NAIROBI, Kenya, April 15- The controversial age limit requirement for Football Kenya elections aspirants was finally scrapped on Friday ending a row that threatened to put the long awaited elections on hold.
World governing body Fifa appointed Independent Electoral Board (IEB) annulled the requirement that aspirants for chairman and vice-chairman post must be over 35 years but below 70 following an emergency meeting with Youth Affairs and Sports Minister, Dr. Paul Otuoma.
Hussein Mohammed, one the top candidate for the chairmanship position who had been locked out of running since he is 34, welcomed the move telling Capital Sport, “Finally sanity has prevailed and now we can go on with our campaigns.
“There are still other clauses in the IEB code of conduct that also needs to be addressed and my team is working on how to address them but for now, I’m delighted common sense has succeeded.”
Otuoma summoned the IEB to his office where his assistant, Kabando wa Kabando and Commisioner for Sports, Gordon Oluoch among other high ranking officials were in attendance to discuss the issue that led to huge outcry that made its way to the floor of parliament on Thursday.
The minister told SuperSport.com, “As a ministry that is in charge of the youth, it is paramount that we don’t discriminate against the youth and that’s why it was important to follow up on the issue."
“We collected views from all stakeholders but we have got the opinion of the ministry who do not want the rights of youths to be infringed and we have therefore revoked the age clause,” IEB chairman, Joe Okwatch added.
He added his body would send the amended document to Fifa for approval before releasing it from Monday.
In parliament, Kabando who was holding brief for Otuoma termed IEB’s decision to bar candidates on basis of age as a ‘violation of the country’s constitution’ in a clear rebuff of Fifa who okayed the Electoral Code of Conduct realised on Wednesday.
After many years of reading from different scripts, the Government and Fifa joined forces to institute Football Kenya elections aimed at abolishing years of mismanagement of the local sport and it remains to be seen whether Friday’s developments will hold the co-operation.