Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala has caused outrage online after defending the government over the delays in processing his visa to the US, where he was scheduled to participate in the 2022 World Athletics Championships hosted in Oregon.
Kenyans turn against Omanyala after his latest statement
Ferdinand Omanyala is on the receiving end of attacks by Kenyans after defending the government over delay in processing his US Visa
In a statement on Friday, Omanyala asked fans to stop condemning the Ministry of Sports for his woes, and this did not sit well with Kenyans on Twitter.
He explained that it was the ministry’s intervention that helped him out of the situation.
“Like I said, there is no one to blame for my visa delay. We all as athletes went for Visa interviews at the US embassy. After that, I was sent some supplementary questions that needed clarification. But on Thursday, a day before my race, my Visa was not out.
“It was through the government intervention by the Ministry of Sports and Athletics Kenya that I got my Visa. In fact, the Ministry of Sports through CS Amina Mohammed were instrumental in my visa being granted once the issue was raised,” read his statement.
Omanyala issued the clarification after many Kenyans on social media blamed the government for his failure to qualify for the 100m men's finals.
Many fans attributed his subpar performance to the Visa frustrations and expressed disappointment in how the government handled the matter, resulting in attacks against the Ministry of Sports.
However, the same fans vilified the sprinter accusing him of taking the government’s side. Others argued that the sprinter may have been compelled to defend the government.
“Omanyala hajalearn hii mtaa ni jungle! Here they praise you today and tomorrow they slaughter you for not tweeting their expectations, whether real or fictitious!” NTV’s Oliver Mathenge commented.
“Workplace activism will cost you, I don’t see how else people expected Omanyala to react… It isn’t “selling out” a lot of times people are just tired and want to do what they came to do and are paid to do and go home,” Muthoni Maingi noted.
“Yani tulipigania Omanyala only for dude to turn around and tell us to stop pointing fingers," a disappointed Emmanuel Lumumba said.
“It has taken exactly 5 days for folks to turn on Omanyala, after 1.5yrs. I hope some country gives him citizenship and he goes where they appreciate and love him,” music producer Tim Rimbui tweeted, adding that the athlete's communications team should not have released the statement.