Kenya: Chess Kenya Polls Row Taken to Sdt

The delayed Chess Kenya elections is now before the Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT), after three aspirants filed a petition, accusing the current regime of being in office illegally.

Peter Duke Micheka and Judy Kiragu who are vying for the chairman's position want the SDT to bar the incumbent, Bernard Wanjala, John Mukabi (secretary general) and Gilbert Wandera (treasurer) from transacting any business on behalf of the federation, citing expiry of their term. Assistant secretary general aspirant Cheryl Ngima is the other applicant in the matter.

They filed the petition on May 4, and are now waiting for direction from the SDT, which includes the mention and hearing dates.

Chess Kenya elections ought to have held their election on February 14.

"... That previous elections were held on April 2, 2017 where the respondents; 2nd (Wanjala), 3rd (Mukabi) and 4th (Wandera) were elected as chairman, secretary general and treasurer, respectively. It is, therefore, clear that election ought to have been conducted on or before February 14, 2022," the trio told SDT in the petition seen by Nation Sport.

"The delay/failure to conduct the election has been entirely occasioned by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th respondents. The respondents have negligently and unlawfully refused to conduct elections with the sole purpose of staying in office indefinitely to detriment of the members and the democratic process."

In the petition, the applicants have further accused the respondents of running Chess Kenya activities without involving members.

As a result, they have requested the SDT to appoint an interim, independent committee to conduct a democratic election for Chess Kenya, and ensure a smooth transition of power.

"That it is in the interest of justice that an interim committee is established to help steer the 1st respondents to a proper democratic election that will see the right of all members acknowledge and respected," they said.

The respondents, however, have refuted the allegations, stating that the delay in conducting election was occasioned by the Sports Registrar's demand to Chess Kenya to comply with the Sports Act. "We (Chess Kenya) are among the federations that were In January told by the Sports Registrar to comply with the Sports Act. We therefore held a stakeholders meeting and appointed a committee to ensure Chess Kenya align with the Sports Act before he hold the elections. The applicants who have filed the petition attended the meeting and took part in the selection process, so they are aware of what has led to the delay," said Wanjala.

He added the deferment of the elections has also been occasioned by the restriction of movement in the country, owing to Covid-19 pandemic. To comply with the the Sport Act, Chess Kenya must among other things open branches countrywide.

But Wanjala said they have not been successful in opening the branches due to lack of funds.

He said that since they came into office, they have convened all the Annual General Meetings, thus have involved members in running Chess Kenya activities.

The Equity Bank Chess Club captain added that they have published the 2018 and 2019 audited financial statements, which were adopted by members.

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