Kenya risks IOC ban after Nock bosses shoot down Constitution
Kenya moved closer to inviting an International Olympics Committee (IOC) ban after members of the Executive Committee of its national body shot down a vote to amend its constitution during a stormy Extra Ordinary Meeting in Nairobi on Tuesday.
Following another aborted meeting last week, the IOC sent two observers to oversee the reconvened gathering where the new National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) Constitution was subjected to a vote that required a two-thirds majority to be adopted.
The voting ended 19-13 for the new Constitution that fell below the required two-thirds threshold needed to formally adopt it.
Retired former world marathon record holder, Paul Tergat and Catherine Ndereba were the only Nock Exco Members who declined to vote as a bloc with their colleagues led by the revered Olympics Laureate and President, Dr. Kipchoge Keino.
Two federations, namely; Swimming and Tae-Kwon-Do voted with majority of the Nock bosses who are bent on sustaining the status quo as the Extra Ordinary Meeting ended in disarray to leave the country facing an uncertain future as part of the international Olympics family.
The Nock bosses acted in defiance with a directive from the IOC that required them to vote for the proposed laws to govern the national body that among other reforms, denied them the right to vote at subsequent elections in an effort to end the choke hold of a few officials at the helm of the institution.
“We have shown Kenyans what we want is fair play. If you put politics in sports, then we are not building this country. We want our youth to perform worldwide, we were number 15 overall at the Rio Olympics, number one in Africa and number two overall in athletics. We want to improve in other sports.
“Athletes were not mistreated. If the team was mistreated, they would not have come home with six gold, six silver and a bronze, the team was taken care of and performed well. We could have come with nine,” Keino a two-time Olympics champion who is widely hailed as the Father of Kenyan athletics told reporters.
Without batting an eyelid, the man who has spent almost two decades at the helm of the national Olympics body announced elections would not be held under the IOC road map at the end of this month but in June under the old constitution that virtually guarantees the return of all Exco members if that should be the case.
IOC is expected to announce its ruling following the stalemate in what could see the country banned from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics or action taken against individual Nock Exco members who openly defied the international body.
“There are several reasons. Some of them claim they were not involved in the initial meetings and therefore, they were not aware (the contents of) this document. They did not want to vote for a document they did not participate in,” long-serving Nock Secretary General, Francis Kinyili Paul offered as the Exco Members made a hurried exit.
Paul is among four top Nock bosses facing court action related to the Rio 2016 Olympics fiasco where charges of theft by servant, embezzlement and theft of kit meant for Team Kenya were preferred by the State.
Chef-de-Mission to Rio, Stephen arap Soi, First Vice-chairman, Ben Ekumbo and Second Vice-chairman, Pius Ochieng are also out on bail on similar charges where millions of shillings meant for the team that posted the best Kenyan performance at the Olympics were squandered.
Table Tennis Kenya boss and interim Nock Secretary General, Andrew Mudibo, claimed the latest effort by the sitting administration to scuttle reform was another sign of their indefatigable will to cling on to power.
“Like we had predicted before, the document was a negotiated agreement. All along, we have seen the hurdles the Executive have been keeping. The reason we have been fighting for this document to pass was the Executive has a majority of the vote within themselves.
“If you want to change anything, it will never change and the only change that comes is when someone dies in office. We knew they will shoot it down and we shall communicate to the IOC Executive Board ahead of their meeting on March 16 and 17,” Mudibo told the press following the impasse.
“We will also look at the legal means available in the country. We will fight for the athletes who were mistreated in Rio, for the athletes whose future has seen a dark cloud. At the same time, we know there are people that Nock were using through coaching scholarships as a bribe so that this thing cannot go through,” Mudibo claimed.
The IOC observers led by Jerome Poivey who were joined by their counterparts from the Africa National Olympics Committees Association (Anoca) left the venue in a huff, saying they were not mandated to speak to the media.
In a strongly-worded signed by the IOC Deputy Director General, Pere Miro and Anoca President, Lassana Palenfo, Nock were urged to ensure the Constitution was passed on Tuesday after the earlier Extra Ordinary Meeting aborted on February 28 or the country would face dire consequences.
“The circular that was sent by the IOC was clear on the road map to adopting this Constitution and they were very clear on the consequences that will happen. All communication they have had since last year, they were given until the end of this month to adopt the constitution.
“The observers looked very upset and my fear is Kenya is in for a big problem,” Athletics Kenya Nairobi Branch chairman, Barnaba Korir who was one of the affiliate federation members at the meeting asserted.