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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

IOC instructs Kenyan affiliate to hold polls under new constitution

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) instructed its Kenyan affiliate to hold fresh elections under a new constitution by Dec. 31.

This edict was issued after a tripartite meeting between the IOC, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) and the government led by the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Hassan Wario held in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The meeting was convened in the wake of Wario’s disbandment of NOCK after a series of fiascos that visited the Kenyan organization after the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The IOC ordered NOCK to hold the impending elections under a new constitution, perhaps fully aware of the skewed playing field that favored the incumbents over their opponents, which was also witnessed during NOCK’s last elections held on May 28, 2013.

Also contentious has been some clauses the Olympic chiefs used to gag dissenting voices and pay themselves honorarium.

The organization holds its elections every four years to give a fresh mandate to a new office to steer it.

However, NOCK has in the past been accused as operating an "impenetrable cartel", with some even calling it a fraud.

During the last elections, Kipchoge Keino, 76, was re-elected as the chairman of NOCK after he earned 21 votes to beat former vice-president Alfred Khangati who garnered 10 votes.

Perhaps the biggest shock of the elections came when former Athletics Kenya President, Isaiah Kiplagat, was defeated to the NOCK vice-presidency by the chairman of Kenya Swimming Federation, Ben Ekumbo by 24-3 votes.

In similar circumstances, former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss Sam Nyamweya pulled out of the race for second vice-president, calling the election "a sham" and left his only rival, the chairman of the Kenya Weightlifting Association, Pius Ochieng, to win the seat unopposed.

This left NOCK to operate without members from athletics and football, two disciplines with giant following in the country.

Nine members of the NOCK board regained their positions, although three officials - former first vice chairman Peter Nderitu, second vice chairman David Okeyo and committee member John Roberts - did not seek re-election.

Francis Paul was elected unopposed as secretary general and Fridah Shiroya held on to her seat as treasurer.

Most would-be contestants find it a waste of time trying to challenge the incumbents, while those who do so always know the tall order lined against them.

NOCK has 31 votes to be cast when electing 13 officials of the executive committee.

The incumbent executive committee officials who are also contestants themselves hold a vote each.

Therefore the 13 officials of NOCK have formed a voting cartel where they vote for each other, thus starting ahead of their rivals by 13 votes.

The remaining 18 votes are cast by delegates seconded to the affiliate federations, who hold one vote each.

Interestingly, most of NOCK’s executive committee are also senior officials of the affiliate federations hence every delegate from the affiliate is manipulated to vote for their seniors on the executive committee.

For example, NOCK’s Secretary General Francis Paul, who initially came to the executive courtesy of a nomination by the Kenya Handball Association, is assured of a vote from the delegate of the association during the electoral process.

The delegate would then vote for Paul’s group.

With such alliance and cronies making up the voting machine, each member of the executive committee is guaranteed a whopping 20 votes at any given election.

The remaining nine, though not necessary at this point, are easy to influence.

Owing to this process, all the incumbents retained their seats with very wide margins.

Besides benefiting from a faulty electoral process, NOCK officials have in the past also been accused of having taken advantage of another clause in the constitution to get their priorities wrong.

For example, in 1995, in view of the budget presented before the General Assembly, the 13 officials allocated themselves 28,000 U.S. dollars shillings and disbursed only 16,000 dollars to the affiliate associations for development of sports.

This allocation was made courtesy of a rule in NOCK’s constitution which reads thus: "the executive shall have powers to pay any member or official such honorarium as it may from time to time deem necessary or appropriate."

To make sure their activities are kept safe, the constitution invokes a very intimidating confidentiality clause under rule 26.1 which states:

 "without prejudice to his rights or duties, each member shall treat all information relating to any member, the Committee or Executive Committee as strictly confidential and shall not communicate such information to any person, authority or organization."

In the event of violation of the confidentiality clause, the Executive Committee has powers to punish a member as it deems fit. NOCK was created in 1955 and recognized by the IOC that same year.

 

             

 

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