Kisumu City lived up to its billing as it happily and warmly opened its doors to the 9th Edition of the Kenya Inter-Counties Sports and Cultural Association (KICOSCA) for the week-long sports bonanza.
Songs and dances rented the air from the 47 different cultural groups at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium, Mamboleo as the enthralled crowd of participants and eager onlookers cheered them on. The opening ceremony was kicked off by a beautiful passing-out parade of different teams representing the counties.
The culturally-diversified participants braved the scorching sun to express their enthusiasm and showcase their abilities on what the county government employees can do through sportsmanship.
The Host Governor and Patron, Anyang’ Nyong’o welcomed and urged all the guests and participants to enjoy the warmth, ambience and serenity of the beautiful Kisumu City.
Nyong’o while thanking the counties for presenting their teams, assured the participants that he will safely use the instruments (special torch and a peace torch) to guide the games into the consequent editions.
“Since its inception in 2013, KICOSCA has proved to be more than just games. It is a convergence of cultural diversity. Each year, it brings together employees from the 47 counties from different cultures,’’ Nyong’o said, adding that there is no doubt that cultural diversity will continue to help in cementing unity in our country by addressing negative ethnic stereotypes that have posed challenges to National integration.
He pointed out that KICOSCA has accorded the Counties staff the opportunity to exhibit their sporting talents and to unwind and benchmark on best management practices.
Nyong’o stressed on the need for employees to be always allowed to engage in sports and other social activities to keep fit, resolute and focused.
He lauded the tremendous efforts KICOSCA has made in promoting domestic tourism in the previous hosting regions.
“In this way, Kisumu County will also greatly utilize this opportunity to reap big by showcasing herself as the biggest destination in Kenya after Mombasa,” Nyong’o emphasized as he also mentioned the Western Tourism circuit destinations like the Kakamega Forest, Maasai Mara, Ruma National park and the scenic Lake Victoria beaches in the neighbouring counties.
For future progression, Nyong’o appealed to the county governments to make special and adequate budgetary allocations for the KICOSCA games as it has immense benefits.
“It is important to note that out of the 47 Counties, 32 had registered for the 9th edition of the games as of Monday. I appeal to you to make it a full house in the 10th edition,’’ he clarified.
In this year’s theme of Promoting National Cohesion through Sports and Culture, Nyong’o called upon all the stakeholders to strengthen KICOSCA because it is one of the integral and unifying array of sporting activities in Kenya today.
Similarly, Nyong’o appealed to the National government to support the county government games through the KICOSCA secretariat, as a national event for One Nation.
The opening ceremony was also graced by the Cabinet Secretary of Sports Ababu Namwamba (Chief Guest), Permanent Secretaries, Teresia Mbakia (Devolution), Jonathan Mueke (Sports), Governor’s Council Paul Otuoma (Busia), Kiarie Badilisha (Nyandarua), Jeremiah Lomorukai (Turkana) and Samuel Kachapin (West Pokot), several Deputy Governors, county ministers.
Lauding the good collaboration with the Kisumu County Security team, Nyong’o assured the sports lovers of a refreshing but secure and enjoyable security during their One week stay.
“All the 13 venues for various events have been well prepared. Accommodation is properly arranged and the entire city is under tight security. For this, I sincerely thank both the National and Local committees for a job well done,’’ Nyong’o stressed.
He specially appealed to the national government to help complete the Kisumu Convention Centre, which he said will be a landmark for the 9th edition of the Africities Summit held in Kisumu in May last year.
The Convention Center once completed, will be a game changer in the Conference Tourism in the area.
By Rolex Omondi