Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is leaving the presidency in August after 10 years in office with several landmark legacy projects.
But the Safari Rally, an event he worked so hard to create a return to FIA World Rally Watch The Championship Calendar (WRC) is the most successful single international event he has helped conquer.
He leaves office a proud man, satisfied that there is a guaranteed WRC spot at 13th place runs, the only ones in Africa and developing countries. The President assured Kenyans of his commitment to this mission when he took office in 2013.
In September 2020, some seven years later, the President announced this achievement to the world in a live broadcast from the United States, where he was on an official visit.
“Before my government took office in 2013, I made a promise to the people of Kenya to bring Safari Rally back into the International Automobile Federation’s World Rally Championship family. This process has taken us seven years,” the President said at the time.
“It is my pleasure to announce to the people of Kenya and Africa today that this process has been completed and the Safari Rally incorporated into it became the International Automobile Federation’s 2020 World Rally Championship calendar, marking the return of the World Rally Championship to Kenya and Africa after 18 years of waiting.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the President of the International would like to thank Automobile Federation, Jean Todt, World Rally Championship Promoter Oliver Ciesla, Kenya Motorsports Federation Chairman Phineas Kimathi and the Directors and Technical Teams for working with my Department of Sport, Culture and Heritage on the World Rally Championship Safari Rally project to deliver this iconic event that is part of our national heritage.”
Planning for Rally Return
Kimathi beg Ann with serious plans to bring the Safari back to the WRC in 2015 as President Kenya Atta met Todt, accompanied by Kimathi, at the State House in Nairobi while Todt was on an official tour in Kenya as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety.
Kimathi attended the FIA Sports Conference the following year in Turin, Italy, where he reunited with Todt along with the commercial rights holder of the WRC, the WRC Promoter.
In 2018 WRC promoter Oliver Ciesla signed an agreement with the Kenyan government to host Safari 2019 as a WRC candidate event and on September 27 Safari returned home.
The President continued negotiations with the FIA .
Read:Kenya in dress rehearsal for WRC entry – VIDEO
He later met Todt – the Frenchman, a third-place finisher at the Safari Rally 1973 – in Jamaica when he was in July 2019 f state visit was where he quietly cemented pending issues.
He continued with backroom negotiations with the FIA.
He surprised the world again at the end of last year’s comeback Safari Rally.
“Kenya will host the World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally every year until 2026,” announced President Kenyatta, to the surprise of many.
The President said the government has become more intense after years Lobbying and preparations secured the hosting rights of the motorsport elite event from the FIA and the WRC.
“I am therefore very pleased to be able to inform you that we have reached an agreement with the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and of the World Rally Championship (WRC) to continue hosting the Safari Rally in Kenya every year until 2026,” said the President.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and her chief secretary Joe Okudo were with his practical Approach the mainstay behind the Safa ri rally.
Amina is also a member of the FIA World Motor Sport Council, the committee that manages the motorsport activities of the FIA.