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Football crisis: FKF elections to go on pending hearing and determination

Last updated 5 months ago | By Robin Toskin

Football Kenya Football (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa addressing a courtroom during the hearing of a case challenging several aspects of the electoral code of the Football Kenya Federation Electoral board at the Nairobi law courts on February 25, 2020. [Photo/Stafford Ondego/FKF COURT CASE]

The Sports Disputes Tribunal on Tuesday declined to grant orders stopping the hotly contested Football Kenya Federation elections.

The Petitioners had sought the SDT to issue conservatory orders to stop elections after the Respondents (FKF and FKF Elections Board) asked for time to rebut a late supplementary application by lawyer CBG Ouma on behalf of two clubs, Bondeni FC and Cheptiret FC.

However, the Sports Tribunal said it will not hesitate to nullify the process if it found that it falls short of the democratic principles and rules governing the exercise.

The matter will come up for hearing on September 29.

FKF and FKF Elections Board lawyers led by Senior Counsel Tom Ojienda and Victor Omwebu spiritedly sought time study CBG Ouma, which they said was substantial.

SDT chair John Ohaga said: “The SDT has twice nullified the same process and it, therefore, doesn’t matter for it will suffer the fate as the other two for not living up to the set-out standards.”

He added: “If the elections do not have the consent of the Sports Registrar, the Tribunal will not hesitate to strike down the whole process.”

“The SDT has twice nullified the same process and it, therefore, doesn’t matter for it will suffer the same consequence of a process that does not live up to the set-out standards,” Ohaga said.

The counsel for FKF Senior Counsel Ojienda said they will accept the nullification if the petitioners have a case.

The FKF Electoral Board has penned this Saturday, September 19 to hold the County elections and October 17 as the date for a national poll.

Two clubs – Bondeni and Cheptiret and 10 other petitioners had gone to the Sports Court praying to have the exercise stopped.

Through Nelson Odongo of Kerandi Manduku Advocates, the petitioners argued that the FKF Elections Board did not only act outside of its powers but also relied on Article 4 on the eligibility to conduct the exercise, which provisions the SDT found on March 17 to be in violation of the Constitution of Kenya.

The petitioners insist that the said ruling automatically required stakeholder engagement, given the absence of a substantive FKF NEC, so as to rectify the offending Elections Code.

“It was legitimately expected that there would have been stakeholder involvement in the formulation of the guidelines and regulation,” the petitioners argue in their court documents.

FKF Elections Board lawyers maintained that the process is legal by virtue of the Fifa letter dated August 5, 2020, which was sent to FKF CEO Barry Otieno and signed by Veron Mosengo-Omba – the Chief Associations Officer of the Zurich-based global football governing body.

“That I am aware that in SDT 3 (FKF) & 5of 2020, this tribunal requested Fifa to consider the possibility of setting up a normalization committee pending the resolution of the FKF elections and having considered all factors, Fifa advised the FKF on 5th of August to conduct fresh elections as soon as the public health situation in the country permits but with a strict injunction that such elections must be conducted wholly,” she avers in her affidavit, dated September 10.

“I reiterate that the electoral board is an independent board that is conscious of its mandate in law and which is committed to discharge to the applicable standard and deliver an electoral process that is reflective of the will of the football fraternity,” FKF Elections Board maintain.

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