IOC assessing the Kenyan situation after Government bans Olympic committee

By alex wafula
Aug 25, 2021
  • Francis Paul(left), the Secretary General of NOCK and Kipchoge Keino, the Chairman of the NOCK.(Photo:SNA File)

The International Olympics Committee,IOC, is assessing the situation in Kenya following the Government's decision to disband the national Olympic committee.

In a brief statement the IOC said they had 'seen the media reports and are currently gathering information in order to assess the situation.'

The Olympic charter is clear on government interefence which could lead to the suspension of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya, NOCK.

If the Olympic body rule on the suspension, Kenyan athletes and the Federations affiliated to NOCK that receive grants could be affected as the IOC and Olympic Solidarity will withhold all financial assistance that are normally channeled through the NOC.

Hassan Wario, the Sports, Arts and Culture Cabinet Secretary on Thursday disbanded the National Olympic Committee over alleged mismanagement of the team at the just concluded Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Kenyan athletes faced a myriad of problems from kitting, travel connections and most recently, below per accommodation after the Games village closure on Wednesday. Wario, who was questioned by Director of Criminal Investigation Ndegwa Muhoro on Wednesday over the problems in Rio tasked Sports Kenya will take over the duties of NOCK pending passage of a new constitution and elections which are due next year.

“These allegations on NOCK pose an immense threat that will adversely affect the stability and reputation of the Olympic Games in this country and thus detrimental to the interest of this sporting disciple in Kenya,” Wario said in his statement.

The Cabinet Secretary cited the 2013 Sports Act adding he also considered overwhelmed public interest. He also constituted an eight-person board which will probe whatever happened in Rio and are expected to give a report to the ministry by September 30.

But immediately after the announcement, NOCK Secretary General Francis Paul who was in attendance said Wario did not have any authority to disband the national Olympics body.

“I don’t think the CS has powers to disband NOCK. If he does that will be termed as government interference and it means the country will be banned from participating in the Olympics. We are an independent body and the minister does not have jurisdiction to disband us,” FK Paul said after Wario’s statement.

Defiant NOCK insistst ministry is to blame for travel problems

The Sports CS kept journalists waiting for close to an hour and a half, only to come in, issue a statement and did not take any questions, defiantly walking away from the press conference room after reading his speech.

Wario’s actions, comes after President Uhuru Kenyatta said questions must be answered over the happenings in Rio might attract the wrath of the IOC. Kenya might find itself suspended over government interference.

During the recently concluded Olympic Games in Rio, Kuwait were suspended over the same reason and their nine athletes ended up competing as independent athletes, under the Olympics flag.

Ghana, Panama and India have also in the past been suspended for government interference.

There was also some blame game between NOCK and the ministry over who caused the Rio mess.

FK Paul said most of the issues were brought about by the ministry, including ticketing. “It is the government which bought the tickets and chose the route, travelling to Rio via Luanda which brought a lot of problems,” FK Paul said.

The last batch of athletes had to make do with a a below average hotel as they waited for their flight back home on Air Angola. Air Angola,TAAG operates flights twice a week from Rio to Luanda,on Thursday and Sunday.

He defended NOCK saying they carried out their leadership role in Rio well, adding they will be preparing a report which supports the same.

He refuted claims that there were missing kits as well as presence of joyriders in the team, himself having gone with his son.

“I am entitled to one extra person. My son stayed in my hotel room and I paid everything for him,” FK Paul said in his own defense.

The last batch of the Kenyan team is due home on Friday evening.