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Otuoma gives IEB election ultimatum

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NAIROBI, Kenya, August 11- Kenya inched even closer to an international Fifa ban after the Government gave a September 10 ultimatum for football elections to be held or it would take over the process.

While reiterating the country was not afraid of Fifa sanctions, Sports Minister, Dr. Paul Otuoma also directed the Independent Electoral Board (IEB) to compile and publish the list of all voter clubs in engagement with all stakeholders.

“We are not worried about the Fifa ban since we are lying at position 130 that we should not be but IEB must be allowed to execute its mandate and nobody, Government, Fifa or other stakeholders should interfere with the process.

“The list of clubs should be made public and the criteria at arriving at them open to scrutiny by Kenyans since we have ran out of patience,” Otuoma said.

According to Fifa rules, only clubs that play Association Football have the green light to participate in the elections but the list of almost 1600 outfits released by IEB to take part in the process has been disputed.

IEB that indefinitely postponed the elections on Tuesday has come under fire for the delays in the process prompting the Sports Minister to intervene.

Speaking to Capital Sport, Hussein Mohammed, one of the eight candidates cleared to contest the post of chairman of Football Kenya, the body that shall be formed to run the country’s game after the elections said Otuoma’s declaration did not go far enough.

“We need a clear outline of how civic education is going to be conducted and all stakeholders should be involved in the drawing up the list and IEB has not given a concrete way forward.

“There is nothing to achieve if our petition is not heard and everyone is consulted and the next thing we will hear is a Fifa ban. The date for the election is not the issue, what is important is to put structures in place to run smooth elections,” he said.

It was the third day running that Otuoma, who had remained studiously silent over the issue, has waded into the elections saga that has seen the process deferred for the fourth time since the initial plan to hold them last December.

In calling off the elections that were due Saturday, IEB gave involvement of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission at the August 18 Kamukunji Constituency by-elections as the reason why the football polls that were first deferred to April then this month had been postponed.

“We do not know why we were invited to be interviewed yesterday (Wednesday) since once again, nothing came out of the process. IEB are confusing us with the way they are managing this process,” Hussein decried.

Speaking to parliament on Tuesday Otuoma, said the Government had ran out of patience with the impasse over the elections as he blamed Fifa for failing to avert the stand-off that has thrown the whole process in doubt.

“We still have alternatives as Government if Fifa will not honour their part of the bargain and as a Government we are prepared to severe our links so that we can re-organise our own football,” the minister told parliament.

Dr. Otuoma added: “This is the message I have told them very clearly that as much as we have taken one year to organise these elections and as much as the government has given them all the corporation, I will be very disappointed if at this last hour if Fifa does not play its role in ensuring the process is completed.”

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