Chaos break out as Nock-IOC meeting is abandoned
The meeting between National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) and Association of National Olympics Committee for Africa President, Lassana Palenfo, was cut short as drama unfolded at the Nock headquarters on Thursday.
Professional Athletes Association of Kenya (Paak) and Nock affiliates stormed the meeting, holding placards with ‘Kipchoge Keino GO HOME NOC-K IS ROTTEN’ and ‘IOC TELL US YOUR INTEREST IN THESE CRIMINALS’ and blatantly refused to leave, ignoring frantic pleas from Palenfo.
According to Palenfo, he was only sent by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to check the progress of the reforms carried out by Nock and the Sports Ministry in accordance to an earlier agreement made during their Lausanne, Switzerland meeting in September.
In opposition, the affiliate federations who refused to budge from the meeting claimed Nock had failed to specify who among all the athletics stakeholders in the country was eligible to attend the meeting while insisting they were rightfully part of the contingent.
An impasse set in as Palenfo made clear the meeting would not proceed in their presence insisting he wanted to meet only Nock Executives led by Chairman Dr. Kipchoge Keino before later meeting Sports, Culture and Arts Cabinet Secretary Dr. Hassan Wario and if possible President Uhuru Kenyatta.
At 10:00am local time (+3GMT), the mild arguments slowly turned into ugly scenes when Paak chairman exchanged harsh words with a Nock official, who tried to bar athletes from accessing the boardroom as members inside settled to kick off the meeting.
Nock Secretary General Francis Kinyili Paul however signaled them in along with a battery of journalists clamouring to cover every piece of the action and who had initially been locked out as well.
Inside the hall, Paak members wasted no time hoisting the anti-Nock placards with some taking a swipe at the IOC for ‘siding with criminals’.
In the absence of Keino who was briefing Palenfo in his office, assistant Secretary General James Chacha was sent to quell the unrest that was quickly building up.
“We are wondering what briefing the Anoca president is being given at a time the meeting should be going on. Nock has been in contact with IOC and Anoca since September on this matter, so there is nothing new for him to be told,” Kenya Table Tennis President Andrew Mudibo charged.
As the two finally stepped into the room, Palenfo’s blank stare suggested the tense atmosphere was far from what he had anticipated but quickly recollected himself before announcing he would only allow the heads of affiliate federations.
He was quickly countered by Mudibo who held there was no way the progress of the road map to Nock constitution amendments and elections would be evaluated without all stakeholders’ views.
He noted Nock has been reluctant to engage the affiliates in the constitution review process and had come up with a separate draft from what they had proposed.
Notably, copies of the draft constitution as proposed by the Nock executives were distributed before the start of the meeting.
National Boxing Association Chairman John Kameta seconded, saying Keino and the Executives charged in court following the Fiasco in Rio 2016 should immediately vacate office.
The growing disorder irked both Keino and Palenfo but their efforts to calm the heckling stakeholders remained futile.
The breaking point came when Palenfo declared the IOC remained in full support of Keino and other Nock officials facing charges in court and signaling the Nock boss to halt the meeting.
Later when Citizen Digital sought to have a word with Keino, the athletics legend murmured a quick “I don’t want to see this” before backing away as affiliate federations arrived flinging their placards.
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