Ohaga: Dialogue best solution for election impasse

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020 00:00 |
Sports Disputes Tribunal chairman John Ohaga at a past sitting. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Stakeholders and not courts could largely solve the uncertainty plaguing football elections in the country, the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) has suggested. 

This came to the fore yesterday during a consultative meeting, conducted virtually, where various administrators, aspirants, media personalities and lawyers gave their opinions on the way forward regarding the Footbal Kenya Federation (FKF) elections that has been cancelled twice by the SDT. 

The first cancellation happened last December over a number of irregularities while the second was in March when the eligibility criteria in the FKF Electoral Code was cited for being unfair and aimed at locking out other aspirants.

Lack of proper eligibility was a hotly-debated issue in the online discussion hosted by SDT chairman John Ohaga alongside panelists Njeri Onyango and Maria Kimani who implored the participants to find solutions.

The one-and-a-half hour meeting was, however, not attended by FKF who pull out at the last minute with federation president Nick Mwendwa explaining in a letter that he saw no reason to participate given the SDT had already pronounced itself on the matter. 

“What we are saying as a tribunal is that, Yes, we have received the letter from FKF but we will not be dissuaded whatsoever because the FKF president in this case is merely a potential candidate.

This action does not in any way take away the mandate of the tribunal,” said Ohaga, who further said that as a neutral arbiter in the matter, SDT took their responsibility very seriously.

Petitioners’ lawyers in the FKF electoral contest Charles Ouma and Nelson Odongo opened the floor by asking the tribunal to critically look into the eligibility criteria.

“We want normalcy but only if we agree the need for electoral justice as per Section 4 of the Constitution,” Ouma said while Odongo stressed on the need to have a free and fair process as the best way forward without people being locked out.

FKF aspirants Boniface Osano and Sally Bolo had their views as well, asking SDT to declare a roadmap that would guide the process.

“We need a clear solution and answers that will help us all,” said Osano while Bolo, who is also the Gor Mahia treasurer, expressed concern that further fighting would complicate preparations for the new season.

Former FKF president Sam Nyamweya told the tribunal of his willingness alongside his fellow contestants to support the dialogue initiative.

“We are ready for dialogue and elections so we want to see the SDT guide the process effectively.

There is no more need for quarrel because FIFA in its last letter had indicated they wanted a peaceful and open solution.”

Kenya Footballers Welfare Association Secretary General Jerry Santo called on the warring factions to think about the suffering of players.

“We have decided to be non-partisan in this matter but clearly even our members are at pains and so there needs to be sobriety,” he said.

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