On March 10, Athletics Illustrated reported that the Kenyan High Court ruled that the Executive Committee of Athletics Kenya were to vacate their positions. The presiding judge told them they must “hold elections within the next 90 days.”

“The officials and Executive Committee of the first respondent (Athletics Kenya) who have been in office for a cumulative period of 8 years… have served their terms in full and must forthwith vacate office,” read part of the judgment as published by SportsBoom.com.

However, just one day later the High Court granted them a stay order. This stay may turn out to be crucial in the final run-up to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. It may also not be the final twist to this story.

The twist

The National Executive Committee officials of Athletics Kenya (AK), relax after the High Court granted them the stay a day after ordering their vacation from office.

On Thursday, the High Court dropped a bombshell. This is after ordering the Executive Committee of the AK who had served for two consecutive terms, to pack their bags with immediate effect. Justice Lawrence Mugambi also ordered the body to review its constitution. The constitution was ratified in April 2016, after sourcing views from stakeholders, to hold elections within 90 days.

In his ruling, Mugambi further barred the executives from contesting for any position in the body in the fresh elections. This was by virtue of them having served for two terms as stipulated in the Sports Act of 2013.

Organizing the team for the Paris Olympic Games…

The case, however, took an interesting turn on Friday. AK successfully sought the stay challenging the initial decision to ungraciously bundle them out of office. They were told to hold the elections within three months. The High Court granted AK their wish for an injunction. In their minds, it was what was deemed tactful not to scuttle the planning of success in the African and Olympic Games.

AK conducted trials for the African Games on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Nyayo National Stadium. Then handed over the selected athletes to the Kenya National Sports Council (KNSC). KNSC is the body mandated to manage the affairs of the Games.

With the Paris 2024 Olympics around the corner, AK will play a significant role in organizing the trials and selecting athletes who meet the qualifying times.

Ordinarily, AK would have gone to the polls every four years. As per customary protocol, but that hasn’t been the case since 2012 due to a prolonged court case.

The case

The case was filed by two-time Boston Marathon champion Moses Tanui. With nine other petitioners in 2016, AK President Lt. Gen (Retired) Jackson Tuwei, his deputy Paul Mutwii and treasurer David Miano listed as part of the respondents.

Tanui and the rest of the petitioners had sought to bar AK from implementing the constitution adopted and ratified in an Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in 2016 terming the process illegal null, and void.

Last year, Tuwei was elected the World Athletics Vice President during the 54th World Athletics Congress in Budapest, Hungary. He became the first Kenyan to hold the influential position.

The AK supremo also serves as the Confederation of Africa Senior Vice President.

Tuwei took over at AK after former President Isaiah Kiplagat was suspended over graft allegations in 2015. That year witnessed dramatic events at AK after several athletes staged protests at the offices. They were demanding the resignation of certain officials.

The latest development from AK comes hardly a month after Kenyan Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba distinctly reiterated the significance of sporting federations officials strictly adhering to the two-term limit and conducting business legally.

Since his return, Namwamba long since implored federations to align their constitutions to the Sports Act 2013 which was enacted during his first stint as the Minister of Sports.

He has also been vocal about the importance of federations in developing youth programs, upholding ethics, and submitting to the rule of law.

But there has been an athlete protest

Whilst Athletics Kenya’s current executive won a stay of order under the guise of preparing athletes and events in advance of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, there has been protest. In other words, creating order for the planning of major events — no disruptions.

As reported by Athletics Illustrated on March 5, 30 athletes, 16 men and 14 women as well as five officials were expected to go to the Games, but the KNSC reduced the number with one week’s notice.

Mary Moraa led the protest — the KNSC has since acquiesced.

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