IOC open to dialogue, warns Government to keep off NOCK

By evelyn watta
Sep 02, 2016
  • Dr Kipchoge Keino at the IOC session in Rio.

The International Olympics Committee, IOC, is ready to meet the NOC of Kenya and the government to avert an imminent suspension following the disbandment of the country’s affiliate by the Ministry of Sports.

The IOC said it expects the government to urgently ‘take immediate action to rectify the situation and fully respect the jurisdiction’ of NOCK.

“We sincerely hope that the present situation will be rectified without delay, failing which the IOC would unfortunately be forced to consider protective measures vis-à-vis you NOC and the Olympic movement in your country as provided in these circumstances in the Olympic charter,” warned the IOC that has constantly found itself walking a thin line over the thorny issue of government interference, as some of its NOCs are led by presidents and state officials.

Drawing attention to the charter that warns against any act by governmentthat could hamper the activities of Olympic committees that leads to suspension or withdrawal of recognition, the IOC advised the Kenyan Government to consider dialogue with the NOCK and in case that fails, a tripartite meeting at its’ headquarters in Lausanne.

“In view of the above and as a first step, we urge the government authorities of Kenya to take immediate action to rectify the situation and fully respect the jurisdiction of your NOC, as recognised by the IOC, in order for your NOC to resume its work and activities with full access to its properties,” the IOC wrote in a letter addressed to Kipchoge Keino, the head of the NOCK from the Pere Miro, the IOC’s Deputy Director General and NOC Relations Director.

“We also encourage the government authorities and your NOC to engage in a serene and constructive dialogue, with mutual respect, to clarify any misunderstanding which might have led to this regrettable situation, and establish fruitful cooperation for the future, which is no doubt necessary for the development of sport and the athletes in your country.

“If necessary, we would be ready to organise a joint meeting with your NOC and the relevant government authorities at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne.”

IOC concerned with arrests of NOC officials

Cabinet Secretary for Sports Dr Hassan Wario had indicated he would name a team that would visit the IOC headqauters to explain the government’s decision to disband the NOCK on August 24.

Kipchoge is the only senior member of central organ of the NOCK who were in Rio who has not been charged in court.

Kipchoge was questioned by Criminal Investigators while four others members of the NOC Fridah Shiroya, the treasurer, Pius Ochieng, a vice president who was responsible for the disbursement of the controversial Nike kitting and Francis Paul, the secretary general, were detained by police and charged in court over various accounts, ranging from abuse of office and mismanagement.

The head of delegation at Rio 2016 Stephen Arap Soi, who is also the assistant treasurer, is yet to appear in court as he has been admitted at the Nairobi Hospital due to ill-health.

The police also raided the offices of the NOC on Mombasa road and seized Nike kits and hard disks. Police also barred the NOC executive committee members from accessing the office. A turn of events that has also displeased the Switzerland based Olympic body.

“We understand that specific investigations are being conducted on a number of officers and members of your NOC. At this stage, it must be recalled that the presumption of innocence must prevail, as always in these circumstances and in accordance with the principles of natural justice,” the IOC disputed.

Wario, rebuffed calls to reverse the ban insisting that he was out to address perennial problems that have bedevilled Kenyan sports and mandated Sports Kenya to take over the activities of the NOC awaiting the findings by an selected probe committee.

Kenya’s Rio 2016 outing was rocked by several concerns over accreditation for the team officials, inadequate kitting for its athletes and even sub standard accomodation after the Olympic village closure.