18 February 2013

Kenya: AK Postpones Polls Indefinetly to Pave Way for General Elections

The much awaited Athletics Kenya (AK) national elections have been postponed indefinitely.

AK president Isaiah Kiplagat said the move was aimed at paving way for the country's forthcoming general elections before staging their polls.

Speaking during the KCB national cross country-cum-national trials/IAAF permit meeting over the weekend, Kiplagat assured that despite the postponement, everything towards the elections are on course.

"The government think there's no need to have even small elections with the current heat on the general elections," said Kiplagat. "With the elections (general) fast approaching and getting hotter, we don't want anything that can ignite fire."

He said just as the general elections, the AK polls are as hotly contested in some areas and thus the two must be as many weeks apart from each as possible.

The elections were first set for last year before they were pushed to February 27 and again to March 19.

"We don't want anything ugly to happen and be associated with our elections," he added. "We have to leave it that way until this (general election) is over then we can carry on. We are not in a hurry."

Kiplagat also said that they had decided to hold the elections from country level because some of the constituencies did not have enough AK members. " Some of the constituencies have none while others have upto two members and it is not constitution to hold elections in this areas," he said.

He said it is only in Kisii where one constituency has 700 registered members and it is not practical to contact constituency polls in one or two areas.

Kiplagat also cautioned former athletes from linking some senior Kenyan athletes to drugs without supporting their statements with enough evidence.

"There is no need for a Kenyan and especially a former athlete to go round the world, saying Kenyan athletes are taking drugs without evidence," said Kiplagat. "Being an Olympic gold medallist or world champion dies not qualify one to throw around statements to do with drugs without backing evidence."

He also revealed that the government has appointed a committee to look into the issue and it is only after the committee's report that anything can be substantiated.

"In the meantime, we are going to release the names of all the Kenyans who have been banned in the last five years so that everybody will know who (has been banned) and for what substances," said Kiplagat.

The AK boss, admitted that there are a few cases of drug abuse citing an athlete from last year's Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon whose sample tested positive for a banned substance.

" However, this does not imply all Kenyan athletes are using drugs," he noted.He said some managers could be involved in the exercise since five athletes being mentioned adversely are under one manager.

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