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AK national polls now set for April 17

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ISAIAH-KICHWANAIROBI, Kenya, March 13- As the dust from the March 4 General Elections continues to settle, Athletics Kenya (AK) emerged on Wednesday to announce the latest timetable for their much delayed polls.

Federation boss, Isaiah Kiplagat, who still remains non-committal on whether he will defend his seat although he is widely tipped to gun for the post he has held for the past 20 odd years, declared the AK National elections will now be held on April 17.

These will be preceded by the County and Regional elections on April 3 and 10 as the federation conducts an exercise that will mirror the devolution structure adopted by the country’s new constitutional dispensation.

“We had postponed our elections to allow our members to take part in the national elections exercise. Now that we are looking forward to a new Government, we can now hold our own,” the AK supremo who ascended to the top post in 1992 said.

In yet another twist to the exercise that has been shelved thrice since it was first due to be held in December, Kiplagat added the Benjamin Njoga led Committee that was handling registration would now be in charge of handing out nomination papers.

“We decided this committee that was harmonising our register will issue nomination papers so that all those who are interested in contesting positions are not left out of the exercise,” Kiplagat explained.

Conflict of interest

Some of the members of the said committee are also vying for positions and some of the prospective candidates for positions in the federation pointed out to Capital Sport that the conflict of interest involved could be an attempt to skew the polls in favour of the incumbents.

“The committee was appointed by the national executive and they are also contesting for posts so how can they be trusted to issue nomination papers fairly especially to those candidates who they see as threats?” one who declined to be named publicly posed.

“The Office of the President will supervise the elections. They have given us tough guidelines that they expect everything to be above board so even if the committee hands over the nomination papers, they will play no role in the elections.

“Even the provincial chairpersons who wanted to be given the duty to supply the papers in their areas are also interested in vying,” Kiplagat told Capital Sport when quizzed on the alleged conflict of interest.

According to the chair, the provincial administration that is being converted to reflect the devolved government structure will provide the venues where the elections will be held.

To ensure the threshold of at least 30 members vote at the lowest tier, AK ruled that voting would start at the Country level before the elected representatives move to elect Regional officials.

These are the ones who will converge to vote in the National Executive that has seen the post of secretary general scrapped to be replaced by a CEO to be appointed through competitive process.

Four vice-president posts up from the current two have been created with one reserved for a woman to reflect on the gender requirement.

Congratulations

Meanwhile, Kiplagat congratulated Boston Marathon Champion, Wesley Korir and Elijah Langat for winning the Cherangany and retaining the Emgwen seats in the National Assembly following the General Elections.

Ten other active and retired runners were also voted into County Assemblies during the March 4 polls.

“We hope they will press for the welfare of athletics and sports as a whole. We hope the coming Government will also appoint a professional Sports Minister so that the potential can be realised,” Kiplagat added.

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