FKF crisis: Ex-LSK boss Ojienda joins fray to defend FKF in high-stake polls
Tom Ojienda speaks to the press at Milimani law courts yard during the election of LSK male representative .George Njunge/ Standard

The stakes in the controversial Football Kenya Federation elections rose a notch higher on Tuesday as former Law Society of Kenya president, Tom Ojienda, surprised many when he appeared for FKF at the Sports Disputes Tribunal.

Disgruntled stakeholders have moved to the Sports Tribunal seeking to have FKF compelled to fully comply with its March 17 ruling, which impeached Article 4 of the FKF Elections Code, before proceeding with elections planned for September 17 and October 17.

The stakeholders are represented by Nelson Odongo, instructed by Kerandi Manduku Advocates and Amos Otieno of CMO &Co Advocates, who is also seeking to be FKF Nairobi West branch chair.

FKF crisis: Ex-LSK boss Ojienda joins fray to defend FKF in high-stake polls
Sports journalist Milton Nyakundi makes his submission where the Sports Dispute Tribunal is sitting to determine a case between Football Kenya Federation and Sports Registrar at Milimani Law courts on February 25, 2020. Photo/Stafford Ondego, [Standard]

Journalist Milton Nyakundi, acting in person, has widened the scope of the stakeholders’ petition by listing the world football governing body, Fifa, and its Chief Member Associations officer Veron Mosengo-Omba as respondents.

That FKF sought the services of Senior Counsel Ojienda to be the lead lawyer alongside Victor Omwebu might be the strongest hint of how high the stakes are in the case. 

Ojienda was immediately into action when he opposed an attempt to consolidate the petition filed by Odongo on behalf of the petitioners with Nyakundi’s petition.

FKF crisis: Ex-LSK boss Ojienda joins fray to defend FKF in high-stake polls
FKF President Nick Mwendwa at Goal Project unveiling Sh1.2 billion sponsorship deal with Betking towards sponsoring the Kenyan Premier League and the Women League. July 16, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

 “It is our position that the petitions are heard separately because Mr. Nyakundi’s raises some limbs which are fundamentally different,” Ojienda said.

The former Law Society of Kenya President also sought to have the mention on Monday next week, but SDT chairman John Ohaga said he wanted the matter mentioned before the end of the week.

The Sports Tribunal has set Thursday afternoon to give directions on Nyakundi’s application.

In the Petition, number 11 of 2020, against Football Kenya Federation Electoral Board, its chair Kentice Tikolo and the federation over the “long-overdue” polls, Nyakundi seeks that “the elections be stopped until there is full compliance with the SDT ruling of March 17, 2020 and Fifa stopped from interfering with the electoral process,” which he said, “must be held in accordance with Kenyan laws.”

In the court papers dated August 14, Nyakundi named the Sports Registrar as an Interested Party and also wants Rose Wasike to be the final authority to verify the legal status of the clubs to be included in the voters register.

Ohaga directed Nyakundi to serve the Respondents, including Fifa and Moseng-Omba and provide evidence of service before Thursday.

Nyakundi argues that the directives from Fifa through Omba amount to interference in the internal affairs of FKF and that any such directives that contradict the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the Sports Act 2013 should be declared null and void.

During Tuesday’s mention, the tribunal set September 15th to hear a separate application by a section of aspirants and clubs challenging the legality of the elections.

In their case, the aspirants want the elections stopped for failure to comply with the ruling in SDT 3 as consolidated with SDT 5.

FKF crisis: Ex-LSK boss Ojienda joins fray to defend FKF in high-stake polls
Chairman FKF Electoral Board Kentice Tikolo during the unveiling of the reconstituted Electoral Board ahead of the upcoming elections set to be held before March 30 in Nairobi on Monday, Feb 3, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

They object that the eligibility criteria contained in section 4 of the electoral code are illegal having been found inconsistent with Articles 38 and 81 of the Constitution of Kenya.

Further, they have called out the exclusion of clubs from the voters register as being in violation of Article 35 of the FKF Constitution.

Meanwhile, the hearing of Kenyan Premier League’s case challenging the legality of Nick Mwendwa – the outgoing FKF President – ending the KPL season and declaring Gor Mahia champions failed to take off after the respondents said they were not ready to proceed.

The tribunal directed that the matter be now heard on September 3 and that the parties must “strictly adhere to the timelines”.

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