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Restore order in Handball-Dispute tribunal told

Kenya Handball Federation’s (KHF) western branch secretary general Shisoka Akaka has petitioned the Sports Disputes Tribunal to help restore order in the sport.

In his case that was heard on Tuesday, he has accused the current executive committee of mismanaging the sport. Akaka said the tribunal stands a good chance of ensuring things are done in the right way at KHF.

In a nutshell, his case highlights key constitutional flaws that the federation has been abetting. He pointed out there has been no full council meetings held since the last elections in 2013 and the federation has never produced audited financial accounts as required.

“They do not hold meetings and that means stakeholders are not consulted and involved in running of the sport. It begs whether this federation is for the executive committee or stakeholders,” Akaka submitted.

“It is not yet clear whether the federation has been registered as per the Sports Act. I hope that through this tribunal, KHF can be compelled to do things in the right way. For the sake of stakeholders’ interests, I pray that the tribunal brings sanity back to the sport.”

Akaka wants the executive committee disbanded and a caretaker committee established to oversee next year’s elections. Further, he wants an interim team put in place to take charge of the process to enact a new constitution for the federation.

Nderitu Gikaria, the KHF secretary general who was present came to the federation’s defense. He painted the picture of a disgruntled individual out to seek revenge. He alleged Akaka was bitter for having been denied an opportunity to accompany the national team on a foreign mission when he was the vice chairman.

After that, he resigned. Gikaria further questioned why the branch that Akaka represents is not supporting his petition. “I am not saying it is wrong for an individual to come to the tribunal but this is an individual who does not see the need to involve others.”

His line of reasoning was supported by KHF lawyer Edward Rombo. “He has come here as an individual and does not represent any branch or a group of majority. We take it that it’s an individual who is not happy with how things are being done. If they were many, they could have called for a special general meeting.”

In reply, Akaka denied that he is pursuing personal interests. “I resigned as a matter of principle and not from frustrations. Decisions were being made by a few individuals in the executive and in many times, ordinary people on the streets knew what was going on within the federation yet I was not aware. That is why I quit,” he noted.

“I came to this tribunal as an individual because I have invested a lot in handball. I am a coach and would want to see my players go far. My branch chairman is the vice chairman in the executive so I would not expect him to come here and support me.”

Rombo said there have been many meetings held by KHF but Gikaria was under pressure to justify that. Most of the documents tabled for meetings from previous years were dated in 2016 an anomaly he could not explain.

It also became clear that even though KHF has an auditor, their accounts that were served to the tribunal are not signed raising questions on their authenticity. Their only visible full council meeting was held last month.

“That is evidence they are doing things in a hurry to cover up loopholes. The meeting came after I filed this case to try and forestall its outcome,” Akaka observed.

On the constitutional review, Gikaria said it was hypocritical for Akaka to say there is nothing in the works yet he is well aware of what has been done and is being done.

“I can prove there are notices for the constitutional process as early as January long before this case came up. The petitioner is aware of that and has attended at least two of those meetings where we have made it clear that we are going to review our constitution.”

Rombo scoffed at a suggestion to have the executive committee disbanded. “It is the role of the Sports Registrar to disband any sports body and no administrative issues have been raised to warrant that,” he said.

“All the issues he has raised before this tribunal could have been handled internally at any of the federation meetings.”

The ruling will be delivered on January 17, 2017.

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