Kenya Risks Sanctions From The International Olympic Committee

"Appropriate actions" are being threatened by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) if the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) suffers further delays in approving its new constitution this week.

The threat was made in a letter sent to the national governing body, co-signed by IOC deputy director general Pere Miró and Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) President Lassana Palenfo.

It implies that the IOC Executive Board may consider sanctioning the country during its meeting in Pyeongchang on March 16 and 17 if appropriate steps do not take place.

This comes after a Special General Meeting last week, at which the new NOCK statutes were expected to be approved, was abruptly adjourned amid political wrangling and disagreements.

Jérôme Poivey, head of institutional relations and governance at the IOC National Olympic Committees (NOCs) Relations Department, and ANOCA Presidential chief of staff Mohamed Azzoug, are each expected to attend the re-arranged meeting scheduled for Tuesday (March 7) to oversee the adoption of the proposed new constitution.

"It is with great concern and disappointment that we have learned of the adjournment of your NOC Extraordinary General Assembly, which was expected to be concluded on February 28, 2017, in accordance with our road-map agreed upon in September 2016, our letters dated December 16, 2016 and February 27, 2017...and our numerous communications and discussions," explained the IOC and ANOCA letter. 

"It is now our understanding that this Extraordinary General Assembly will resume on March 7, 2017. 

"Once again, we request that this meeting proceed and conclude as agreed upon between all parties since the very beginning of this process, and following a long phase of discussion and consultations (since September 2016) within your NOC - and between your NOC and the IOC - which led to a principle agreement on the final draft constitution.

"Once again, we call on you to take responsible and constructive action to conclude this process smoothly on March 7, in accordance with our road map and all our previous agreements. 

"In this spirit, it is expected that you abstain from circulating any further counter-productive communications on the past situation and/or threats of future legal action between yourselves, which do not contribute to pacifying the situation. 

"We must now look for a peaceful and successful meeting on March 7 in an atmosphere of mutual respect, understanding and trust.

"We also wish to inform you that, should this meeting of March 7 fail to proceed as expected, the situation would have to be reported at the next IOC Executive Board meeting for review and appropriate action."

This marks the latest setback in a long running saga ever since Kenyan Sports Minister Hassan Wario disbanded the NOCK in August following a catalogue of problems during that month's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The reform process mediated by the IOC has since experienced numerous delays.

Elections were pushed-back to March after a failure to meet an initial December deadline as longstanding officials close to Keino clashed with a new guard of administrators seeking more sweeping reforms.

But even this deadline now appears impossible as no elections can take place until after the constitution is approved. 

The most contentious change proposed involves stripping the current members of voting powers during elections.

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