Otuoma forms interim board to run Leopards, Ochiel vows to fight on

Wednesday February 23 2011

By CHARLES NYENDE [email protected]

The Government has formed an interim management board to run the affairs of AFC Leopards.

But the board has been rejected by the Julius Ochiel office which was mandated by Football Kenya Limited to continue running the affairs of AFC Leopards until new elections are held mid this season.

Sports Minister Paul Otuoma said at a press conference on Wednesday the board will take over the management of the club immediately before organising for fresh election to be conducted within 60 days.

The board is composed of 10 members including the five officials under the chairmanship of Gordon Oluoch, who oversaw the botched elections this month.

The others are Richard Ekhalie, Joram Ondere, Jacknelson Wamboka, Henry Shihemi, Charles Bukeko, Dan Shikanda, Lydia Obwaka, Fredrick Nasiche and Bernard Wamalwa who will act as legal advisor.

Otuoma said the board will pick who to head which position including that of the chairman. But Ochiel vowed not to let this happen saying such an action was a threat to the club’s survival.

Ended in chaos

“AFC Leopards is a society under the Society’s Act and cannot be directed and supervised by the Sports Ministry.

“It is tantamount to government interference which is unacceptable in football,” Ochiel said. Leopards held two inconclusive elections, marred by disputes and violence in January 16 and on February 13 that ended in chaos with different factions claiming victory.

This led to the immediate former office headed by Ochiel to last week announce that in the absence of a concluded election they would remain in office pending fresh elections within four months under a new constitution.

Their position was backed by Football Kenya Limited, who helped to reconcile the feuding between Ochiel and Robert Asembo, now reinstated as club secretary.

But Otuoma dismissed the development saying the failure of the elections “left an untenable vacuum in the club leadership”.

Adequate security

“After due consultation with the office of the Registrar General my ministry has been given due mandate to form an interim body to oversee the day-to-day management of the club and to oversee its election,” Otuoma said.

Otuoma blamed criminal activities within a section of the club who led to the aborted election saying certain aspirants who senses they were going to lose decided to unleash chaos. “We will ensure that the next elections have adequate security,” Otuoma said.

Speaking at the same press conference Oluoch, who is also the Sports Commissioner, said they will use the same registry used in the aborted February 13 to conduct elections.

“We will not allow any new aspirants to be added to the list and we will be open the registry to the public for viewing,” Oluoch said.

He however added that those aspirants who might wish to step down from the race were free to do so.

Ochiel accused the Oluoch’s led board of mismanaging the elections and demanded it account the Sh2 million it had collected from Leopard’s members during the electoral process.

AFC Leopards interim management board - Gordon Oluoch, Richard Ekhalie, Joram Ondere, Jacknelson Wamboka, Henry Shihemi, Charles Bukeko, Dan Shikanda, Lydia Obwaka, Fredrick Nasiche, Bernard Wamalwa (legal advisor).