NAIROBI, Kenya, September 12 – Athletics Kenya (AK) top bosses closed ranks to launch the biggest road race in Kenya, the Stanchart Nairobi International marathon 48 hours before the expiry of the notice given to federation president Isaiah Kiplagat by his detractors to convene a Special General Meeting.
More than 23 branch officials including members of the AK National Executive Committee (NEC) gave Kiplagat until Friday to convene the meeting or they will go ahead to organise a SGM that could see the removal of long-serving Kiplagat from the top post.
However, AK bosses displayed a show of unity on Wednesday during the launch of the 2013 Stanchart Marathon that will be run on October 27, arriving and leaving the venue in one vehicle.
“In AK we have no problems. We are friends and minor disagreement does not mean we fight each other.We are still standing and we shall work together with Stanchart Marathon and this years will be bigger since the world is watching,” Kiplagat, who last week accused those opposed to his radical changes at the top of the federation governing structure of ‘resisting change’ said whilst franked by NEC chiefs opposed to him.
“We see no reason why we should not work together to achieve the ambition of making Stanchart Marathon to make it a world class event like London, Boston and New York Marathons. We should achieve that in the next five year,” Richard Etemesi, the CEO of Stanchart said while announcing a new five-year deal between them and AK to organise the event.
“We had a few hitches on the question of the route but having sat together to discussed with a technical team from Stanchart and AK, the route has been mapped out and it will be fantastic race. The problem with roads in Nairobi is that they are small because we could have increased the numbers to 30,000,” Kiplagat added as a new course for the 11th edition of the annual event was unveiled.
The AK chief further congratulated retired former world marathon record holder Paul Tergat for his selection to be an International Olympics Committee member, the second Kenyan after distance legend Dr. Kipchoge Keino to earn the honour.
On the feuding at Riadha House Kiplagat said a speedy resolution to the stand-off was being sought.
In the face of the sternest dissent to his 21-year-old tenure at the head of the organization, Kiplagat appealed for consensus to salvage operations at AK that are have been on lock down for the past three week.
“The Treasurer of this federation has run away, we are in a limbo, we cannot operate because he has gone away with everything, the cheque books, everything,”said Kiplagat last week.
“The vice-president, who is in charge of competition, is also gone and we are preparing for the program for next season. We must remain steadfast; we cannot go the way of other federations,” he added,
He blamed the go slow of the organization to two of his co-signatories to the federation coffers, deputy president in charge of competition and administration, David Okeyo and Treasurer, David Miano, breaking ranks with their boss to join the camp that is opposed to his administration.
-By Jemimah Wangui