Sports Tribunal has only one option, uphold rule of law

By Robin Toskin: Tuesday, March 17th 2020 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Front Left to right: Sports Disputes Tribunal members Elynah Shiveka, John Ohaga (chair), Robert Asembo, Njeri Onyango, Mary Kimani, Backrow: Peter Ochieng, Gabriel Ouko, Gichuru Kiplagat and GMT Ottieno. [File]

SDT to rule today on petition FKF against Sports Registrar.

From 2pm this afternoon, the Sports Disputes Tribunal via video conference due to the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, will deliver a ruling on a petition lodged by Football Kenya Federation against the Sports Registrar.

It is a petition that has captured the imagination of the football fraternity in Kenya. Its ramifications, as was Justice John Mwera’s ruling in a Civil Suit No. 58 of 2004, could be felt for years to come in Kenya’s problematic football terrain.

FKF wants to be allowed to conduct its elections under their constitution arguing that it is sufficient to deliver an acceptable exercise.

However, they see the Sports Registrar, in exercising the Sports Act 2013 and Sports Registrar Regulations 2016 as an impediment, which the SDT should find as “mala fides, unreasonable and unlawful.”

At the other end of the spectrum, a section of FKF members and stakeholders insist that the Sports Registrar acted within the law and regulations established under Constitution of Kenya 2010. They also cited FKF for not only designing an Electoral Code that locked out a sizeable chunk of its members, but also violated the sacrosanct Statutes of Fifa.

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On February 19 all parties had their day in court. FKF appeared at the Tribunal with bruised noses after the court earlier had found them to have violated the law established. It invalidated the said exercise held on November 23 last year.

And today, the protagonists will know the extent of the assertion of Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, regarding the sanctity of the law established. Socrates said: “There is in all things nothing found so worthy of respect as the authority of enacted law, which disposes well things both divine and human, and expels all iniquity.”

The perennial leadership wrangles within FKF is a tragic case of lawlessness that has over the years driven away intellectual human resource that could have helped develop Kenyan football to its full potential.

In discussing the disease of lawlessness in his book, Stemming the blood-dimmed tide of lawlessness: the rediscovery of duties, author Piotr Domanski wrote: “Try though we may to avert our gaze, the evidence of ever-spreading lawlessness at the dawn of the new century will not be denied. From fraudulent executives and corrupt politicians at one end of the spectrum, to bag-snatchers and litterbugs at the other, lawlessness hounds us.”

He may have been discussing the state of lawlessness in South Africa, but it is not difficult to see it within the troubled FKF.

Chief Justice of Kenya David Maraga [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

For years now, Kenya has been treated to shenanigans of FKF at the expense of delivering what constitutes public good. FKF manages the beautiful game in trust for the Kenyan masses, who also suffer tax deductions, which sadly funds their excesses.

So today, Standard Sports invites the SDT to rise to the occasion, remain alive to Justice John Mwera’s ruling, incidentally against FKF’s predecessor, KFF, delivered on April 8, 2004 when he said: “There is no great fun or pride in having a constitution, whatever the body that cannot be adhered to.”

In the fight against slavery in the Americas, Theodore Parker, noted in his 1853 collection of ‘Ten Sermons of Religion’ notably the third sermon titled ‘Of Justice and the Conscience’ that: “Justice will not fail, though wickedness appears strong, and has on its side the armies and thrones of power, the riches and the glory of the world.”

Parker is not alone in rooting for the sanctity of justice.

Aeschylus, an ancient Greek tragedian said justice turns the scale, bringing to some learning through suffering.

“At some point”, another Greek philosopher Sextus Empiricus argues: “A sinner will be punished. Many decisions or events that are important in one’s life take time in coming but make no mistake “the mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind small.”

And no less a person than Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga in his seminal pronouncement said that, “The greatness of any nation lies in its fidelity to the constitution and adherence to the rule of law and above all respect to God.”

For, as Gerald Strauss in his book Law, Resistance and the State says: “Where the law is honest, custom gives way.”

 

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