Deputy President William Ruto officially launched the inaugural County Assemblies Sports and Cultural Festival which began at Kasarani Stadium yesterday.
The games, which bring together 15,000 participants drawn from the 47 County Assemblies, had initially been bundled together with the executive under the Kenya Inter-County Sports and Cultural Organisations and County Assemblies.
“You have diligently played your roles. You are the champions of development we are seeing since the coming into play of the new constitution in 2010,” Ruto told the participants.
Participants will battle for honours in 23 disciplines including football, netball, basketball, athletics and traditional dances with 14 stadiums across Nairobi used for the week-long event.
Tug-of-war contest between hosts Nairobi and Mombasa was the opening event of the games aimed at enhancing cohesion and promoting exchange of ideas from the diverse communities in Kenya.
Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris said by assemblies coming up with their own sports competition, more integration would be witnessed in the country, thereby reducing the biting effects of tribalism.
“But I appeal to the national government to help counties in the improvement of their sports facilities so that all Kenyans can have a platform to exploit their talents,” she said.
She added: “Some of these stadiums are of world standards but they are under-used. Perhaps it is time we reduced the user costs so as to attract more business.”
County Assembly Forum (CAF) chairman, who is also the Kajiado County Assembly Speaker, Johnson Osoi urged the participants to use the sports to draw best experiences of one other.