What you need to know:
- Namwamba said that the General Assembly should be held under the auspices of the World Aquatics Stabilisation Committee
- World Aquatics disbanded KSF on June 28, 2022 and formed a three-man Stabilisation Committee chaired by Jace Naidoo from South Africa to run swimming activities and prepare for fresh elections
- The ban means that Kenyan swimmers who were free to compete under neutral citizenship after Kenya was suspended in 2021, will not compete at all
As the Cabinet Secretary for Sport Ababu Namwamba directed Kenya Swimming Federation (KSF) to urgently hold a General Assembly to jumpstart the stalled electoral process after World Aquatics ban, the impasse seems to be far from over.
Namwamba said that the General Assembly should be held under the auspices of the World Aquatics Stabilisation Committee.
“I want all the concerns addressed in the meeting. If it is the registration of clubs, let it be done, vetted and a common ground reached by all,” said Namwamba.
Namwamba was speaking during the consultative meeting between the World Aquatics Stabilisation Committee and stakeholders at the Moi International Sports Centre (MISC) on Sunday afternoon.
Even as Namwamba issued the directive, the elephant in the house was, however, the court case that halted KSF elections on July 7 this year.
World Aquatics disbanded KSF on June 28, 2022 and formed a three-man Stabilisation Committee chaired by Jace Naidoo from South Africa to run swimming activities and prepare for fresh elections.
Naidoo’s committee then set July 7 this year as the date for elections but the process failed to happen after an injunction was filed until a case at the High Court dating back to March 19, 2021 is heard and determined.
Then World Aquatics moved to ban the country from all its activities after the country failed to hold elections.
The ban means that Kenyan swimmers who were free to compete under neutral citizenship after Kenya was suspended in 2021, will not compete at all.
World Aquatics Bureau Executive Director Brent Nowicki directed the committee to resume and finalise the electoral process and conduct elections within 90 days.
A court case that was instituted by swimming stakeholders Margaret Ndung’u Mwasha and Conrad Dermot Biltcliffe Thorpe at the High Court on March 19, 2021, challenged KSF, Sports Kenya, Sports Registrar and Attorney General for violating the constitution.
The petitioners wanted clarity on the voting process whether the universal suffrage, where athletes should participate or the delegates system would be used.
As it appeared, neither the court case petitioners nor World Aquatics were ready to cede the ground with the government also keen to uphold the Sports Act.
Namwamba said that he will make revision of the current Sports Act that is almost 12 years old, his top priority so as to give it a fresh policy framework.
Namwamba said he has held meetings with the court case petitioners adding that they should be able to resolve the issues at the General Assembly if their case is in good faith and genuine.
“There is nothing here beyond resolution if their action is in good faith. At the end of it, we want to respect law and the will of members,” said Namwamba.
“Swimming is here because of some clause in the Sports Act and that is why it has to be revised to align with the current times,” said Namwamba.
Namwamba said the swimming federation has been embroiled in wrangles for seven years, a tragedy that has stunted the development of the sport in the county.
“Its unacceptable that people have engaged in games even at the courts for so long. 90 days is a lifetime that we should be able to settle all these,” said Namwamba.
One of the court case petitioners Margaret Ndung’u Mwasha said that their meeting with Namwamba was fruitful and that they can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“The issue here is governance. We governors who are the officials and those governed, who are the swimmers. Swimmers must have a say not only in elections but the running of the sport," said Mwasha.
However, Naidoo said the elections must be held under World Aquatic Statutes, adding that he hopes the process will be completed by the end of October.
“Delegates system is what has been used by their affiliates across the world. If we are to have the universality process then countries like the United States will dominate,” said Naidoo.
Nairobi Swimming Federation chairman Teddy Wamuyu said nothing will be resolved so long as the court case is there.
"The universal suffrage, which the litigants who stopped the election want, is unacceptable otherwise we can hold the elections even tomorrow," said Wamuyu.