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Gor Mahia elections case heads to High Court

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Businessman Dan Oketch (left) during the December Gor Mahia elections where he was floored by Ambrose Rachier who was re-elected chairman.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 – Gor Mahia lawyer Geoffrey Obura will seek a judicial review from the High Court after objecting a ruling from the Sports Disputes Tribunal which threw out a preliminary objection put out in a case over the club’s elections last December.

A section of Gor Mahia members affiliated to chairmanship aspirant Dan Oketch had filed a case at the Tribunal challenging the striking off of some 1,577 voters from the register before the elections, arguing they were duly unregistered.

When the matter came up for mention last Tuesday, Obura had put in two objections. One, he argued that he and his client were unaware of the identity of the 1,577 voters, save for the 13 who had appended their signatures on the suit papers.

On the second objection, Obura pointed out that there was no respondent on the case and therefore legally, the suit should be disposed off by the Tribunal.

Obura argued that the claimants had sued the club, Gor Mahia, and not its officials as provided for under the Societies Act, hence legally the case could not proceed.

Gor Mahia chairmanship aspirant Dan Oketch confers with his lawyer Omondi Omollo during thehearing of their case at the Sports Disputes Tribunal on December 13, 2016. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

He based his argument on the Kenyan Premier League v Football Kenya Federation High Court case in 2015 where Lady Justice Roselyn Aburili ruled that an entity registered under the Societies Act cannot sue or be sued under its name.

But in its ruling on Tuesday afternoon, Tribunal chairman John Ohaga threw out both objections and said the case will now go into full hearing on February 13. He also dismissed a stay order requested by Obura after the ruling.

In throwing out Obura’s preliminary objections, Ohaga also argued that late last year, Gor, in their own name brought before the Tribunal a case against KPL over docking of points and no objection was taken on the same.

“Having therefore interrogated all the authorities relied on by the parties and the additional authorities set out and taken into consideration various principles of law, the Tribunal is impelled to the conclusion that the definition of ‘person’ under Article 260 of the Constitution has the effect to widen the parameters within which the capacity of a party is to be constructed and necessarily overrides any construction of the provisions of the Societies Act,” the Tribunal’s ruling read in part.

“The preliminary objection cannot therefore be sustained and is dismissed,’ it added.

If the High Court rules in favor of Gor Mahia that they cannot sue or be sued under their own name, then the case will be dismissed and hearing at the Tribunal will not go on. If the High Court sustains the Tribunal’s ruling, then the matter will go into full hearing.

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