Former Roads Minister Franklin Bett has explained how President Mwai Kibaki vetoed proposals to name Thika Road after legendary Kenyan runner Kipchoge Keino.
In a statement, Bett who was the Minister between 2009-2013 revealed that he was the brains behind the proposal to name the road after the athlete.
The former Minister revealed that he approached Kibaki with the proposal but his request was declined, forcing him to shelve the plans.
According to Bett, Kibaki, at the time had other ideas, regarding naming the 42-kilometre road.
Keino won the 3,000m steeplechase at the 1972 Summer Olympics. At the 1968 Olympics, he also won gold in the 1,500 meters. Meanwhile, Keino's legacy was also celebrated with the naming of the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Uasin Gishu County.
The former Minister made the revelation following criticism from Kenyans who questioned why legendary athletes had not been honoured despite his exceptional achievements over the years.
This came at a time when Keino's namesake, Eliud Kipchoge had not been honoured despite his exceptional achievements over the years.
"Kipchoge honoured away from home. In Kenya, such honours are reserved for politicians and old trade unionists. Believe it or not, we don't even have HE Dr. William Ruto and HE Mwai Kibaki streets!" Renowned architect Prof Alfred Omenya said in a statement.
"I remember requesting Kibaki to name Thika Highway after him. He declined and asked me to name it after its destination town, Thika. He disliked my proposal, but a colleague minister confirmed that position," Bett said while responding to the post.
Thika Road, one of Kibaki's legacy projects, was inaugurated in November 2012 at a cost of Ksh32 billion.
On the other hand, Eliud Kipchoge is yet to receive a major road named after him. However, the marathoner has been celebrated internationally. A mural of the Olympic gold medalist was unveiled in Berlin on September 21, created by Dutch artist Kamp Seedorf.
"Berlin has always been a very inspiring city for us and our love for the city combined with our love for running and the brilliant Eliud Kipchoge make this a fantastic collaboration for us. Running is an accessible sport for everyone and producing a piece of Eliud Kipchoge has been a real honour for us," the artist explained.
"The line of merchandise with the different athletes makes it even more special. We run the streets like marathoners!"