Women aspirant leaders in Lamu have promised to spearhead sports and talent development in a bid to harness jobs for youths within the county.
Speaking to the Lamu East residents in Tchundwa village, the Safina Party gubernatorial candidate Umra Omar stated that she is already working with private partners to set up a sports’ academy in Lamu.
She revealed that the private partners approached her following her efforts in aiding Feiswal Mohammed, a footballing prodigy from Pate Island who successfully went for trials with third tier French side La Berrichonne de Châteauroux.
Omar stated that in her gubernatorial manifesto, a budgetary allocation will be set aside towards sports’ development and nurturing for both boys and girls.
“Lamu has a lot of footballing, swimming and volleyball talent that has stayed untapped because the current and past leaderships have not had the will to support youth’s initiatives,” she said.
She stated that sports is an area in which youths could get jobs and should be encouraged to pursue.
“The current sports policy in the county is nonexistent if any and is based on a system of patronage that is meant to benefit the politician in their quest for votes,” Omar noted, throwing a barb at the annual Governor’s Cup which she added has failed to develop and expose footballing talent across Lamu.
Lamu Women representative Captain Ruweida Obo in her remarks noted that the Lamu East CDF has failed to address sports’ development despite an annual allocation.
“There is nothing in terms of sports’ development, whether it is infrastructure by way of pitches being built that the current Lamu East MP has done,” she said.
She revealed that despite the small National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) allocation standing at Sh4 million annually, her office has been able to sponsor football tournaments four times a year across the county.
Obo who is the Jubilee Party candidate for the Lamu East seat stated that in her manifesto, at least 10 percent of the annual CDF allocation would be set aside for sports development in the constituency.
“Sports’ development is an area the current leadership has ignored despite towns such as Eldoret growing by way of their sporting talent thriving and developing the area,” Obo said.
These sentiments echoed by Lamu Women Representative candidate Nana Mote who stated that she would support sports development initiatives especially for girls.
“It is hard finding a football or swimming team in Lamu despite the immense talent Lamu has,” Mote stated adding that she would work with corporates such as Kenya Ports Authority and LAPSSET to uplift sporting activities as part of their corporate social responsibility initiative
She said that Lamu County has the capacity to sponsor youths with swimming talent to go for trials in the international stage or participate in global events on behalf of the country.
Speaking on the same issue, Hongwe Ward Aspirant Jennifer Wairimu stated that when elected, she would sponsor a Sports’ Development Bill aimed at setting aside funds for sports’ development.
“Rather than unemployed youths being dependent on handouts or patronage, sports can be used as an avenue where the county government harnesses talent that would otherwise be wasted on drug abuse,” Wairimu said.
She noted that so far, no leader has made a push for Lamu to have a stadium which she added would be part of her agenda when elected.