Under siege Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa has invoked Fifa’s name in the ongoing elections dispute as his opponents continue to call for free and fair polls.
The long overdue Kenyan elections have twice been called off by the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) – in December 2019 and March 17 – over electoral code and eligibility criteria respectively.
Despite all these thorny issues that need to be addressed before the polls can proceed, Mwendwa still insists that the code will not be reviewed.
He has also assured his faction of delegates that the other sticky issue on whether clubs at the sub-branch levels should be allowed to have a say in national elections, will not happen.
Clubs taking part in lower divisions like FKF Division One will not take part in electing the President after Mwendwa chaired an SGM that allowed the elections to start from the county then to the national levels, and back to the sub county level. This means that sub-county clubs will not take part in the national elections, a move that is seen by Mwendwa’s opponents as a scheme to rig the elections.
This standoff has seen the election matter being dragged to the SDT. And despite SDT’s landmark rulings in two separate occasions, the combative Mwendwa, in a leaked audio, insists that the elections must go on under his own terms, of course banking on protection from Fifa.
“Elections will be repeated from the branch coming up to the national office. Whoever had already presented his papers and paid will not present papers again and will not pay,” Mwendwa told his camp in a secret meeting that was secretly taped before the video was leaked to the media.
To solidify his support, Mwendwa even assured his camp that they will not have to pay nomination for the second time, adding that only opponents will have to do so.
“What it means is that only opponents in every county will bring their papers, if there will be an opponent.
“We have done an analysis and we have seen that in over 30 counties there will still be no opponents.”
But it was the assurance from Mwendwa that there will be no change in the electoral code that is baffling considering the SDT had cited that there was no public participation in drafting of the code.
“There will be no changes to the electoral code because there is no mechanism to changeit. These people removed the NEC and I will not call an SGM to change that code again. So, the code will remain the way it was.”
This blatant disobedience to the directive of a state agency could give the aggrieved another opportunity to move back to SDT to challenge the forthcoming process.
But according to Mwendwa, delegates don’t need to worry because he has the blessing of Zurich.
“I have told Fifa clearly that the risk we face is people going to the court again.
“Fifa have understood and told me that if anyone goes to the court again, it is them who will handle.”
Should someone take advantage of the opportunity to move back to the courts, then the Kenyan elections could prove to be another circus of two characters (Fifa/Mwendwa and SDT) — one hell bent on bending the law with the other upholding to the fidelity to the constitution.
Below is the full transcript of Mwendwa’s leaked audio
Members of Team Blue, let me go through it again so that everybody listens and understands. When you were here, I explained to you that you need to be confident in order to surmount any challenge.
We have seen the challenges so far and the challenges have not put us down. So this is not the time to panic.
So point number one: Elections will be repeated from the branch coming up to the national office. Whoever had already presented his papers and paid will not present papers again and will not pay.
What it means is that only opponents in every county will bring their papers, if there will be an opponent.
We have done an analysis and we have seen that in over 30 counties there will still be no opponents.
That is the first point.
Secondly, there will be no changes to the Electoral Code. Why will there be no changes in the Electoral Code? Because there is no mechanism to change the Electoral Code. These people removed the NEC and I will not call an SGM to change that Code again. So, the code will remain the way it was.
What will happen is, those people who wanted to run for the national office, those who were former players, former officials will be allowed to run but nothing after that. At the Branch, there is no change.
On the part of clubs, no register will change because since then, there has not been any football. The register will be the same that was there. Clubs at the Sub-branch level will not vote. So I don’t see the reason to fear.
Because in any case most of you were saying we start all over again so that our opponents will not have any reason.
I have told Fifa clearly that the risk we face is people going to the court again.
Fifa have understood and told me that if anyone goes to the court again, it is them who will handle.
My final point is this; we cannot appear weak to Fifa. Fifa are being told that we are fearing elections, that we are locking people out.
If we show Fifa that it is true what they are being told that we are fearing to start the elections all over again from the grassroots, although I explained to them why we have to start at the national, if we show them we are opposed, what do you think they will think of us? They will think we have actually locked out people when we have actually not done so.
So you need to understand where we are and stop fearing. I have seen some of you have challenges. But we have walked with every one of you and we have held you.
Now I am wondering, if you Kakaa has spent Sh150,000, what do you think I have spent?
Secondly, if you think you can lose, how much do you think I will lose when you lose?
Everybody should be calm, the way we have been working. Let us hold our hands together, we go back to these elections. We will win and we must win so as our activities continue.
You see, the President (Uhuru Kenyatta) has shut down counties. He has extended the curfews again. Let us see how these curfews will be like so as to see if we will be able to conduct the elections so that we know how it will be.
Thank you so much. Let everyone concentrate and know that nothing will change at the branch. If those opponents of yours come, they will find the same Board there. They will find us there and the same clubs only. So don’t fear and let us do this thing again because we cannot afford to have Fifa opposed to us. Thank you very much.