Grandstanding Mwendwa goes on the warpath against sports tribunal

Grandstanding Mwendwa goes on the warpath against sports tribunal

Nick Mwendwa has reiterated that the stand by Fifa that Kenya’s Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) is not a properly constituted national sports arbitration tribunal.

Mwendwa on Wednesday publicly denounced a consultative forum convened by John Ohaga, the Tribunal chairman, to get views on how FKFelections should be conducted, arguing that FKF was not party to the forum.

“Ideally, a mediation process is party-driven and voluntary. Usually, negotiations in mediation are undertaken before an impartial and neutral third party without decision-making powers. In any event, the stakeholders of football in Kenya comprise of many other parties and entities outside these proceedings,” protested via a letter to the Tribunal.

Nonetheless, Ohaga went on with the meeting that agreed to hand over the electoral process to the Sports Registrar under whose docket the matter resides.

The SDT roundtable meeting also asked the FKF Electoral Board and the Sports Registrar to work together to deliver the long overdue polls that have been cancelled twice by the Tribunal over various illegalities.

Further details are expected to be delivered by the Tribunal by Friday June 5,  2020.

Despite the little strides being made, Mwendwa who is known for waging wars against any government institutions that ask for accountability, like the Sports Registrar, the Ministry of Sports and now the STD, has held his ground that FKF will await Fifa’s direction, as was communicated by the world governing Body in a letter dated March 25, 2020.

“FKF is an institution bound by its constitution as well as the Fifa statutes,” he said.

“We received the SDT’s ruling on March 17, 2020, and its further directions, and have abided by them, in good faith. Fifa has likewise been clear in its reply to us on the issue. We will, therefore, await its (Fifa) direction on the matter,” Mwendwa said. 

Last month, SDT ordered the Directorate of Criminal Investigation’s Forensic Department to investigate FKF CEO Barry Otieno over a potential perjury after the federation spokesman was accused of authoring a letter to Fifa asking for protection. Otieno who risks up to seven years in jail, if found guilty, denied the allegations.

The Sports Tribunal had on December 3, 2019, nullified the elections, citing inadequate public participation on the electoral ceode as well as an improperly constituted Electoral Board.

The board was mandated with conducting repeat elections, which were scheduled for March 14, 2020 for county elections, and March 27, 2020 for the national elections.

But FKF would then move back to SDT when they sued the Registrar of Sports for threatening not to recognise the outcome of the polls unless the federation comply with the law (Sports Act). 

In this suit though, the interested parties, listed as challengers, were also enjoined and they successfully convinced SDT to yet again cancel the national elections that had been scheduled for March 27, 2020.

The tribunal cited punitive eligibility criteria in Section 4 of the FKF Electoral Code, a punitive clause that denied other contestants from challenging Mwendwa.

Following this move that also saw the SDT disband FKF’s National Executive Committee, the federation wrote to Fifa on the way forward.

 But a letter authored by Veron Mosongo-Omba, Fifa’s  director of development for Africa and the Caribbean, in a letter dated March 25, 2020, Fifa advised FKF to stay away from SDT that Masongo claimed is not a legally constituted national sport arbitration body.

And just like that, Mwendwa now claims that SDT has no power to arbitrate on Kenyan football matters even though it is the same body that handed the outgoing FKF boss his first major court victory when he expanded the league by two teams-from 16 to 18 immediately he took over. 

This move would open the exit gate for SuperSport who terminated their contract with the Kenyan Premier League as the official broadcast partner.