FKF: Zurich trip aborts

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Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa gestures during a press conference on October 29, 2019 at Nairobi Safari Park Hotel.

A planned trip to Fifa headquarters in Zurich by top football administrators on Wednesday aborted as the Ministry of Sports reiterated that the contentious Football Kenya Federation elections will only be held within the confines of the Sports Act.

FKF president Nick Mwendwa was expected to leave for Switzerland on Wednesday evening accompanied by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, Sports Registrar Rose Wasike and Sports Disputes Tribunal chairman John Ohaga, but the trip was cancelled at the last minute for unclear reasons.

An official from the ministry, who did not want to be named because she is not authorised to speak on behalf of the ministry, told revealed that Amina cancelled the trip because of “unavoidable circumstances and work exigencies”.

John Ohaga, who was also to attend the meeting, said that he is ready to engage with Fifa regarding the upcoming elections. He said he didn’t travel because he had “a discussion with the CS that changed the landscape.”

But, in an interesting twist, Mwendwa, who had earlier this week told the media that he would travel to Zurich with the CS and SDT chairman, also failed to travel and did not give any reason despite several requests from the media.

The trip was seemingly cancelled to allow the two parties ample time to ponder how to go about the matter.

Our source from the ministry said: “Regarding the elections, the CS has taken a different approach. She has been engaging with stakeholders to ensure stability in the sports sector. It is, therefore, hoped that these engagements will ensure elections of FKF are held within the framework of the law.

“There is a misconception being peddled that the CS was to engage with Fifa only on election-related matters. The truth is that she has been in communication with officials from Fifa over several issues, including partnering with them in the development of grassroots football in the country,” the source said.

Ohaga said that he had no problem assisting the federation overcome their legal challenges.

“My job is to facilitate compliance with the law. I have no other interests. If Fifa wants clarity as to what it would take to hold an election under the law, then I am willing to help our sports fraternity achieve their objectives,” he said.

The now contentious election was initially scheduled for December 7, but was cancelled by the Ohaga-led tribunal on grounds that there wasn’t enough public participation done during the process, and that the Electoral Board was not properly constituted.