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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya Olympic body will adopt new constitution to avert sanctions

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s National Olympics Committee (Nock) Executive agreed Tuesday to forestall possible International Olympics Committee (IOC) sanctions by agreeing to adopt a new constitution.

The IOC announced last week it would discuss the errant Nock at its Executive Board meeting in South Korea on Thursday and Friday with a view of taking action against Kenya with the threat of an Olympics ban in the offing.

This is after senior Nock officials voted on Tuesday last week to defeat the adoption of a new constitution following a tri-partite agreement between the embattled national body, the Kenyan government and the IOC itself.

In a communication sent to all Nock affiliates on Tuesday, Secretary General, Francis Kinyili Paul who is facing charges in court following the Rio 2016 scandal that landed the body in trouble last year, announced an Extraordinary Meeting would be held on March 28 in Nairobi.

He then attached minutes from the last Extra Ordinary meeting last week that purported to have resolved to "adopt the new constitution".

This was contrary to the assertion by top Nock Executive officials led by Olympic Laureate, Dr. Kipchoge Keino, who declared the failure of the constitution to garner the two-thirds majority in the vote represented, "the will of the Kenyan people who could not support a document they were not involved in drafting."

Keino, a revered two-time retired Olympics champion, led 11 of his Executive office holders and two federations to ensure the draft only garnered 19 votes to 13, as it failed the required threshold for its adoption and the calling of subsequent Nock elections.

The Nock boss further proclaimed fresh polls would be held under the old constitution in June, in another contravention of the IOC-brokered reform road map that had set a late March ballot exercise.

In a swift clamp down, the IOC that had sent two observers to Nairobi to oversee the Extra Ordinary meeting announced two days later a freeze of all funding to Nock.

"The IOC is disappointed with the position taken to reject a road map it helped create in tripartite agreement with Nock, affiliate federations and the Kenyan government," a statement said.

Besides an Olympics ban, the IOC had the option of sanctioning individual Nock officials who went against their wishes including Keino who is a serving life Honorary IOC Member.

The hardline stance adopted by the international body seems to have forced the Kenyan officials into beating a hasty retreat.

On Sunday, a local daily, The Standard published a story calling for Keino, a respected figure in global sport, who is considered to be the father of Kenyan athletics, to exit leadership honorably since he risked soiling his rich legacy.

The Nock boss, who has been in charge since 1999, is reported to be interested in serving as a Honorary Life President.

Five items are listed on the agenda for the March 28 Extraordinary Meeting.

The new constitution will be subjected to a vote by a ‘show of hands’ as opposed to secret balloting in what is a step meant to dissuade or deter those against its adoption.

The proposal and adoption (by the General Assembly) of persons, who will form ‘the Independent Electoral Board’ to oversee and conduct the election process for the Electoral General Assembly, is also on the agenda.

"All Associations/ Federations shall be represented by two delegates, with one delegate carrying voting rights," the circular said.

The adoption of the draft constitution will pave way for the setting of a date for fresh Nock elections that could spell the end of the long reign of senior Executives led by Keino.

The new constitution strips them of the right to vote unlike the past where they have polled as a bloc to prevent anyone outside the executive from ousting the incumbent officials from power.

Andrew Mudibo, the Kenya Table Tennis Association President welcomed the development that brings the end of an era at Nock management closer.

"We are pleased to now that NOCK has this time decided to follow the IOC directive that had been issued on March 3, which had clear instructions on what needed to be done.

"This time round we do believe that everyone including the Executive will vote for the adoption of the negotiated NOCK Constitution, so that Kenyan sportsmen and sportswomen can be able to benefit in full fruits from the Olympic Movement," Mudibo wrote in a statement.

He was appointed who by Nock affiliates as Interim Secretary General when Kenya’s Sports, Culture and the Arts Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Hassan Wario disbanded the body on August 27, 2016.
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EARLIER REPORT:

Kenyan athletes urge compliance with IOC to avoid ban

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan athletes on Tuesday called upon the government to do all it takes to avoid impending International Olympic Committee (IOC) ban on Friday after its local affiliate refused to make changes to its constitution.

Officials of the Professional Athletes Association of Kenya (PAAK) led by Organizing Secretary, Julius Ndegwa said athletics formed the bedrock of the country’s Olympic participation and urged the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) to move with speed and address IOC concerns to avoid a ban.

"Track and field forms the bedrock of Kenya’s Olympic participation and the ban will affect the country’s athletes immensely," Ndegwa told journalists in Nairobi.

The IOC froze financial support to Kenya last week after the troubled local Olympic Committee refused to make changes to its contentious constitution, which was negotiated among affiliates.

The IOC said it would discuss the matter in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Friday to decide any further action.

"NOCK should comply with the IOC wishes because no group of individuals is greater than the nation," he said, adding that they will call for a boycott by Kenyan sportsmen and women from travelling with the officials starting with this year’s Youth Commonwealth Games scheduled for July in Bahamas.

The IOC wants a series of new regulations to address issues of good governance within its Kenyan affiliate which was brought about by its lop-sided constitution that favored incumbent officials.

National Olympic committees divide up to 1 billion U.S. dollars in IOC revenues every four years that accrue from the Olympics and which is their share from the marketing proceeds of the Olympics.
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