Sports Disputes Tribunal will on June 21 determine the way forward on the ongoing leadership tussle at Chess Kenya (CK).
The tussle has been boiling up despite the tribunal issuing interim orders on May 3 that reinstated elected officials back to office.
After the initial hearing, the interim officials failed to turn up for subsequent sittings when they withdrew from the case in writing. But, the tribunal summoned the officials to appear on Tuesday to substantiate contents of their withdrawal letter.
They still failed to turn up and the tribunal will now proceed to settle the issue by ruling within two weeks.
“We cannot force a party to be part of the proceedings, but we can force the outcome of the proceedings. We will take this case as one-sided,” Robert Asembo, a member of the tribunal said.
CK elected chairman Githinji Hinga and secretary general Joseph Atwoli appeared on Tuesday where they confirmed continued interference by the respondents.
“They have continued to use the official letterhead and are holding parallel national qualifiers this weekend. As per our calendar, the qualifiers are supposed to take place from June 22-26 so players are confused on which one to take part in,” Hinga informed the tribunal when he sought guidance on the matter.
Tribunal chairman John Ohaga said the interim orders remain in force until June 21 when the matter will be determined. “It is upon you to use the orders and inform your members of the situation.”
In their letter, the respondents cited the Tribunal’s lack of jurisdiction as one of the main reasons for withdrawing. But, Atwoli said section 59(a) of their constitution allows for appeal against decisions of umbrella bodies like Kenya National Sports Council (KNSC).
When the parties convened on May 3, the Tribunal adjourned to allow the respondents time to submit factual information on issues touching on the alleged special general meeting as well as their membership to CK.
KNSC was enjoined in the case since the purported elections were overseen by one of its officials James Akama.
When he appeared before the tribunal, Charles Nyaberi from KNSC disowned the elections. “The meeting that was held at our boardroom was a consultative meeting. That is how we view it and anything else was stage-managed,” he said.
“Nobody was authorized to supervise any elections and if there is anybody who went there masquerading as a representative of the council, it is null and void. I speak with authority because the issue of overseeing elections falls under my docket.”
In his brief submission, Nyaberi revisited the issue of factionalism that the tribunal has previously addressed by stating they will not condone the act. He said internal power struggles similar to those rocking CK are the main cause of splinter groups coming up in local sports bodies.
“We discourage the formation of splinter groups by encouraging our affiliates to follow their constitutions,” he stated.
“We had splinter groups in taekwondo and football which did not end up well. There are trends that whenever we are heading to major international events, coup d'etats are experienced in federations as everybody wants to have a say.”
Consequently, Nyaberi attributed the CK wrangles to the upcoming Olympiad and FIDE elections. “There will be more of such cases that will come up and we ask the tribunal to act firm on that.”