Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Presidential aspirant Twaha Mbarak has called on the current FKF regime under Nick Mwendwa to stop hiding behind the world governing body FIFA and follow the law ahead of the eagerly awaited elections later this month.
On Wednesday, the government through the Sports Registrar Rose Wasike wrote a six-page letter addressed to FKF CEO Barry Otieno where the term limit for the current office bearers took centre stage. According to Wasike, the Mwendwa office, was registered under the Sports Act in 2016 hence officials to have already served for two terms will not be eligible to contest again.
The statement by Wasike means Mwendwa, who is keen to defend his seat alongside FKF deputy Doris Petra, National Executive Committee (NEC) members Joseph Andere (Nyanza), Muriithi Nabea (Eastern) and Enos Kweya (Western), will not be eligible to defend their various seats.
However, in a rejoinder, Petra dismissed Wasike’s claims and went further to state that they would be on the ballot come the eagerly awaited exercise. She said as quoted by Nairobi News: “We assumed office in 2016 and the laws in that election were crafted during the tenure of Sam Nyamweya. In 2017, we had an Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Mombasa and changed the constitution. These rules were used for the first time in the 2020 polls.
“We won and served our first term from 2020 to 2023 because that is when the new constitution came into effect. We are seeking re-election because our serving under the old constitution from 2016 to 2020 can’t be counted. That is the law.”
According to Mbarak, who doubles as the vice-chairman of FKF Premier League outfit Bandari FC, Kenyan football cannot take another round of controversy engineered by people bent on holding the country hostage for their selfish ends.
“It’s very disturbing that the current officials of FKF will do anything to take Kenya down a collision path with world football governing body FIFA,” said Mbarak, in a signed statement obtained by Africa Top Sports, adding: “All this because their term is coming to an end by July of this year and are not ready to play by the book.
“The Registrar for Sports acted responsibly as a state officer by reminding the FKF officials of the importance of sticking to the rule of law such as observing the Constitution of Kenya, the FIFA statutes, the Sports Act 2013, the Sports Registrar’s Regulations 2016 and all other relevant laws. The classic response, as always, by the FKF aficionado is threatening the country with a FIFA ban.”
Mbarak added: “Yet a casual look at the FKF Constitution and the purported FKF Electoral Code reveals a scheme to hold Kenya at ransom and a concerted effort to misinterpret the Sports Registrar’s letter to FKF dated February 1, 2024. The FKF cleverly, but falsely, tried to circumvent the Kenyan Constitution when they amended Article 43 (3) Candidates for the Office of the President when they crafted it to read that,
“A President may be re-elected for a further two (2) terms of office in accordance with art. 37 (e).”
Mbarak said FKF were lying to FIFA to seek re-election by saying: “Why would FKF lie to FIFA that they can go for more terms than the law allows? It’s because they know FIFA will swallow everything hook, line, and sinker. Besides, nobody has barred Mwendwa and his Deputy President Petra from contesting for different positions. What they cannot do is go for the same positions they have occupied for two terms.”
He further wondered why it was difficult for FKF to follow the law. “So where is the difficulty in following the same constitutional dispensation and the laws that we agreed to abide by?” he questioned, adding: “What our FKF colleagues are doing is to challenge the Supremacy of the Kenyan Constitution and are in direct contravention of Chapter One Section 2, which reads;
(3) The validity or legality of this Constitution is not subject to challenge by or before any court or other State organ.
(4) Any law, including customary law that is inconsistent with this Constitution is void to the extent of the inconsistency, and any act or omission in contravention of this Constitution is invalid.”
He continued: “It’s apparent, and done on purpose, that our FKF colleagues have not learnt anything or are not willing to respect all rulings by the Sports Disputes Tribunal. The said FKF officials want to drag everyone down the drain by selectively applying the law and SDT Rulings.”
“FKF had all the time to consult with the Government after the 2020 disputes but they chose to ignore. They made their bed, so they must lie on it,” Mbarak concluded.