FKF Denounces Sports Disputes Tribunal’s Consultative Forum

Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa has dismissed as inconsequential, a consultative meeting held on Tuesday by the Sports Disputes Tribunal to discuss the upcoming FKF Elections.

SDT hosted a football stakeholders’ online conference with Zoom, which Mwendwa and his team snubbed.

The forum, coming exactly a fortnight after SDT’s March 17th verdict, was called to collect views on how the country should proceed with the stalled FKF elections.

Speaking to participants, among them some aspirants who included former FKF president Sam Nyamweya, SDT chairman John Ohaga said he had no problem with Mwendwa’s absence from the meeting, saying that the federation boss had the right not to attend.

While addressing journalists at a press conference convened on Wednesday, a visibly furious Mwendwa lashed out at Ohaga, accusing him of poking his dirty nose in the affairs of the federation.

“I have never seen a court inviting people to bring cases, or a judge going to the media to explain his decisions. He is now calling people for a stakeholders meeting. He made a decision and we walked away to implement,” said Mwendwa.

Mwendwa wants Ohaga to keep off the FKF elections and instead concentrate on delivering verdicts in court.

“I want to ask John Ohaga to stay away and steer clear of football election matters. The work of the court is to decide cases. a furious Mwendwa stated.

He wondered what interest the SDT chairman had in the FKF elections and challenged him to come out clean on who he was holding brief for.

“John Ohaga’s tribunal has continued to interfere with football elections and I think that the Tribunal might have an interest that they have not stated. If he wants to be a candidate in the elections he should offer himself.”

Mwendwa said that the federation no longer had faith and trust in the Tribunal to take a neutral position because it had already openly indicated that it had some conflict of interest in the case.

“This behavior from the Tribunal has to stop, We don’t have faith in that tribunal anymore and we can’t be in litigation forever. I am asking chair of tribunal to stop interfering with football matters. When matters are taken to his door let him decide them once he decides let him keep off he is not ember of football and hence cannot host a forum.”

He asserted that the matter was now in FIFA’s hands, adding that nobody should expect FKF to honor any of the stakeholder meetings called by Ohaga because the world soccer governing body had already communicated it would visit the country to arbitrate over the dispute, in a letter it had written on March 25, 2020.

“We twice respected the Tribunal’s decision to cancel our elections and in good faith. Now, they have offered directions and we will stand by them. FIFA said they will have a meeting after the current COVID-19 situation is dealt with and they will come to Kenya and deal with this issue,” Mwendwa said.

Mwendwa asked those seeking to fill elective posts at the federation in the next elections to be patient and wait for FIFA directives.

“We shall receive directives from FIFA and we will conclude elections. Anyone who has interest should wait for FIFA directives to come and take part in the elections,” he further noted.

FKF has since written a letter dated June 1, 2020, distancing itself from the Tuesday conference, on the premise that the proceedings were not entirely inclusive.

The letter read in part: “Ideally, a mediation process is party-driven and voluntary. Usually, negotiations in mediation are undertaken before an impartial and neutral third party without decision-making powers. In any event, the stakeholders of football in Kenya comprise of many other parties and entities outside these proceedings.”

“FKF is an institution bound by its constitution as well as the FIFA statutes,” he said.

Mwendwa argues that the federation has so far adhered to the rules of the game, from the time the tribunal gave its verdict on March 17.

“We received the SDT’s ruling on March 17, 2020, and its further directions, and have abided by them, in good faith. FIFA has likewise been clear in its reply to us on the issue. We will, therefore, await its (FIFA) direction on the matter,” added the FKF President.

The sports tribunal had on December 3, 2019, nullified the elections, citing inadequate public participation on the Electoral Code as well as an improperly constituted Electoral Board.

FKF moved to conduct public participation on the code in all the 20 Branches. The National Executive Committee also reconstituted the Board, one that was passed at the Federation’s Special General Meeting held on January 28, 2020, as is required by the Federation’s constitution.

The Board was mandated with conducting repeat elections, which were scheduled for March 14, 2020 (County Elections) and March 27, 2020 (National Elections).

In a suit filed by the Federation against the Registrar of Sports, and which interested parties, listed as challengers, were also enjoined, the SDT moved to yet again cancel the national elections that had been scheduled for March 27, 2020.

The tribunal cited punitive eligibility criteria at Section 4 of the FKF Electoral Code, one that had undergone proper public participation as alluded to by the tribunal in its ruling, and had been passed by the Federation’s General Assembly as is required by the FKF Constitution.

SDT also moved to disband the Federation’s National Executive Committee, a move that FIFA, however, did not agree with, in its letter dated March 25, 2020.

Mwendwa, however, insists that the FKF branch elections conducted in March are legitimate.

Written by Mark Makau

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