Youth Affairs, Arts and Sports the Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mr. Ababu Namwamba has said Kenya is ready to host the World Safari Rally Championships (WRC) competition that is coming to the country for the third time in a raw.
Speaking at the Service Park in Naivasha on Wednesday while on an inspection tour of the venue which will be the nerve Centre of the rally, Mr. Namwamba said this year`s event was historical as it also marks 70 years since the WRC was first launched in the country.
“For this reason, the WRC is part of our heritage and we are ready to hold a memorable Safari rally this year,” he said, adding that they will be having the country`s sports legends, Pual Tergat, Catherine Ndereba, Kipchoge Keino and Eliud Kipchoge to market the event.
Veteran Kenyan rally drivers such as Carl `Flash` Tundo who is the chair of the organizing committee, Phenius Kimathi who is also the chair of the Kenya motorsport Association and famous female rally drivers Pauline Sheghu will also be taking part in this year`s event which kicks off on June 22 to 25th.
The CS said Kenya is privileged and proud to host this event which is one of the Only 13 such world events that take place in the globe and will be watched by over two billion people worldwide which is incredible branding for the country.
“We want to give a Kenyan flavor to this International event by introducing hustler bazaars to help Kenyan interact with the rally drivers as they make some money to interact with the rally and make money by selling Kenyan products,”.
Mr. Ababu revealed that there will be big bazzars at Uhuru Park and Central Park in Nairobi and other places to be announced later where Kenyans will sell their wares as they interact with the rally drivers.
“If you are an Artist, comedian among many other talents, you will be given an opportunity during the rally to showcase your talents, all these being part of our Talanta Hela Initiative as hustler Government.
He noted that the event is also a legacy event to honour Nobel Laureate; the late Prof. Wangari Mathai for her advocacy on environmental issues that helped save Uhuru and Central parks which are our heritage as part of our climate action.
The Sports CS revealed that they were working with County Governments in setting up special points for streaming the rally live throughout the country to help every Kenyan have a piece of the rally.
Namwamba was satisfied at the service venue in Naivasha and said they were working with the transport ministry to ensure traffic on the rally routes will be managed better than last year and observed that they had learnt vital lessons from last year`s event.
Mr. Tundo said Naivasha Service Park is a world class arena in terms of organizing this world event and that is why it’s the nerve centre of the event.
The Safari Rally was first held in 1953, as the East African Coronation Safari in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika as a celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1960 it was renamed the East African Safari Rally and kept that name until 1974, when it became the Kenya Safari Rally. It then evolved to the current modern-day WRC.
By Mabel Keya-Shikuku