REPORTS FROM THE
Change looms as Athletics Kenya set poll date after
The elections will be held at the county level
starting 16 and the regional level April 23 before
the delegates congregate to elect the national
officials April 30
By Ben Ochieng
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya (AK) has postponed its national elections four
times, citing different reasons for doing so each
time. The elections were first set for last year
before they were pushed to Feb. 27 and again to March
The new date
was later announced as April 3 before AK settled for
April 30 as the ‘final date’ for the eagerly awaited
The reasons floated
by the association’s president Isaiah Kiplagat centered around
the recently-held general elections on March 4 and the
swearing-in of Kenya’s fourth President Uhuru Kenyatta on
April 9, each time arguing that the dates were too close to
the national events.
don’t want anything ugly to happen and be associated with
our elections. We have to leave it that way until the
general elections are over then we can carry on. We are not
in a hurry,” Kiplagat said while announcing the first
postponement in Nairobi.
abound as to whether there can be a change of guard at AK
owing to the status quo that prevails at Riadha House (AK
headquarters). In the past it was difficult for the three
incumbents, who are the face of the association, to lose their
seats during elections.
can authoritatively say that there will be a change of
leadership in the association only if and when the
President, Secretary General David Okeyo and Treasurer
Joseph Kinyua decide to relinquish the reins of leadership,”
an outgoing official who declined to be named for obvious
reasons told Xinhua on Thursday.
who are challenging the trio do not know what they are up
against and could be wasting their time.”
The elections will
be held at the county level starting 16 and the regional level
April 23 before the delegates congregate in Nairobi to elect
the national officials April 30.
Musketeers’ manage a sport that has put Kenya on the world map
and made many of the country’s athletes among some of the
Athletics has also
contributed to almost all the medals Kenya has earned at the
Olympic Games and other international outings.
Having used their
influence to built Riadha House at a whooping cost of 32
million U.S. dollars, making the association one of the only
two International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)
affiliates in the world to own a secretariat, many observers
feel it is a fallacy for anyone to imagine they would let go
During the 17th
Confederation of African Athletics in Nairobi in 2010, the
continental president of Athletics Kalkaba Malboum thanked
Kenya for always coming to the rescue of Africa during
international events by winning medals for the continent.
the going has been tough for Africa, it is Kenya that has
come to the rescue of the continent by winning medals in
athletics,” the CAA President said.
other associations, AK has managed finances well thereby
attracting local and international sponsorships worth
millions of dollars. There are also no factions at the
association that define other sports bodies,” says our
The threesome all
boast of experience, deep pockets and high international,
corporate and political connections that place them at vantage
point to make things rolling. They are also well- travelled.
AK sends teams to
the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, All Africa Games, World
Cross Country Championships, Africa Championships in
Athletics, World Junior Championships, World Youth
Championships and several other yearly events like the World
Half Marathon and the Chiba Ekiden.
During these events,
most delegates get a chance to travel with the respective
teams as team managers, heads of delegations and in other
capacities as the trio might deem.
The trips carry with
them lucrative perks and offer the officials a chance to see
the outside world. It is the same officials who vote during
national elections, upon which it becomes time to “scratch the
During the 2008
elections, former Assistant Treasurer Francis Afundi made a
move that is considered foolhardy - challenging his former
boss Kinyua. He received only two votes.
Kiplagat is a former
long-serving Managing Director of Post Bank, one of Kenya’s
leading financial institutions and has been at the helm of
athletics in Kenya since 1992.
He is a council
member of the IAAF and is known to push Kenya’ s agenda at the
world body, like requesting the IAAF to re-carpet the
country’s national stadium and bidding for the 2007 World
Cross Country Championships that Kenya hosted in the port city
of Mombasa. Known for speaking his mind, Kiplagat is a close
confidant of former president Daniel Moi.
Okeyo is a
charismatic, commanding and a workaholic figure who is very
popular with delegates and the Chairman of the IAAF Road
Running Committee. He is very close to former Prime Minister
Kinyua is an
educationist who has brought discipline in the association. He
is a former principal of one of Kenya’s leading colleges and
has served as a commissioner with the Teachers Service
Commission. He is currently the chairman of Kenya Pipeline,
one of the country’s leading quasi-bodies and is an
acquaintance of many personalities in the political circle.
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