrastructure and concern over road safety on the open roads. Information on road hazard affecting cyclist on Kenyan roads is not well documented, an extensive survey is required to gather this information for appropriate action to reduce the risk and hazards through review of road rules and road safety legislation, of educating the public in safety and equal sharing of public roads between cyclist and cars. This information will also help in Integrating cycling specific infrastructure when planning major new transport and infrastructure development projects.
Cycling for recreation and tourism require handbooks for providing information and mapping of cycling routes and trails, facilities, hotels, camping sites and any other recreational and site seeing along the cycling routes this can be done in partnership with the ministry of tourism.
Athletics and football have consistently received the bulk of government support, non-traditional sports continue to languish at the bottom of the government priority list, there is a need diversify, invest and develop non-traditional sports. Already individuals are already proving that Kenya can excel in these “non-traditional” sports; a fine example is Julius Yego in the javelin.
It is upon us cyclist to continue agitating for the reforms we wish to see for the sport that we love and cherish.