• Some of the Kenyan drivers who took part in the competition and even won could not help but reveal how they were frustrated by the extreme racism and discrimination
• Barely three days after the conclusion of the rally, revered Kenyan rally drivers Joe Kariuki, Andrew Muiruri and Issa Amwari opened up on the total discriminatory madness which unfolded at the Service Park
The 2023 WRC Safari Rally was one of the most successful and exciting events in Kenya after a very long time.
The WRC made headlines as Kenyans followed up on the exciting sport, with quite a number rooting for local drivers.
Well, while the event rolled out smoothly and ended well, a lot was left to be desired, judging by sentiments from Kenyan rally drivers who took part in the event.
YEIYO.com has learnt a cross-section of Kenyan rally drivers who took part in the just concluded 2023 WRC did not receive the best of treatment from the organisers.
This became public after section of Kenyan rally drivers came out to disclose the unnecessary drama, madness and total confusion they experienced during the much-hyped safari rally event.
A number of popular Kenyan rally drivers have come out to share about their experiences during the chaotic prize-giving ceremony at the just-concluded WRC Safari Rally.
Some of the Kenyan drivers who took part in the competition and even won could not help but reveal how they were frustrated by the extreme racism and discrimination meted on them during the whole event.
According to some of the local rally driver who came out, they were all treated as second-class drivers in their own home country and with little respect from the top WRC honchos and leadership.
Most rally drivers usually pride themselves when they go up the podium, get a round of applause and receive an award from an esteemed guest (in this case, the President William Ruto).
However, that, they did not enjoy as they were mistreated owing to the fact that the entire event was a shambolic mess which thoroughly dehumanized them, disenfranchised them and made them feel badly dishonoured on their own ground.
Barely three days after the conclusion of the rally, revered Kenyan rally drivers Joe Kariuki, Andrew Muiruri and Issa Amwari opened up on the total discriminatory madness which unfolded at the Service Park.
The drivers pointed a blaming finger squarely at the WRC/KNRC officials whom they accused of treating them in a manner that was absolutely undignified.
The aforementioned drivers unanimously claimed they were handled badly and in a thoroughly unprofessional way.
The Kenyan drivers said they were treated in a manner which lacked the most basic human decency.
“It was a total shame at the podium. Soon as they had conferred the awards to these big shots, alongside the President and all the media present, we were left to scramble amongst ourselves for awards. It was total chaos – you cannot believe that my navigator John Ngugi and I were left stranded on stage as a female usher passed our award to us,” Joe Kariuki said.
Joe, who was ranked at number 6 and was driving a left-hand Subaru N14, revealed that the treatment meted on some of the Kenyan drivers was totally unwarranted and uncalled for considering that the drivers went through the same rigorous practice and paid the same amount of money required to be part of the much-awaited motoring sport.
“We went through all the required regulations and passed all the tests. We were at the practice, we paid the money any driver was required to pay to enter the competition. I don’t understand how, after the visiting drivers had been awarded, we were just left stranded, confused at the podium,” Joe added.
Joe also said that, being a homegrown talent himself, he would have been happy to receive his award from, at the very least, the area Governor, Hon. Susan Kihika – but, sadly, even she was nowhere to be seen when it was his time to hit the podium.
“I’m born and bred in Naivasha. When we arrived here, hundreds of my Naivasha fans came out screaming my name. And after it all, I have to receive my award from a casual model? Not even, at least, from my area Governor!? What happened to recognising homegrown talent? ” Joe Kariuki wondered.
On his part, Issa Amwari, a Kenyan who emerged position four in the WRC/KNRC stage and was driving a Mitsubishi lancer Evo X, said that it was quite humiliating to have to be given an award by casual officials and not, at least, the rally’s CEO.
“It was a good thing to have the President and the top officials at the Service Park. It would have been better to have him, or at least, some top rally official award us. That was not the case. I got my award after all the big guests had left – I was basically awarded by my own navigator! ” Issa said.
The drivers say their awarding ceremony was more of a contemptuous charade which looked more like a terrible comedy skit orchestrated by the thankless WRC big shots.
“It was pure madness! We were left to award ourselves with no official present! All had left! We were actually awarded by a confused model who didn’t even want to be in the photo! It was like a scene from a terrible Nigerian movie!” Joe Kariuki’s navigator John Ngugi said.
Despite their stellar performance, the angry drivers, who are some of the finest rally drivers in Kenya, say they now feel demoralised and also add they still have a bone to pick with the top authorities at the WRC.