NAIROBI, Kenya, October 2 – Feuding Athletics Kenya (AK) bosses have finally buried the hatchet and resolved to work together for the sake of the sport after more than a month of public spats that brought one of the most successful federation in the country on its knees.
Long-serving Athletics Kenya president, Isaiah Kiplagat, whose extended tenure was threatened by a revolt by 14 of the 16 affiliates that constitute the federation, announced the ceasefire on Wednesday after the warring parties converged at its Riadha House headquarters in Nairobi to thrash out misunderstandings.
At the gathering, it was ‘agreed’ the contentious Special General Meeting (SGM) scheduled for October 10 to discuss amendments to the new AK constitution and administrative structure will now be considered next year during the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
“If anybody, particularly all the stakeholders, might have issues about the constitution, we have asked them to give as a suggestion on which area they feel need to be attended to so that it becomes all inclusive, by next year if there is anything that needs to be looked at it will be determined at next AGM since there is nothing that is missing in the constitution, it is good.
“I know when you came here expecting fireworks following what has happened in the past month but this meeting between the chairmen and the President has come to a conclusion that this federation is bigger than all of us.
“So we have agreed the federation must continue to serve the interest of the athletes,” the mercurial Kiplagat who survived the latest onslaught into his long administration told the assembled press pack while sparing time to congratulate Wilson Kipsang on breaking the marathon world record on Sunday that is yet to be ratified.
The meeting that was attended by chairmen from across the country came to a consensus to cease the wrangles and concentrate on the programme for the new season set to the gun next month.
On the other hand AK second Vice-President and spokesman for the affiliates, Paul Mutwii, concurred with his boss sentiments.
“It is in the constitution that the president is supposed to speak on behalf of the federation and he has talked.
“This meeting was meant to iron out any differences if they were any and I assure you, as the President has said, we have agreed on everything. So those issues we have buried them and this is the strong AK which has merged even stronger than before,” he remarked.
The bosses however, remained silent on the fate of the new AK CEO and Marketing and Communications manager whose appointment and Kiplagat’s decree to elected officials to hand over their duties to them sparked the row that threatened to tear the federation apart.
Despite the internal wrangling with both camps engaging in surreptitious meetings to counter their rivals, the AK top brass has emerged to present a unified front after they were directed by the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Sports, Arts and Culture, Dr. Hassan Wario, to clean up their act mid last month when both warring sets showed up in his office.
Last weekend, Kiplagat, Mutwii and Okeyo led a high powered AK delegation for the inaugural Tullow Oil Turkana Cross Country where they fronted togetherness although the undercurrents of their split were evident away from the prying eyes of the organisers and public.
There, Kiplagat and Okeyo held separate meetings with Mutwii who assumed the role of mediator between the two senior officials whose hand at the helm of both camps was evident.
However, after much ado, the staying power of Kiplagat, who has been AK boss for 21 years and was re-elected in July, was the clear winner in this tussle that is set to surely cement his grip on power since he is known to deal ruthlessly with dissent.