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Ruling by Sports Disputes Tribunal on polls has caused confusion

Thursday March 19 2020

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa (centre) addresses a press conference at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi on march 17, 2020 moments after the Sports Disputes Tribunal asked Fifa to form a normalisation committee to help organise elections. With him are his deputy Doris Petra (left) and the federation's general secretary Barry Otieno. PHOTO | DAVID KWALIMWA |

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa (centre) addresses a press conference at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi on march 17, 2020 moments after the Sports Disputes Tribunal asked Fifa to form a normalisation committee to help organise elections. With him are his deputy Doris Petra (left) and the federation's general secretary Barry Otieno. PHOTO | DAVID KWALIMWA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

The ruling made by the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) on Tuesday regarding Football Kenya Federation (FKF) elections has put the country in a spin and in a state of confusion. There is no clear-cut judgment that was delivered.

SDT chairman John Ohaga, in giving the ruling, goofed and made contradictory declarations.

The SDT ruled that a Normalisation Committee be formed to pave the way for FKF elections.

In his ruling Ohaga, requested world football governing body Fifa "to form the Normalisation Committee" but he didn’t direct or order the world football governing body to take the instructions.

According to the English Dictionary, ‘to request’ is the act of asking for something to be given to you or to be done, especially as a favour or courtesy; solicitation or petition.

An order is a set of instructions from someone telling you things you must do. To direct is to order someone, especially officially. Going by the above, it means it will be at the discretion of Fifa to accept or reject SDT’s request.

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In the ruling, the tribunal legitimised the electoral process by saying that the Special General Meeting (SGM) of January 28 which passed the Electoral Board and the Electoral Code was properly convened and constituted, together with public participation in coming up with the Electoral Code, saying they were done accordingly.

The tribunal legitimised FKF’s SGM, the Electoral Code and Electoral Board which were key requirements for FKF to conduct the branch and national polls, and then went ahead to contradict itself by declaring the forthcoming national elections as well as the process leading to the elections unlawful.

Ohaga went ahead to declare that the term of FKF’s National Executive Committee had reached its end at a time when the elections are around the corner. The ruling came just 10 days before FKF’s national elections on March 27 which would have ushered in a new office.

The tribunal’s ruling comes at a time when there is neither an election dispute nor has the current office overstayed in office. The current office has not tried to hang on to power by failing to organise elections.

It beats logic that SDT arrived at such a ruling instead of allowing the electoral process, which was almost over, to proceed to its conclusion. Resources which had been used to organise the elections will go to a waste.

The process of holding fresh elections is tedious and time-consuming, coming at a time when there is need for more resources to help promote football.

It’s clear that a majority of football stakeholders who include FKF’s branches, sub-branches and clubs want elections to continue as scheduled. A majority of football stakeholders do not want FKF to repeat the elections for a third time.

Kenn Okaka is the Media and Communications Expert at Football Kenya Federation.

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