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Twaha Mbarak: Mwendwa wants to hold Kenyan football at ransom

By Cecil Odongo February 9th, 2024 2 min read

Calls for Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa not to vie for another term continue to gather momentum with seasoned administrator Twaha Mbarak the latest to join the swollen queue.

In an exclusive interview with Nairobi News, Mbarak, who’s expressed interest in vying for the FKF presidency, also brushed aside threats that Fifa will suspend Kenya from all football activities if Mwendwa and his deputy Doris Petra are not allowed to contest in the polls slated for 2024.

“It’s disturbing that FKF officials stop at nothing to take Kenya down that collision path with Fifa,” said Mbarak, who doubles up as the vice-chairman of FKF Premier League side Bandari.

“All this because their term of office ends in July 2024 and they are not ready to play by the rules. Everyone should carry his or her cross.”

Twaha who’s previously served as vice-president of the defunct Kenya Football Federation (KFF) was adamant that Mwendwa and his cronies who have served for eight years at the federation should not be allowed to vie.

“Mwendwa plans to hold the country at ransom. He has not done much to uplift the standards of football in the country but he wants to continue serving with no clear plan and agenda. We will not allow that.”

The Mombasa based official further clarified that Mwendwa and his group can still vie ‘for other positions’ in the 2024 polls, but not the ones they have held for the past eight years.

“Nobody has barred Mwendwa and Petra from contesting for different positions within FKF. What they cannot do is go for the same positions they have occupied for two terms. The preamble of our FKF clearly submits to the Constitution of Kenya 2010.”

Twaha’s comments come days after Sports Registrar Rose Wasike cautioned Mwendwa, Petra, and three other football officials against contesting in the polls.

The other officials are National Executive Committee (NEC) members Muriithi Nabea, (Eastern) Joseph Andere (Nyanza), and Enos Kweya (Western).

Ms Wasike argued that the four officials’ term of office had expired as per the Kenyan law, in this case, the Sports Act because FKF was provisionally registered in 2016 when Mwendwa and his group were first elected into office.

Ms Wasike, who has had several spats with Mwendwa since 202, maintains the officials have served and completed their two four-year terms in office and thus, their roles should include ‘the implementation of a smooth transition for the newly elected officials.’

But in a separate rebuttal, Petra has castigated Ms Wasike while maintaining that she would vie in the forthcoming polls.

She said: “We assumed office in 2016 and the laws in that election were crafted during the tenure of (our predecessor) Sam Nyamweya. In 2017, we had an Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Mombasa and changed the constitution. These rules were used for the first time in the 2020 polls.”

“We won and served our first term from 2020 to 2023 because that is when the new constitution came to effect. We are seeking re-election because our serving under the old constitution from 2016 to 2020 can’t be counted. That is the law.”

The experienced football administration questioned why the FKF Constitution amended in 2017 was not taken to the Sports Registrar if those who engineered the changes were sincere and believed in its credibility.

“Simply put, changing the FKF Constitution to provide for three is courting controversy with the Kenyan Government when they know such a change is unconstitutional from the word go. It explains why they did not submit the changed constitution to the office of the Sports Registrar for registration,’’ said Twaha.