Kenya has withdrawn from the forthcoming 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games to be held in July this year in Bahamas.
This is according to a circular by National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) to all qualified federations notifying them of the same.
But NOC-K chairman Kipchoge Keino contradicted his Secretary General F.K Paul who sent the ‘withdrawal’ notice, Tuesday during the Committee’s Special General Meeting (SGM) which ended prematurely after the Executive and the Affiliate federations failed to agree on the agenda of the meeting.
“We have not entirely withdrawn from the games,” said Keino moments before he pulled a rug under the feet of the Federations who are pushing for a change of the constitution which, if passed, may see his reign come to an end mid this year.
“We are still looking for funds from sponsors. If we get the money then will take part, if we don’t it will be unfortunate,” added the under pressure Keino who did not elaborate further on the matter.
NOC-K which was hit by several scandals arising from the Rio Olympics Games including lost kits and embezzlement of public fund was disbanded by Sports Cabinet Secretary for Sports Hassan Wario before the decision was overturned by the court.
Boxing Association of Kenya chairman, John Kameta blamed the back-and-forth games between NOC-K and the federation as the main reason for the country’s withdrawal from the Bahamas games, which he term as a big blow for Kenya.
“The decision for Kenya to withdraw from the games is very unfortunate and a big blow for the youth of this nation who may not get a chance to compete with their peers because of politics and selfish interest,” said the boxing chief.
Keino called off the meeting following a stalemate that rocked the SGM called to ratify the proposed constitution which seeks to take off the voting power from the executive members.
At one point, both sides were engaged in a shouting match with the current office bearers insisting that only a vote can be used to approve the new rules while the affiliates held their grounds, arguing that this is a negotiated document which should not be subjected to a ballot and should be passed without any amendment as recommended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Inside sources who attended the meeting, the executive had proposed voting to adopt the new document, using the old constitution which gives them power to cast vote, a move which was fiercely rejected by the members who argued that if they allow the 11 executive members to vote, then they will have the numbers to block the passage if the proposed constitution.
Of great concern is the new document, a proposal to take the voting powers from the current executive members which most affiliates say gives them a head start in the ballot.
“You cannot go into a race with someone who is already 10 steps ahead of you. We need a level playing ground,” added Kameta.
Kenya Table Tennis Association chairman Andrew Mudibo accused Keino’s faction of going against the letter by IOC which urged them to adopt the document without any amendment, adding that they will seek the guidance of the international mother for direction even as the country stares at a ban.
“You need two thirds to pass the constitution. As things are, the current executive has 11 votes even before anyone cast his or her ballot. Despite all the advantage that they have, we still gave them three slots (chairman, treasurer and secretary) to vote (today) and we were stunned when the chairman rose and called off the meeting after consulting none of us but his people. The meeting is aborted,” added Mudibo after they walked out of the meeting to the waiting press who were locked out of the stormy meeting.
The federations have since threatened to delink from NOC-K if the executive doesn’t back down on their demands in next meeting set for Tuesday next week.