The recent appointment of Stanley Okumbi as the Harambee Stars head coach was ‘overstepping of mandate’ by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) was told.
This is according to lawyer Benson Iganji who is representing a splinter group led by former presidential aspirants Gor Semelango and Sammy Shollei who are also challenging the recent FKF elections which saw Nick Mwendwa get elected as the new football boss in the country.
Iganji, who was responding to FKF attorney Ken Ombati’s submission that the local football governing body conducted their elections as a Society and not a sports organization, punched holes into the opposite bench further urging the court to nullify the elections.
Running football as a society
Ombati, in his submission, argued that FKF organised the elections as a society but Tribunal chair John Ohaga challenged him whether the federation has a legal mandate to run football as a society.
“Be that’s the case, that FKF conducted their elections as a society, then we have no problems with that but the appointment of the national technical bench was overstepping of their mandate because they are not a sports organization but a society,” said Iganji.
Iganji further argued that the elections did not follow the due process bringing to the attention of the Tribunal that the five-term of FKF officials had expired by the time the elections were done.
“The only people who were mandated to give notice of the elections is the national executive committee arguing that the executive term expired in October 29, 2015.
“The elections that were done by FKF not only failed to conform with the law but also disrespected their own constitution and therefore should be nullified,” he said adding that the Tribunal has been so lenient to FKF.
But Ombati rubbished claims by Iganji that the elections were convened illegally stating that the FKF constitution provides that the sitting chairman remains in the office until such a time that a new office comes into power. In his replying submission, Ombati urged the Tribunal not to nullify the elections stating that the case has been overtaken by events.
This was in response to Iganji’s submission that new elections be held and a new office led by Semelang’o, Sholei and Mohammed Abbas be recognised and allowed to organise the new polls.
The Lucky Summer FC owner also want the branch and sub branch sections nullified.
Ombati came under a lot of pressure to answer a question from tribunal member, Njeri Onyango whether the Sports Act underrides the FKF constriction. “That depends with where you sit. Am not going to tell Iganji what he need to do” said Ombati.
When pressed further to tell the court what “should be done”, Ombati stated: “Apply for contempt of court. Am not going to come here and say that my client refused to comply (with Sports Act), in fact, today I’ve changed my stand that they’ve applied.”
Tribunal chairman John Ohaga further probed Ombati even pre-emptying what will happen should Semelang’o group be transited into a full organisation: “Let’s cross the bridge when we get there,” said a comical Ombati whose comment threw the house in a light laughter before asking the Tribunal to give the new office time to run the federation, arguing that the elections were conducted democratically.
Ruling will be delivered on March 15th.
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