Capital FM (Nairobi)

29 January 2013

Kenya: 'What's Cooking' As Ak Defer Polls Again?

Nairobi — Athletics Kenya (AK) have once more postponed their elections to March 19 due to 'challenges that have forced us to change the date again' inviting speculation that the process is being compromised.

Speaking at a press briefing at their Riadha House headquarters on Tuesday, federation boss Isaiah Kiplagat said honouring the February 27 date had become untenable.

"The elections from the ground will start on February 20. Our constitution will be ready this weekend. We want everybody to read, understand the constitution and for it to be distributed widely so that nobody says we did not understand the contents of our constitution.

"We also have to appoint returning officers. These elections are different from previous elections since all people holding offices now (apart from the national executive) will not be entitled to a vote at the levels they will be participating," the chairman explained.

"We do not want anybody to have an advantage over the others. We want to have new officials at the district, county and regional levels. We have to brief all our returning officers over our new constitution and we have not briefed them yet," he added.

Kiplagat stressed the third deferment of the exercise that was initially pegged for December last year, then February and now March 19 would not cause apprehension among the almost 2000 members who have registered with the federation who will be entitled to vote that the process was being compromised.

"All of them are aware and they know that we do not want to give them a raw deal. We want them to understand everything. The only thing is that we must beat the deadline of holding our election by the end of March, that is what our constitution says," the chair charged.

Over the weekend, Kiplagat and top national executive officials were in Eldoret during the Discovery Kenya Cross Country Championships where they launched their re-election bid albeit subtly, without formally declaring their interests to run for their offices.

The first eyebrows over the process were raised when Kiplagat announced a fortnight ago that only members of his executive would have the right to vote in new office bearers with the same privilege stripped off other officials at sub branch, branch and institutional level.

"I will not participate in administration in athletics in this country as long as Kiplagat and his team are in office. I told my fellow athletes that they are only there to serve their interest and some of their most vocal critics are now compromised.

"Even this process is just another way to keep them in office and they are making it harder for anyone else to get to administration. That is why I decided to stay away from athletics for the last five years," three-time World steeplechase champion, Moses Kiptanui, who tried to dislodge the 'Big Three', Kiplagat, secretary general, David Okeyo and treasurer Joseph Kinyua told Capital Sport on Monday.

According to the now postponed schedule, elections at constituencies level were penned for February 6, counties on February 13 and regions on February 20.

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