NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 3 – The war between the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and the Sports Disputes Tribunal has scaled up, with FKF boss Nick Mwendwa asking the Tribunal chair John Ohaga to steer off its issues and focus on his work.
A furious Mwendwa on Wednesday said that the Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT) had no role in calling for a stakeholders’ meeting as it’s work ended immediately they gave directions and ruling on the FKF polls, and after FIFA rejected their call to have a caretaker committee running football.
Ohaga chaired a stakeholders’ meeting via Zoom on Tuesday, but Mwendwa and his team refused to attend.
“I want to ask John Ohaga to stay away and steer clear of football election matters. The work of the court is to decide cases. I have never seen a judge going to the media and explaining his decisions. He is now calling people for a stakeholders meeting. He made a decision and we walked away to implement,” a furious Mwendwa stated.
He added; “If he wants to be a candidate in the elections he should offer himself. This behavior from the Tribunal has to stop, We don’t have faith in that tribunal anymore and we can’t be in litigation forever. I am asking chair of tribunal to stop interfering with football matters. When matters are taken to his door let him decide them once he decides let him keep off he is not ember of football and hence cannot host a forum.”
On Tuesday, while addressing the stakeholders meeting that was attended by among others former FKF chief Sam Nyamweya, Ohaga said he had no problem with Mwendwa missing the meeting and said he was at liberty to do so.
The FKF boss has now gone on to state that Ohaga is overstepping his mandate by continuing to make pronouncements and calling for meetings even when his decisions have already been issued.
“FKF has its own constitution as well as rules and regulations which govern us and that is what guides us in what to do. Has a Tribunal become a consultant for FKF elections? I have never seen something like that.”
“John Ohaga’s tribunal has continued to interfere with football elections and I think that the Tribunal might have an interest that they have not stated. Ohaga has continued to invite people to make applications. I have never seen a court inviting people to bring cases,” Mwendwa further asserted.
He went on to state that they will not honor any of the stakeholder meetings called by the Tribunal but will instead wait on directives from FIFA over the stalled polls which have twice been cancelled by Ohaga’s court.
“We twice respected the Tribunal’s decision to cancel our elections and in good faith. Now, they have offered directions and we will stand by them. FIFA said they will have a meeting after the current COVID-19 situation is dealt with and they will come to Kenya and deal with this issue,” Mwendwa said.
“We shall receive directives from FIFA and we will conclude elections. Anyone who has interest should wait for FIFA directives to come and take part in the elections,” he further noted.
Mwendwa has also categorically stated that the FKF branch elections done in March remain legitimate, differing with the Tribunal that those elections also remain nullified.
The Tribunal stopped the elections from going on on March 17, just three days after FKF had conducted branch elections.
“According to the ruling he (Ohaga) gave, nowhere does the Tribunal cancel the branch elections,” he stated.
With FKF’s hardline stance on negotiating with the Tribunal over anything, Kenyan football will now only wait for FIFA to give directives on how the polls will be conducted with Ohaga last week saying that Mwendwa and his Secretary General Barry Otieno will remain in office until after the polls.
The elections were cancelled for the first time last year with among issues raised including the composition of the board as well as the election guidelines set up, the Tribunal ruling that there was no public participation.
FKF went through all branches streamlining all needs of the Tribunal, with the new set of rules as well as a new board okayed by a Special General Meeting. However, Ohaga’s Tribunal cancelled the election for a second time, pointing out the eligibility rules were unfair.
But, Mwendwa has insisted those were the same rules that were used in the 2016 elections when he rose to power, the only addition being the requirement of any candidate to have been in football for at least three years.