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Kenya' s Olympics committee members retain seats

English.news.cn   2013-05-30 08:33:02            

NAIROBI, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The status quo may have carried the day in the end but even they know that reform is neigh at the National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) following their bitter elections in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Nine incumbent officials led by the legendary Dr. Kipchoge Keino who offered themselves for re-election returned to office but the voices of dissent were louder than ever before.

Tellingly, officials from athletics and football, the two key sports of the Olympics movement, will not sit in the newly elected Nock administration after their flag-bearers were floored during the exercise under protest.

"We had a fair election. We did not pressurise anybody and members of every federation cast their vote the way they wanted. We want fair leadership and we cannot dictate or put politics in sport since we shall be the losers," Keino said.

"Athletics had their own elections and the one who was representing them stepped down. They had to talk to members of other federation to accept them to Nock. Personally, I feel we should have representatives from athletics and football but we cannot force anybody in," Kipchoge stated as he fired a broadside to bosses of the two sports who lost in the ballot.

In the end, sitting executive members who are entitled to vote had 13 of the 31 votes available in the bag, requiring only four to be confirmed and as it emerged, they voted as a block thereby placing their rivals outside the administration at a disadvantage.

This arrangement that has been the common practise in Nock for years on end came under its severest test on Wednesday as Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss, Sam Nyamweya who had offered his candidature for the second vice-chairman position walked out in protest.

His fellow FKF official, Ruth Kaweru who was vying in the women' s representative position lost to newcomer Pauvuar Rawal by 19 votes to 12.

"This election is a sham. How can we have the same executive standing for election be the ones who set the rules? How did they appoint the returning officer? I cannot participate in this process," Nyamweya mourned before he walked out of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) that preceded the election.

However, the walkout he intended to lead that would have put an end to the exercise over lack of quorum to conduct the polls did not materialise after other federation members stuck to the seats and shortly after, the exercise went on.

Athletics Kenya (AK) supremo, Isaiah Kiplagat, who prevailed upon his first vice-president, David Okeyo, to step down in his favour was handed a heavy defeat by Kenya Swimming Federation boss, Ben Ekumbo, with 22 against 4 with three votes spoilt.

"I don' t know how they will manage without representation by major sports. We will continue to give them the athletes and hope they will manage them well.

"It depends how they select the officials they select in those teams. If they continue with the practise of sending their own officials to the Olympics, we are going to see the end," Kiplagat lamented.

"Here, it was who is who and I have nothing to say about the election and there were two issues. The most viable was the tribal element and Kipchoge and Kiplagat (both hail from the Kalenjin community) could not be together.

"The other scenario is people in the Nock committee tend to think that as a person, I' m overbearing and they cannot accommodate my views since I only work for results. Nock does not meet international standards, there is no technical committee, financial disbursement to federations and there constitution does not exist, they want the status quo" the AK president claimed.

During the AGM that teetered on the brink of disarray, various members questioned how finances relating to the 14.5 million U.S. dollars Olympic Plaza Nock headquarters in Nairobi that is under construction as well as other money donated the organisation for the London 2012 Olympics are being appropriated.

"We cannot allow people who have heard there is a project worth that much is going on to come in and say they want to manage while what they are after is to get their hands on the money.

"I decided to run so that I can ensure that this project is finished and it serves the people of Kenya," Kipchoge stressed.

The 16-story building located in the prime commercial area of Nairobi will have eight floors for sale to repay the development loan, a further five rented out to guarantee steady income with the rest serving as offices of the governing body. ' Members agitated for an independent audit on the project besides calling to be given a chance to elect the trustees after establishing that Keino, Secretary General Francis Paul and Treasurer Fridah Shiroya were the listed trustees of the building.

"We will continue to hold trust for the building since even when we are not in office, those who will come after us will continue but we shall appoint independent auditors for the project," Shiroya insisted.

Also coming under scrutiny was the proposed new contract with America sportswear giant, Nike that is expected to be signed in July.

According to audited accounts for the years 2011 and 2012 presented by Nock; the annual grant from the firm fell to 691,215 dollars last year from 734,973 dollars.

"We will invite you to come and offer any suggestions about the design, quality and quantity you wish to see the Nike kit for your federations when they come in July but it has to be in Kenya colours.

"The new deal will give us more in grants and the quantity and quality will be better than what we have been having," Keino stressed although the figures surrounding the proposed deal are still under wraps.

Editor: Chen Zhi
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