Government takes charge of Sports dispute resolution

By francis marangu
May 07, 2021
  • Sports Secretary Hassan Wario.(Photo:SNA File)

Dispute resolution tribunals formed by sports federations have been rendered redundant after the government formally unveiled a 7-member Sports Dispute Tribunal on Wednesday.

The tribunal that includes members with experience in sports and legal matters will serve for a term of five years. John Morris Ohaga, an advocate by profession, will chair the team deputized by hockey administrator Elynah Shiveka.

Membership comprises of Robert Asembo from Football Kenya Federation, Jane Njeri Onyango, Gichuru Kiplagat, Mary Nyokabi Kimani and Gilbert Otieno. Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and Principal Secretary Patrick Omutia presided over the inauguration.

Wario said the tribunal’s decisions will be final because its mandate overrides that of any other similar body as documented on the Sports Act 2013.

“This is the tribunal to handle all sports disputes in the country. The rest are there for fun since this is recognized legally.”

However, the cabinet secretary said the actualization of the tribunal does not deny federations the opportunity to institute internal mechanisms of solving disputes.

“What cannot be solved internally and within the existing sports institutions must be brought to the attention of the sports dispute tribunal.”

Judicial Service Commision carried out competitive selection of the tribunal members as stipulated by the Sports Act.

Ohaga cleared the air on the possibility of their decisions being appealed by disgruntled persons.

“Only the high court has the overall oversight over tribunals in the country. They can only intervene once our decisions fail to meet constitutionally guaranteed rights otherwise our decisions will be final.”

Tribunal to handle selection disputes 

The tribunal will handle disputes arising from decisions made by sports federations including appeals against disciplinary decisions and those touching on national teams selection. Wario was optimistic that the tribunal will help restore sanity in the local sporting sector.

“The unveiling of the sports dispute tribunal will help to reduce the number of sports related cases from being handled by the courts,” he said.

“For a long time, members of the sporting fraternity have laid bare their dirty linen in courts creating an impression of a corrupt industry full of favoritism and lack of transparency.”

He assured that the implementation process of the Sports Act is unstoppable.

So far, three key parastatals under the ministry have been established namely Sports Kenya, Kenya Academy of Sports as well as Kenya National Sports Fund.

“The past year has been very busy as we laid down the foundation for implementing the Sports Act. All the necessary structures have been established and only appointments are remaining in a few boards.”

Rose Wasike has been appointed the Sports Registrar and will steer the registration of federations whose deadline elapses in August.

Wario called on Wasike to work diligently since her office has the full mandate to clear the existing mess.

“Federations have pulled back sports in this country big time. Now that we have a registrar in office, we expect her to streamline all the federations with speed.”

Sports dispute tribunal members: John Morris Ohaga (Chairman), Elynah Shiveka (Vice-chairman), Robert Akumu Asembo, Gichuru Kiplagat, Gilbert Otieno, Jane Njeri Onyango, Mary Nyokabi Kimani.