AK warns PAAK against plotting fresh Riadha House siege

Athletics Kenya (AK) Riadha House headquarters. PHOTO/File
Athletics Kenya (AK) Riadha House headquarters. PHOTO/File

Athletics Kenya has warned Professional Athletics Association of Kenya (PAAK) members against plans of blockading their headquarters in a manner similar to the two-day siege that grounded operations at Riadha House in November last year.

A statement from the federation released on Monday threatened to take unspecified action on PAAK members’ intent on paralysing AK headquarters, the second time the federation is raising alarm over a raid this year.

“However, we have learnt with total dismay that there are individuals who are planning to interfere with the day to day operations at Riadha House in the coming days.

“The group is comprised of individuals who are impersonating top athletes with the primary agenda of obstructing operations with convictions that they can take over the federation through the backdoor,” the statement read.

“It is important that there is an immediate discontinuation of such arrangements. We hereby assure the athletics family in Kenya that such threats will neither be tolerated nor will they hinder us from doing our job as the sport’s governing body in the country.

“We have had challenges here and there and would wish to request any disgruntled individual to use the right channels in relaying their grievances,” the federation warned.

AK invited aggrieved PAAK members to sit with them and seek solutions to their grievances with the organisation headed by Berlin Marathon runner-up, Wilson Kipsang, claiming the federation has not met its end of the bargain in negotiating a way forward.

“We have an open door policy where individuals have the right to air their views or demand any information available, desisting from using ways and means that could put the federation and sport in jeopardy.

“In addition, we want to assure our affiliates, athletes and the general public that as the season comes to an end, we are working tirelessly to ensure that our upcoming events are executed without fail,” AK said.

The federation reiterated its willingness to conduct elections under a reformed constitution, one of the key sticking points in their long-running dispute with PAAK.

“We appreciate we are at a critical moment as we head to our elections and understand that there are a lot politicking going on.

“This, however, does not call for any form of instability since the polls will be guided by the existing laid down procedures. We are also in the final stages of the constitutional review process, having received the stakeholders’ views earlier in the year,” the statement underscores.

In May, AK placed Riadha House under 24 hour police surveillance to respond to a threat by PAAK to block access to the offices before a row erupted when it was claimed Vice-President, Paul Mutwii, insinuated a shoot to kill order was in place.

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Story By Mutwiri Mutuota
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