Boxing Association of Kenya (BAK) is in leadership turmoil, which could lead to the country missing out on All Africa Games and possibly the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The mandate of BAK office expired in May 2017 and there are no signs of a legitimate election taking place any time soon.
Standard Sports spoke to embattled BAK president John Kameta to try to find out what the problem is and how can it be resolved. In a bare-knuckled response, Kameta goes for Sports Registrar Rose Wasike hammer and tongs. Read on.
Sports Registrar is categorical BAK has not complied with Sports Act 2013, why don't you want to comply?
JK: I will not mince words, but say that the Sports Registrar madam Wasike (Rose) has misguided the whole process of organisations transiting to the Sports Act 2013 for the reasons that; instead of guiding the existing associations – not only Boxing Association of Kenya – she has conferred on herself the role of affiliating new entities. This has caused chaos in BAK because they have taken advantage of this irregularity. Yet, new entities must apply to affiliate to existing federations in conformity with Statutes of their respective international organisations.
It is said the reason BAK cannot be allowed to go to elections under your Constitution is because you have not changed your administrative units from Regions to Counties as provided for in Sports Act 2013.
JK: Again, this is a falsehood because if the Registrar cared to read our Constitution she would know that we amended it to have Counties and not Regions as our members. And to have the new Counties vote, they must apply to be affiliated to BAK by following due process. Therefore, the Registrar can only register those constituencies and ask them to proceed to BAK to seek to be affiliated. The registrar cannot be the one affiliating the new members to BAK. An example is when Mombasa County, which did not exist under the Societies Act, was given a certificate as an affiliate of BAK purportedly under Sports Act 2013.
So what steps have you undertaken to resolve this impasse?
JK: It is up to the Registrar to read the Sports Act 2013 and faithfully interpret whether ‘transiting’ means the same thing as ‘affiliating’. Secondly, the Registrar should read our Constitution and find out whether it provides for Counties as members or Regions. And thirdly respect BAK Council decisions, which have been approved by AIBA and finally appraise herself with the election process as provided for by the AIBA and BAK Statutes. And please note, BAK elections will be and must be held under the Sports Act 2013.
Sports CS at the time, Rashid Echesa, ordered for an Audit of BAK. Has that scared you and therefore to want to cling on to coverage?
JK: The CS spoke of an audit while at Kakamega. An audit is never a bad thing because it is meant to put things straight and raise questions so they can be answered. Unfortunately, the said audit was only meant to arm-twist BAK to tow a certain line. What it only achieved was to stop BAK elections. Sadly, five months since the said audit was ordered for, not report has come out because such an arbitrary directive was only meant to veto the elections.
Clearly, you are at odds with a section of your Executive who admits that your mandate expired on May 27, 2017. Why do you cling on the presidency?
JK: It is true some Executives have disagreed with me. What they will not admit is they were sitting pretty until a Council meeting suspended some of them for irregularities that included match-fixing at the infamous Kongowea leg of BAK league. Since then, I have known no peace. Secondly, while everybody knows we have been ready for elections, Sports Registrar has since vetoed the process. The Registrar has refused to respect the decision by the BAK Council to suspend those officials, which has been upheld by the global and continental body.
There was a unified calendar for the boxing league which ignored even after a series of meetings with the CS Rashid Echesa, why did you go against the spirit of reconciliation?
JK: BAK was held at ‘gunpoint’. He called to his boardroom boxing officials in government employ, which I attended as BAK president. The Minister said in no uncertain term that one Jamal will be BAK president and he offered me during the meeting to be a boxing ambassador. Anyone who understands Statutes of AIBA will tell you nothing like that can ever happen. All league calendars are prepared and signed by the Competitions Secretary. Not even myself as BAK president can purport to prepare a league calendar. Anything other than that is null and void. That is why I didn’t attend the purported meeting that came up with a supposed unified calendar.
You are on record that you would not present yourself for re-election. Why the about-turn?
JK: It is true I had committed not to stand for re-election. I was ready to do so until I realized the Sports Registrar is working to have suspended people to sneak through the back door in spite of serious offences as match-fixing. I will not allow that to happen.
Which team won the 2018 National Boxing League?
JK: KDF won it. Sadly, KDF never got to be presented with the trophy because Kenya Police is yet to release it after the Kongowea fiasco. Police did not turn up in Mwingi for the final leg last year and instead chose to go to Kakamega for a political tournament.