NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29- As expected, incumbent office bearers who offered their candidature led by chairman Dr. Kipchoge Keino sailed through Wednesday’s National Olympics Committee- Kenya (Nock) elections that nonetheless served rich drama in Nairobi.
Nine members of the outgoing National Executive retained gained fresh mandate, among them former world marathon record holder, Paul Tergat, Tegla Loroupe and Catherine Ndereba as late withdraws and claims of a flawed electoral process dominated the day-long exercise.
Peter Nderitu (first vice-chairman), David Okeyo (second vice-chairman) and John Roberts (Committee Member) did not offer themselves for re-election in an exercise where the new governing body will not have representation from athletics and football, two of the biggest sports in the Olympic movement.
Kenya Tae Kwon Do Federation that is locked in a legal battle over its leadership was barred from taking part in the exercise in what in the end turned into a procession for office holders who had a head start of 13 votes among them, leaving 18 to be shared by affiliate federation.
Keino, who did not shy from stating he defended his seat to complete the ongoing projects including construction of the 16-story Sh1.27b Olympic Plaza Nock headquarters, floored former assistant minister, Alfred Khangati in the race for the top seat by 21 votes from 10 from the 31 ballots cast.
“We are now going to complete what we started and ensure that we complete our projects. I want to see that building completed and handed over. When people hear of Sh1.2 billion, they want to come in and we cannot be sure they will do the right thing,” Kipchoge who pledged not to seek re-election when the four year term expires said in a broadside to the critics.
“World over, all sporting associations have the executive members allowed to vote and we cannot force anyone in. Personally, I would have wanted to have people from athletics and football in but what can we do? The elections were fair,” he added.
“I wish the new team the best but these elections were not fair. How cane we have 13 executive members voting? That places everyone else at a disadvantage. I thank those who were brave enough to vote for me since to have real change, we must start from the top and that is why I ran,” Khangati lamented.
The race for the first vice-chair seat witnessed Kenya Swimming Federation chair, Ben Ekumbo comprehensively defeat Athletics Kenya president, Isaiah Kiplagat 24-3 to leave the latter red faced. Commissioner for Sport, Gordon Olouch, withdrew at the last minute for unclear reasons.
“This is all tribal because Kipchoge and I come from the same community and it did not seem right. They are also afraid of me because I question everything and they have never wanted me there in the first case.
“I don’t know how they will operate without members from AK and football in Nock but we shall continue preparing our athletes and we shall then see how they shall manage them. It is time Nock hired a CEO and technocrats and they need to change their constitution,” Kiplagat charged.
Drama was witnessed before voting when Football Kenya Federation boss, Sam Nyamweya, stood to carry out his threat to pull out from the race for second vice-chairman leaving his rival, Pius Ochieng, of weightlifting to sail in un-opposed.
“This exercise is a sham! It is not transparent since we have no independent body conducting the exercise,” was among the myriad of complaints he tabled to the Annual General Meeting that preceded the polls.
However, his bid to lead a walkout that would have scuttled the exercise saw no other federation representatives follow suit as voting went on as soon as the outspoken football boss took his leave in protest.
Francis Paul went in unopposed as the Secretary General but his assistant, James Chacha, barely carried the day by 17 votes to 14 polled by his opponent Njeri Onyango in the closest ballot of the voting.
Fridah Shiroya held on to her Treasurer’s post after flooring former KBC journalist, Elynah Shiveka by 20 to 11 as her assistant, Stephen Soi romped home by 22 votes against nine for Amateur Boxing Association’s John Kameta.
Kenya Hockey Union’s Resham Bains (22), Ndereba (21) and Anne Njambi (19) who previously served as Women’s Representative were elected as Executive Members in a race that saw the withdrawals of John Ogolla and Anthony Kariuki whittling the candidates from nine to seven.
Tergat prevailed over Olympian swimmer, Jason Dunford in the contest for the male Athletes’ Representative by 20 votes to nine with two spoilt ballots where two-time world 800m champion, Billy Konchellah, was barred from contesting on technical grounds.
The women’s equivalent was captured by Loroupe when her sole challenger, Edna Rotich, withdrew in her favour.