Hunter becomes the hunted after ruling that FKF NEC was in office illegally

Thursday, May 7th, 2020 00:00 |
Sports Disputes Tribunal chairman John Ohaga takes oath of office next to Judiciary Registrar Ann Amadi, during the swearing-in for his second term in office. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

A new war of attrition is brewing at  the Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT) following a petition filed at the High Court in Kericho demanding the State ceases operations of the semi-judicial body until it creates proper operational rules.

The Constitutional suit, which had petitioners Alfred Kirui, Kefa Ondati Nyamanya and Bernard Odhiambo Wanguche, was filed yesterday and has named four respondents on the matter, which has the substance matter of SDT operating illegally.  Petitioners says they represent complaints of all football stakeholders in the country as a matter of public interest. 

They are challenging the constitutionality and legality of SDT Chairperson John Ohaga’s actions since assumption of office in 2014.

Ohaga has been accused of unlawfully enacting the rules governing the Practice and Procedure of the SDT named the “RULES OF SPORTS DISPUTE TRIBUNAL”.

Such touches on encouraging, demanding and advocating rules that were not done in consultation with the Chief Justice, not having been subject of public participation, not having been approved by parliament and or not having been published in the Kenya Gazette as required by the Constitution, Section 61 of the Sports Act No. 25 of 2013 and or the Statutory Instruments Act, 2013.

“The key bone of contention as per the petition points to the SDT Chairperson unlawfully legislating Sections 27 (d) of the impugned Rules requiring enforcement of the decision of the Sports Disputes Tribunal by a Magistrates Court which is not legally possible; Unlawfully legislating Section 28 of the said impugned Rules which when read together with Section 46 (1), (3), (4) and (5) of the Sports Act No. 25 of 2013 and Rule (f) in the second schedule thereto suggesting an appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sports based in Lausanne, Switzerland which is beyond reach of ordinary litigants and judgment of which court is not legally enforceable in Kenya,” read part of the petition filed by Sila Munyao & Company Advocates in Kericho.

The petitioners point to the fact that since the SDT do not have Rules of Engagement in the case of disputes at their front meant that it had no proper jurisdiction to handle appeals.

The petition argues that in the case of ordinary courts, there is room for alternative resolutions.

However in a rejoinder, SDT Chairman John Ohaga dismissed the challengers labelling their arguments academic. 

“These petitioners have never brought any matter before the SDT so they are raising purely academic questions.

The SDT has been operating for almost seven years now and not a single litigant has been denied an opportunity to present his or her case or to appeal a decision of the tribunal. I really do not have time for this petition,” Ohaga said.

The petitioners who include two players from Zoo FC and a Kericho County Federation official have through their  lawyer Ken Ochien’g argued that even the current impasse pitting SDT and FIFA regarding electoral procedure was out of the jurisdiction of the tribunal thus Ohaga and team had overstepped their mandate.

“For the past couple of years,the SDT has been overseeing illegalities and it is time they stopped forthwith until such a time that there are proper rules governing its operations.

In this current case,they have argued that FKF National Executive Committee should be out of office which makes one wonder how there can be a vaccum in such an important office,” Ochieng told People Sport.

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