All clear for FKF polls tomorrow as Tribunal throws out petition

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) national elections will proceed as initially planned on Saturday after the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) dismissed a petition seeking to halt the exercise.

The petition was filed by applicants, among them former FKF president Sam Nyamweya challenging the eligibility of the exercise. Specifically, they questioned the jurisdiction of the Electoral Board to come up with the nomination criteria after the SDT nullified the second attempt of the polls on March 17.

The Board, led by Kentice Tikolo, went on to draw a new criteria that accommodated more aspirants, by borrowing both from the FIFA and FKF electoral codes. This was questioned in the petition.

There was also a protest letter by Sports Registrar Rose Wasike seeking to stop the process, that pronounced as overshadowed by the “best interests” of the sporting fraternity for football activities.

In his ruling on Friday afternoon, Ohaga said the earlier withdrawal of former Gor Mahia CEO Omondi Aduda from the petition, and going on to submit his candidature for the FKF top job undermined the entire appeal.

“The simple issue for our determination is the question of the validity of the eligibility criteria applied by the Board. The 1st to 8th Petitioners say that they did not need to submit themselves to the nomination formalities because it was evident that these were flawed.

“However, after the commencement of this petition, the second petitioner, Lordvic Aduda appears to have decided to test the criteria by presenting his candidature which was accepted. This simple act significantly undermines the entire premise of the first to eighth petitioners case,” declared Ohaga.

He continued, “The tribunal accepts that the contentions by these petitioners is founded on a theoretical framework which has been shown to have been built on quicksand. We do not see how it can be sustained.”

Aduda withdrew from the petition much to the chagrin of the rest of petitioners, including Nyamweya who gave the nomination process a wide berth claiming the process was flawed.

Former Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) supremo Nicholas Musonye, Twaha Mbarak and former Harambee Stars international Sammy Shollei are among others who boycotted the nomination process.

Ohaga also noted that Tikolo and FKF CEO Barry Otieno satisfied the tribunal in their arguments why the process is legitimate.

“Article 27 (1) of the FKF Constitution gives an independent electoral board the power to conduct the Federations Elections. The tribunal agrees that to the extent that FIFA did not agree to the formation of the normalization committee as had been suggested by the tribunal, it was incumbent upon the Electoral Board to take such steps as it deemed expedient to conduct such elections. This would necessarily have included putting in place such selection criteria as would meet the parameters spelt out by the tribunal.

“If the first to eighth petitioners had a bona fide interest in vying for national office in the Federation, they should have demonstrated this in the first instance by putting forward their candidature. The proposition that this would have been futile is misconceived as already demonstrated by our reference to the ‘defection’ of the second petitioner.

“We think that this conclusion is sufficient to dispose of the petition and it is not necessary to delve into all the other arguments that were advanced by the parties. For this reason, the petition is for dismissing and it is duly dismissed,” part of Ohaga’s ruling read.

Aduda has meanwhile told his fellow petitioners then to accept the decision of the court and “football win.”

“I withdrew from the petition because the only reason that led to the nullification of the March elections was addressed. Now they better join the football fraternity, move forward because football is not a personal property but a national heritage. Let’s put this to rest so that football can win,” he advised.

The SDT in addition ordered the petitioners to bear the cost of the petition, “on the basis that this was the third time that a matter of this nature was coming before the tribunal.”

On Wasike’s question, the STD threw out the protest noting the complex demands of aligning with the Sports Act could only be met progressively.

Thus, the next office will be required to move with speed towards the Registrars’ demands, within 90 days.

Speaking to Citizen Digital after the ruling, Tikolo said there was no gap in terms of preparations despite the last minute determination of the case.

“Absolutely, we are ready. It would have been suicidal, to wait for the ruling. So what we did we went on with the preparations so that if the ruling came to stop us, we would have said it’s fine. Bu, if it was to tell us we go on, we could not afford to be found flat footed.”

The latest move now paves way for culmination of the electoral process that started way back in 2019, only to be stopped twice by the tribunal. FKF boss Nick Mwendwa stands the favourite to retain his seat.

However, undeterred Nyamweya has vowed to pursue other options in his quest “for electoral justice.”

“Once we review the ruling, we shall explore all possible legal and political avenues to ensure compliance to the rule of law,” he said, adding the ruling marked a beginning of a protracted fight for electoral justice.