Mwendwa on the warpath as fallout with SDT escalates


Mwendwa on the warpath as fallout with SDT escalates
FKF President Nick Mwendwa during a past press briefing. (PHOTO/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha)

In Summary

  • Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa has declared he has no confidence in the Sports Disputes Tribunal, signaling a new twist to what has been a murky attempt to hold elections at the national body
  • Mwendwa launched a scathing attack on the SDT chairman John Ohaga whom he squarely accused of harbouring personal interest in the polls that has twice been postponed over the composition of its electoral body
Jacob Icia

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa has declared he has no confidence in the Sports Disputes Tribunal, signaling a new twist to what has been a murky attempt to hold elections at the national body.

Mwendwa launched a scathing attack on the SDT chairman John Ohaga whom he squarely accused of harbouring personal interest in the polls that has twice been postponed over the composition of its electoral body.

His pronouncement comes a day after he boycotted a football stakeholders’ consultative forum convened by the SDT to discuss FKF elections and charter a way forward.

“Ohaga’s tribunal has continued to interfere with football elections. In fact I think that tribunal might have an interest that has not said what it is. In December he (Ohaga) pronounced himself, we followed. In March he pronounced himself we followed. What is this now Ohaga is inviting people… a tribunal has become a consultant for FKF elections. I have never seen a court inviting people to bring cases,” averred Mwendwa.

The FKF boss further expressed his chagrin with the tribunal, inviting Ohaga to compete with him if indeed he holds interest in the sport management.

“He has said our (FKF) constitution is a guideline, and that is what he has been using to make his rulings. It is absurd that we have to stand here and talk about a tribunal.

“We should never have to discuss a tribunal. When a tribunal makes a decision we should walk away and implement but Ohaga driving us to this. If he wants to be a candidate in the football elections, let him offer himself,” he said.

Mwendwa questioned Ohaga’s decision to bring together stakeholders to discuss how to conduct the elections the tribunal has twice cancelled, asserting the move underscores lack of clarity in his previous ruling.

“A ruling of a judge should be so clear, so that if he is not there tomorrow, there is no ambiguity. This behavior from the tribunal has to stop, has to cease. We have no faith with that tribunal anymore,” he declared.

The time spent in the litigation process is also of concern to the federation, with Mwendwa blaming the SDT for delayed elections.

Eligibility Criteria

OHAGA

“We cannot be in litigation forever. They have decided, and we have lost six months. Was it not for that tribunal, we would have finished our elections long ago. If any person has grievances over the electoral process, they know where to go because we have an Electoral Board.

“So we are asking (FKF), particularly myself, the chairman of the tribunal to stop interfering with football matters. He is not a member of football so he cannot host a football stakeholders’ forum. He should stop, but if he wishes to continue, he can do it like any other person on the streets,” an irked Mwendwa told.

However, Mwendwa said the previous rulings by the tribunal are to be followed, insisting he will not participate in any forum summoned by the tribunal again.

In a suit filed by the federation against the Registrar of Sports which interested parties, listed as challengers were also enjoined, the SDT cancelled the national elections that were set for March 27.

The tribunal cited the eligibility criteria at Section 4 of the FKF Electoral Code, cancelling the elections.

However, FIFA’s response to the orders of tribunal complicated the matter, as it questioned its jurisdiction and went ahead to quash an order to end the FKF’s National Executive Council (NEC) term.

In Tuesday’s forum, Ohaga said he was not coercing Mwendwa to attend his meetings, although the attendees felt disrespected by the move.

“It is not a must for him to attend. The tribunal has no difficulty in that. He is a mere potential candidate in the elections and he can accept or decline,” said Ohaga, underlining his effort to have the stakeholders’ opinion in the way forward.

Former FKF president Sam Nyamweya, Kenyan Premier League (KPL) CEO Jack Oguda, Kenya Footballers Welfare Association (KEFWA) Secretary General Jerry Santos and Twaha Mubarak were among the stakeholders who attended Tuesday’s forum.

Mwendwa says he is now waiting for the world football governing body FIFA to give direction on the elections. This is after FIFA meets FKF, Ministry of Sports Kenya and the SDT.

“FKF is an institution bound by its constitution as well as the FIFA statutes. We received the SDT’s ruling on March 17, 2020, and its further directions, and have abided by them, in good faith. FIFA has likewise been clear in its reply to us on the issue. We will, therefore, await its (FIFA) direction on the matter,” concluded Mwendwa.

The date of the meeting remains unknown though, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Story By Jacob Icia
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