Spotlight on Ohaga over rescheduled FKF polls

Wednesday March 18 2020
By DAVID KWALIMWA

Sports Disputes Tribunal chairman (SDT) John Ohaga has tough decisions to make even as he retreats to prepare a ruling that will determine the future of Kenyan football.

On Tuesday, the soft-spoken Ohaga sat at the Milimani law court chambers and, for six hours, followed deliberations from several parties in a case in which Football Kenya Federation (FKF) is seeking orders to force the Sports Registrar to accept the results of its county and presidential elections set for March 18 and 26 respectively.

He then promised to make a ruling on the same on March 17.

Like she did to Kenyan Premier League club AFC Leopards mid-last year, Registrar Rose Wasike has indicated she will not recognise the outcome of the polls because the exercise has not been conducted as per the Kenyan laws, in this case, the Sports Act.

She also instructed FKF to register interim officials at the county offices but its president Nick Mwendwa has rebuffed the idea.

"Where will I get the interim officials to appoint? Or do I choose my friends? The best way forward is to conduct elections and register the elected officials," he said.

At the Tribunal, the Registrar, through lawyer Martin Munene, argued that FKF had repeatedly ignored directives to conform to the Sports Act despite constant reminders.

The Sports Act was enacted by Parliament in 2013 to help professionalise in the running of sports activities but several entities have appeared to shy away from implementing the set of laws.

A number of clubs represented by lawyer Charles Ouma claimed they had been barred from participating in the elections while FKF lawyer Victor Omwebu explained that Kenya could be banned by Fifa if the polls are not held by March 30. "This means we will not participate in international tournaments. In this case, the players, referees and coaches will suffer most."

So will Ohaga, a respected lawyer, dismiss FKF's petition and order the Registrar's instructions regarding the election be followed to the letter?

Or will he side with FKF and allow it to ignore the Registrar to conduct elections as per their own rule book, in this case, the FKF constitution?

Or will there be a compromise? The answers will be made public on March 17.