Hassan Wario, the Sports, Arts and Culture Cabinet Secretary has stood by his decision to disband the National Olympic Committee of Kenya following the mismanagement of the team to the just concluded games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
This is despite calls from stakeholders, led by Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei over the repercussions of banning the Olympics body.
“I will stand by my decision to disband NOCk because we have to take action. This is not something that has started today. There is even a parliamentary report from 2012 on the London Games. We have to find a solution now and we have to stick with the decision,” Wario said after a meeting with federation representatives at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Monday evening.
The meeting was convened by Sports Kenya Chairman Fred Muteti and it was thought the federation chiefs would deliberate and persuade the minister to rescind his decision. Instead, Muteti said they had officially taken over the duties of NOCK as instructed by Wario.
“We received a letter from the minister dated August 26 requesting Sports Kenya to act as the legal custodian of the National Olympic Committee and after a meeting this morning, we officially took over the role,” Muteti said.
He also noted they will be taking an inventory on all of NOCK’s assets as well as doing a financial audit on all the accounts held by the national Olympics body.
Earlier in his submissions while telling of the tribulations the team went through in Rio, AK president Tuwei said it would be unwise to ban the whole institution.
“I think we need to look at the decision to ban NOCK as a body and the repercussions it has on us. We need to look at it and see whether it is the right decision. I think we should go for the individuals and not the whole body, because we will attract a ban from the IOC which will gave effects on us,” the retired Army general said.
Special General Meeting avenue?
His sentiments were shared by Elyna Shiveka, the Kenya Hockey Union vice chair who instead advocated for a Special general Meeting for the removal of the four officials who have been arraigned in court.
“We have the ability to call for an SGM as NOCK affiliates and look at the integrity of these people which is questionable. Then, using this, we can get them out of office legally without necessarily getting in trouble with the IOC,” Shiveka offered.
With Wario’s defiance that he will not back down from his earlier decision, Kenya now faces an imminent ban by the IOC. This is even as the cabinet secretary said he will be accompanying a team to the IOC headquarters to present the Kenyan case.
Sports Kenya chair Muteti said federation officials have been given a week to float names of individuals who will accompany the minister to Lausanne, Switzerland where the IOC headquarters are in the next two weeks.
But probably before then, the IOC will already have delivered its verdict on Kenya. According to the Olympic charter, NOCs operate as individual entities and any interference by the government might lead to a ban as it happened to Kuwait during the recently completed games in Rio de Janeiro.
Meanwhile, Wario reconstituted the probe team he named last week to look into the Rio mess saying the decision was informed by integrity issues surrounding some of the members earlier named.
Strathmore University lecturer Paul Ochieng will head the committee assisted by retired Kenyan athlete Rose Tata Muya. Nation Media Group Editor Elias Makori, former Olympic steeplechase Olympic champion Moses Kiptanui, Sports Kenya’s Ibrahim Hussein, High Court advocate Njeri Onyango and a representative from the Attorney General’s office will constitute the team.
They are expected to hand in a report by September 30 on their findings.