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Fifa officials due for FK polls talks

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 13- Officials from world football governing body Fifa are expected in the country on Thursday for meetings that will culminate with the release of the Football Kenya (FK) elections timetable.

At the same time, the Fifa approved Electoral Code that will govern forthcoming polls was formally launched by the Independent Electoral Board (IEB) on Wednesday.

Joe Okwach, the chair of IEB said the visiting officials would hold tripartite meetings with his body and the Independent Interim Electoral Commission (IIEC) that will conduct the elections initially set for late April.

“We expect an agreement on the timeline for elections to be reached in the next three to four days since the guidelines we recommended have been accepted by Fifa,” Okwach said.

He added: “We are still keen on holding these elections within the month but it is not cast in stone. The process of coming up and reaching agreement on guidelines took longer than we anticipated and we are yet to listen to the IIEC’s side of things but it is our wish to stick to our initial plan.”

The 21-page Electoral Code was approved by Fifa on April 7 and spells out a range of stipulations for candidates aspiring posts at national, branch and sub-branch offices have to adhere for endorsement to run for office.

Among highlights contained therein include the decision to hold them under unregistered Football Kenya in contravention of Fifa statutes that state a domestic football running body must be in existence for at least two years before its elections are held.

“Fifa took this option due to the peculiar nature of the Kenyan case to allow the country’s continued status as a member of the international football family. Football Kenya Limited (FKL) were the recognised managers of the country’s football but everyone including Government and Fifa lost faith in them.

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“To allow elections under FKL would not be the all inclusive process everyone aspires since only its members would form the electorate and the other option was for Fifa to ban the country until such a time we put our house in order,” the IEC chair explained.

Other key requirements include abolition of the much maligned delegate system with registered and vetted clubs forming the electorate and age ceilings for office holders at national, branch and sub-branch levels.

Contestants for national office chairmanship and deputy-chair have to be aged between 35 to 70 years with 30 and 25 set for branch and sub-branch levels. Candidates with criminal cases or those under Anti-Corruption Act will be barred from running.

Political party officials and office holders will also be locked from the polls and all candidates must present tax compliance proof from Kenya Revenue Authority among other requirements.

Under the IEB guidelines incumbent FKL boss Mohammed Hatimy and Extreme Sports CEO, Hussein Mohammed who has run a well oiled campaign for the top post since launching his bid January are technically excluded.

In addition to being a nominated civic leader, Hatimy faces abuse of office charges while at age 34, Mohammed does not meet the age cut to run for top national office.

IEB’s guidelines spell out an appeal mechanism for any aggrieved party to seek redress with the three-member committee that will constitute the petition body to be announced soon after endorsement by Fifa and government.

“The appeal process will take two days to reach the body but we are also not ruling out litigation but those who will go that route will be excluded from the process as per Fifa regulations on government interference,” Okwach said.

Immediately after the elections, FK will be transformed to an association recognised by Fifa and registered by Government with the elected officials assuming the mandate to run the country’s football.

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