What next for football?
Football in the country has been thrown into a spin and uncertainty after the embattled Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa resigned in a huff on Monday night, citing character assassination.
Mwendwa, who has been charged with alleged embezzlement of Sh 38 million, threw in the towel through a letter addressed to the National Executive Committee (NEC) members and handed over the mantle to the federation’s vice-chairperson Doris Petra to take charge for the remaining period before the next elections in 2024.
Petra, who has not been named in the fiasco, has officially replaced Mwendwa on the strength of the federation’s Article 42 (8) of the constitution.
However, the big question will now be if Petra can now lead the federation in resuming its normal operations at ‘Kandanda House’, especially after Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, dissolved the federation on November 18 and replaced it with a 16-man caretaker committee to run the game for the next six months pending fresh elections.
Football management is further compounded by the fact that world football governing body Fifa categorically stated that it does not recognize the caretaker committee and had petitioned Amina to reinstate the federation to the sport, failure of which it shall ban the country for an unspecified period.
Following the development, it remains to be seen if Amina will eat humble pie on the letter sent by Fifa secretary Fatouma Samoura to reinstall the federation or she will stick with the caretaker committee despite Mwendwa stepping out of the way and with the impending sanctions on Kenya notwithstanding.
Again, mystery surrounds the resumption of the national leagues this weekend with teams and match officials divided. Majority of them seem to be waiting for a direction from Fifa, whom they are affiliated to.
On Monday, Mwendwa finally ceded pressure for him to vacate office as he wrote a letter, which was leaked to the media, to NEC members, saying he cannot fathom adulteration of his moral principles which has affected his family and businesses, hence the resignation. Apparently, Mwendwa wrote the letter only a day before Milimani Court ordered that he should not address the federation workers or discuss the case with the media until it is heard and determined.
“On November 11, 2021 the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Amina Mohamed released a press statement, disbanding FKF and installing an FKF Caretaker committee and a secretariat to oversee all football activities in the country,” read the letter. “Further, the CS also ordered for the lock down of the FKF premises, denying all FKF staff access to the office. On November 12, 2021, police officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations arrested me and detained me over the weekend, in police cells,” he said.
He added: On Monday, November 15, 2021, I was taken to court but no charges were preferred against me, instead the Prosecution applied to have me detained in police custody for a further 14 days to enable the police conclude investigations. However, the court declined the prosecution’s request and released me on a cash bail of USD 40,000, while awaiting the delivery of the prosecution ruling on November 17, 2021.
Through the letter, Mwendwa said he was taken aback by police failure to act in good faith.
“On November 17, 2021, the court delivered its ruling by inter alia declining the plea by the prosecution to continue holding me in custody. In its ruling (attached herein) the court observed that there were no compelling reasons to hold me in custody and that police had not acted in good faith.
Further, the court granted the state seven days within which to prefer charges against me and default to have the case closed, with the matter being fixed for mention on November 25, 2021.
On November 25, 2021, the prosecution informed the court that they had instructions to close the files. Find attached ruling.
Subsequently, the court closed the file and ordered that my cash bail of USD 40,000 be released back to me.
Shockingly, a day after the court ordered for the file to be closed after the state failed to prefer charges against me, I was re-arrested again on Friday, November 26, 2021 while on my way to my private office and again spent the entire weekend in police custody.
“In light of the foregoing, specifically, the frequent arrests and detentions, which have adversely affected my family and personal business and whilst I am confident I will be cleared of any wrongdoing in the end, I have today in accordance with Article 42(8) of the FKF constitution (2017) asked my Vice President Madam Doris Petra to assume all functions of the FKF president,” said Mwendwa.
He further said he was being targeted and that the decision he had taken was with the federation’s best interest at heart.
“Taking into consideration that I am personally being targeted in all this, my decision has been arrived at with the federation’s best interest at heart. I want to thank the entire NEC family, for the support you have offered my office and the federation in general, in developing Kenyan football. I have no doubt that the same will be extended to Madam Doris Petra and the remaining FKF team. Kindly accept, Dear members, my utmost gratitude,” concluded Mwendwa.