Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT) chairman John Ohaga on Tuesday urged protagonists in the stalled Football Kenya Federation (FKF) elections to embrace dialogue as a means of breaking the impasse.
Ohaga, for the second time in March, annuled the elections, ruling that the FKF eligibility criteria for aspirants was against Kenyan laws as it restricted competition and fairplay.
Ohaga further determined the FKF National Executive Committee (NEC) term had expired and sent them home, including the president Nick Mwendwa.
As a way forward, he requested FIFA, the world’s football body, to form a Normalisation Committee to run affairs of the federation until a new office is elected.
He retained the FKF Electoral and Appeals Boards as they were properly constituted and said they would function with the Normalisation Committee once it was put in place.
But FIFA in a swift rejoinder said no to formation of a Normalisation Committee, while ordering the NEC back in office till after elections are carried out.
In the communication, Fifa’s Chief member Associations officer Veron Mosengo-Omba, like SDT, urged for dialogue amongst the stakeholders. He promised to travel to Kenya when conditions allow to help break the ice.
Having ruled out government takeover of the federation through the ministry of sports as envisaged in the Sports Act 2013, saying it would amount to a third party interference, a sure reason for a FIFA ban, and having failed to convince FIFA to form a Normalisation Committee, Ohaga seems to be cornered and out of options.
This sentiment was expressed by one interested party, who was enjoined in the case and did not want to be mentioned.
“Let’s be clear, Ohaga has no solution to the elections impasse, it’s clear he has just been wasting our time and money in legal fees. We needed a clear cut roadmap from him, not telling us to dialogue.”
On Tuesday, Ohaga entertained submissions from interested parties and aspirants who sought to among others have FKF NEC cited for contempt, and get a ruling on alleged vandalism at FKF offices, which is a criminal matter.
But in a new twist, two Kenyan Premier League players went to court to challenge rules governing practice and procedure of the SDT.
The Zoo FC duo claim Ohaga made the rules himself without involvement of the office the Chief Justice, the Parliament and without public participation and hence are null and void.
They want all rulings made under the disputed rules, including on the FKF elections, struck off.
The case was certified urgent in the High Court of Kenya at Kericho.
If successful, the case could have far reaching ramifications in sports as a whole, and the career of Ohaga, according to legal observers.