Senators have raised the red flag over the impending elections for the national football governing body, demanding the process should be free, fair and devoid of corruption.
The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) polls are expected to start from November 23 in all its branches across the country, culminating in the national elections on December 7.
However, the lawmakers are questioning the process and have expressed doubt whether it will be fair to all eligible candidates.
The senators took to the floor on Tuesday to call out the federation and its leadership, accusing it of running a “corrupt” and “opaque” organisation without accountability to the public.
“FKF is an organisation that holds too much promise for Kenyans. It is the way it is managed that has left most Kenyans frustrated and they can’t tolerate the current leaders anymore,” Bungoma senator Moses Wetang'ula said.
The debate was triggered by Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki, who was seeking a statement from the Ministry of Sports on the conduct of the polls, and whether all eligible Kenyans will be allowed to participate in the exercise.
Faki told the House that only 18 clubs would participate in the polls, pointing out that 23 football clubs from the former Coast province and the chairman of the Mombasa FKF branch have been prevented from participating in the exercise.
“We want an explanation why the 23 clubs and the chairman of Mombasa branch will not participate in the polls,” Faki said.
Senators Wetangula, James Orengo (Siaya), Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi) and John Kinyua (Laikipia) supported the statement, arguing that Kenya has the capacity to excel in football but only if the right management was put in place.
“Having only 18 clubs participate in the FKF election is an outrage,” Wetangula said, challenging the House committee in charge of Sports to summon FKF leadership to explain how they run the affairs of the organisation.
“Football is big industry all over the world and its only proper management that make it showcase talent. Elections must start from the lowest level and every eligible Kenyan should be participate.”
Orengo said Kenya football, both at club and national level, has been wanting in recent times, something he linked to the “system of cartels” that runs the sport in the country.
“FKF is a national disgrace. Football cannot be run by government because that is what Fifa rules provide for. But we should not leave the management of sport to cartels,” he said.
Orengo said Kenya has lost the winning edge over Uganda and Tanzania noting that by keeping away, the national government has allowed cartels to perpetuate themselves in mismanaging sport.
“Our record against Uganda has worsened in the recent times and it has become fashionable for countries such as Guinea Bissau, Somalia, Comoros to beat Harambee Stars in competitive matches,” he said.
Madzayo said football administration should embrace democratic tenets and regretted that the decision to allow only 18 clubs to participate in the poll was proof that democracy was being sacrificed at the altar of greed.