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Amina urges respect for constitution, rule of law in FKF tussle

Thursday March 26 2020
By CELLESTINE OLILO

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed has urged “sports affiliate organisations” to respect the Kenyan Constitution, the country’s sovereignty, and the rule of law.

Speaking exclusively to Nation Sport on Thursday, Amina reiterated that her office will stand guided by the Sports Act and all other laws enacted by Parliament, and hoped that when coronavirus threat has been eliminated, Fifa will work jointly with the ministry to resolve the stand-off in Kenya’s football administration.

“Kenya is a country of the rule of law guided by a constitution that recognises tribunals as a core component of the judiciary, and the role of Parliament in enacting laws as the derivative power of the people of Kenya.

“We support good governance, respect our courts and courts in all other countries, and uphold all laws enacted by Parliament as having binding force throughout our jurisdiction and upon all persons and entities domiciled in Kenya. Those are the binding principles that guide our engagements nationally and internationally. Therefore, we expect affiliate organizations to recognize and respect countries’ sovereignties and above all, the rule of law,” she told Nation Sport.

Amina’s sentiments come a day after world governing body Fifa, in a correspondence to Football Kenya Federation Secretary General, trashed the recent ruling by the Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT), stating that the world football governing body is not bound by the tribunal’s decisions.

Amina now has two options: She could go against the Sports Act and renounce the SDT and be seen to be in compliance with Fifa’s stance that trashed the SDT, or she could stand by the validity of SDT’s ruling at the risk of sanctions from the world football governing body.

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According to Section 54 of the Sports Act, the CS has powers to “appoint any person or committee to assume the management, control and conduct of the affairs of a sports organisation, to exercise the powers and functions of the sports organisation to the exclusion of its officials, including the use of its corporate seal, where the sports organisation concerned has been unable to conduct its affairs in a proper manner; or

“Remove any official of a sports organisation who, in the opinion of the Cabinet Secretary, has caused or contributed to any contravention of any provision of this Act, or any regulations or directions made thereunder or to any deterioration in the financial stability of the sports organization or has conducted himself in a manner which is detrimental to the interest of the relevant sporting discipline, or which has brought the sporting discipline into disrepute.”

Interestingly, Fifa has remained quiet on the thorny matter of FKF elections impasse, with Chief Member Associations Officer Veron Monsengo-Omba failing to clarify whether FKF is free to continue with elections.

Amina and SDT chairman John Ohaga have both been invited for a deliberative meeting with Fifa on April 6, but the Sports CS yesterday said she is yet to receive any communication from Fifa. She however said she will be available “after we have successfully addressed the present immediate threat posed by COVID-19 in our country.”

“We have a lot of respect for Fifa, and we also recognise their continued commitment to the development of football locally and globally. We hope that at an appropriate time, we will work jointly to resolve the complex issues that affect FKF,” Amina said.

Should the impasse persist and Amina be forced to take charge of local football affairs by invoking Section 54 of the Sports Act, she could be cited for government interference, a transgression which attracts Fifa ban.

On the other hand, if she accedes to the decree from Fifa, she will have participated in overturning a ruling from a legally constituted government agency, effectively breaking the laws of the land.

Additionally, this action could lead to other sports entities failing to recognise the SDT as the body that is legally constituted to address sports disputes within sports. Amina now faces a great test.

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