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Only top bosses have voting rights in AK polls

ISAIAH-KICHWANAIROBI, Kenya, January 15- Only members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) have individual voting rights in the February 20 Athletics Kenya elections.

Federation boss Isaiah Kiplagat also announced nomination forms for the polls will be released next week with candidates free to declare their interest in various positions up for grabs in regional, institutional and national levels.

The development is informed by the passage of the new AK constitution that abolishes the previous affiliates in line with the requirements of the country’s current governing structure that split the nation into 47 counties up from eight provinces.

“The rules are being formulated and they will be out next week. We have a new constitution that has brought new regions, sub counties and counties and the rules must be formulated for the understanding of all people,” federation boss, Isaiah Kiplagat said.

He added the chairman of the commission in charge of drawing up the guidelines for the polls, Bernard Njoka and his team are going through the list of registered members to verify who can be eligible to stand for election.

“In all regions and counties, there will be no members sitting and electing themselves. Nobody will have voting power except the national office.

“All these are new regions; we have divided Rift Valley into three for instance and people who were elected last time cannot have a vote. All the regions will be elected anew and those fresh people can come and wipe us out,” the chairman explained.

Kiplagat who has been at the helm of the federation since 1992 as well as other long-serving members of the executive including secretary general, David Okeyo, declined to declare his candidature for what would amount to be a sixth term.

“I shall announce when the nominations are out, this is not a political party where we can declare what we want to be, it is a sporting organisation,” the world body IAAF Council Member stressed.

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While promising to ensure that the poll guidelines will be fair to all contestants, Kiplagat who is widely tipped to gun for a continued stay at the helm encouraged active athletes to vie for posts.

“As long as they are registered members, there is nothing stopping them from standing for election. Everyone who is a member is also free,” he added.

The new federation constitution introduces four vice-presidents with Okeyo, current vice-chairs Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jack Tuwei and Paul Mutwii as well as NEC women’s representative, Mary Chege, are said to be aiming for.

Okeyo’s current post has been abolished with AK set to appoint a CEO to take over the functions related.

At the same time, Kiplagat urged Sports Minister, Ababu Namwamba to refrain using the passage of the Sports Bill as a toll to ‘scare’ federation officials.

“We support the Bill and we hope it will be applied in a more friendly and professional manner, not as a tool to fix people. Even his predecessor, Dr Paul Otuoma used to say ‘I wish this bill comes and I will deal with errant officials’

“Assuming the country has 60 federations and each has 10 officials, we are talking about 600 volunteers at least where some are using their money to run them and we should not scare them.

“There are certain federations that may go wrong and we are not saying they should not be dealt with as per the bill but it should be applied in fair manner,” the chair explained.

Over the weekend, Namwamba who has been in the ministry for the last four months stated that enactment of the Bill that became law on Monday had given the ministry means to deal firmly against errant officials ‘who had become institutions’.

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