Sports / In-Depth
Wednesday, 19 Apr 2017 09:36 EATjmoyi@kenyafreepress.com
On 5 May, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) will hold elections to elect new officials after passing of the amended constitution on 28 March. The new constitution adopted changes recommended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the main thrust of which is the removal of voting powers from the NOCK executive. Even the NOCK President was stripped of the power to break a tie in voting, and instead there will be a run-off.
The previous Electoral College had 33 votes: 21 from the federations, 12 from the executive and one IOC member. This meant that the executive would count on their 12 plus another 12 more of the federations they represented, making up an unbeatable total of 24. That is how they managed to keep winning elections by banding together, voting as a bloc, in perpetuity, so they had assumed. But as it is said " the days....are numbered!"
These changes have been instituted after the fiasco of the 2016 Rio Olympics. After every major international sporting event "managed" by NOCK there are always calls for investigations as the scandals of NOCK are legion. This time, however, the mismanagement - financial impropriety, ticket losses, kit theft and misallocation, joy riders etc - was too much even for Kenya, a country perpetually mired in corruption and negative politics.
The unprecedented public outcry is because these Olympic athletes are Kenya's best ambassadors. Moreover, when they win for a while Kenyans become patriotic, get out of the ethnic shells, solidly cheer for Team Kenya and momentarily forget their petty problems.
It was, therefore, heart-warming to see Paul Kibii Tergat announce that he will be gunning for the Presidency of NOCK in the forthcoming elections. Tergat has impeccable qualifications. He is one of the world's greatest long-distance runners with a number of Olympic medals to his name. Add five straight IAAF World Cross Country titles (1995-1999) and finally, having held world records at 10,000metres, half marathon and full marathon - we start to get the greatness of the man.
Off athletics, this Baringo-born superstar has been a UN World Food Programme (WFP) Ambassador against hunger. In September 2013 at the 125th IOC session in Buenos Aires, he became an IOC member. He runs a sports marketing and public relations company known as Fine Touch Communications. The company runs the highly successful Sportsman of the Year Awards (popularly called SOYA Awards) that reward outstanding sportspeople in all sports disciplines.
As Tergat put it so well, his vast experience both on the track and administration speaks for itself, which makes him the right person to take charge of NOCK. Unfortunately, the incumbent NOCK President, the legendary Kipchoge Keino and his entire team, are insisting on seeking re-election! A committee that has most of its senoir officials - 1st and 2nd Vice-Chairmen, Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and Treasurer - facing criminal charges has no business leading any association, let alone such an important one with vital international links.
For Keino, despite his great achievements on the track its a sad way to go, presiding over such scandals year after year and still being held hostage by these shameless swindlers and incompetents. I sincerely hope that wise counsel can prevail on him and he will be saved the ignominy of being humiliated at the polls.
For Tergat, I hope that Kip's case is a lesson that he will take to heart even before he starts off. Firstly, by re-looking at his team - is each one of these people someone I can rely upon to do the correct thing, what is each one's track record like - warts and all, interrogate the grey areas. What have their federations achieved under their watch?
To make matters worse, it is becoming plainly obvious that these venal characters have so blinded Kip that he is willing to back them to the hilt and even looking forward to being re-elected to continue with their despicable shenanigans. And also what does it say about the great Kip's culpability?
Therefore, in conclusion, dear Tergat, beware, sports administration in Kenya is riddled with venal characters. Beware, I would not wish to see you leave on the crest of a monumental scandal.
All the best and the Almighty's blessings be upon you.
John is an editorial quality advisor at the Kenya Free Press.