IOC offers to mediate between govt and Kenya Olympic officials over Rio mess

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Nock officials, including Kipchoge Keino (second right), when they appeared before the National Assembly Labour and Social Welfare Committee on September 6, 2016 over Rio fiasco. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE

By JOHN NGIRACHU

The International Olympics Committee has offered to mediate between the government and the National Olympics Committee of Kenya to end the dispute that arose after the Olympics in Brazil last month.

Officials of the global body wrote to the National Olympics Committee of Kenya (Nock) from their headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland on September 2, after the disbandment of the local chapter by Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario.

The letter was among documents submitted to the National Assembly’s Labour and Social Welfare Committee, which has began investigating the shambolic manner in which the Kenyan chapter handled the team to Rio de Janeiro.

“If necessary, and if this could facilitate mutual understanding, please note that we would be ready to organise a joint meeting with your National Olympics Committee and the relevant government authorities at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne,” IOC said in the letter.

The letter was signed by IOC deputy director general Pere Miro and Lassana Palenfro, the president of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA).

SUSPECTED CRIMES

It came after the disbandment of the local chapter by Mr Wario and the arrest of its officials by the police as it investigates them for suspected crimes connected to the handling of the Kenyan Olympics team.

“We also encourage the government authorities and your NOC to engage in a serene and constructive dialogue, with mutual respect, to clarify any misunderstanding which might have led to the regrettable situation, and establish fruitful cooperation for the future, which is no doubt necessary for the development of sport and the athletes in your country,” IOC said.

The officials expressed hope that the situation in Kenya would be rectified failure to which the IOC would be forced to consider what it calls “protective measures” as provided in the Olympics Charter.

This would be suspension or withdrawal of recognition, which would translate into a ban on Kenya from participating in activities organised by the global Olympics body.

The charter provides that: “The IOC Executive Board shall offer such NOC an opportunity to be heard before any such decision is taken.”

Mr Wario, the Sports CS, described the letter as “friendly and encouraging” and said he had also written to the IOC to explain the actions taken on the Nock officials, some of whom are under investigation by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

“It is our wish that a meeting with IOC will happen in a few days or next week,” said Mr Wario when he met the Labour and Social Welfare Committee on Tuesday.

Some members of the committee had a contrary view.

INTERFERE WITH NOCK

Samuel Gichigi (Kipipiri, APK) argued that from his reading of the Olympic Charter, Kenya is likely to be banned from future games if the government continues to interfere with Nock.

He also criticised Mr Wario, who had referred to various laws as he stated that the Nock is not above Kenyan laws by virtue of its being an independent body.

“If you hear someone quoting 100 laws, he has no backing in law. We agree there is a mess in Nock. Don’t make it worse,” said Mr Gichigi.

Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay Woman Rep, ODM) said Mr Wario’s action “obviously constitute undue interference in Nock and the letter urges a reversal of the current situation.”

Mr Wario said he would seek to realign the constitution of Nock with the Sports Act and make the institution more effective and inclusive. Among the criticisms levelled against Nock has been that members of the smaller sports federations have taken control and edged out the rest.

The minister expressed confidence that as happened with football and the enactment of the Anti-Doping Act, he would successfully convince the global body that its local affiliate needs the interference from the government to right the situation.

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proudly_kenyan
Kenya

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