Concerns ah**d of CK polls

Thursday, February 24th, 2022 03:01 | By
Former Swamibapa and Kenya international Tariq Iqbal who featured in the 1996 World Cup match win over West Indies, bats during their 20th anniversary celebrations at the Gymkhana grounds in 2016. Iqbal will be seeking the chairman’s position at the polls. PD/ ALEX NJUE

Murmurs are renting the air with barely 72 hours to the Cricket Kenya (CK) Elections slated for Saturday at Kasarani Stadium even as the federation’s Independent Election Panel released names of nine contestants to vie for four slots.

Preparations are underway for what is expected to be a historic exercise after almost two years of push and pull. The Cricket Kenya Normalization Committee had last September published rules after adoption of a new Constitution.

However, voices of discontent are already clear with some contestants already complaining of lack of transparency and credibility in the exercise. The main bone of contention thus far is the introduction of 24 new Counties who will have voting rights and they are perceived not be having any form of cricket played at the grassroot level. So of the Counties in question and perceived as brief case associations include Kwale, Vihiga, Bungoma, Homabay, Isiolo, Garissa and Kilifi just to name a few.

Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru where almost 98 per cent of the country’s cricket is played, will not be taking part in the polls after not being registered by the Sports Registrar.

The contestants expected to jostle for the top seat will include; Manoj Patel, Tariq Iqbal and Chidamabaran Swaramanian who are eying the chairmanship position.

Manoj a wealthy businessman in Mombasa, once played for Coast Pekee, while Iqbal who represented Swamibapa both as a player and Team Manager, can famously be remembered for leading an onslaught against West Indies during the 1996 World Cup while playing as wicket keeper, in a match that Kenya surprised the form books to stun the giants.

Chidam as he is commonly known in the cricket circles, is a former CK treasurer and the owner of Stray Lions club.

Ex-International Thomas Odoyo and former sports administrator Maina Karama are angling for the Vice-Chairman’s post while Peter D’Costa and Kalpesh Solanki will fight it out for the Treasurer post. Pearlyne Omamo and Kennedy Obuya are unopposed as they seek the post of Director-Women’s Cricket and County Association’s representative.

Odoyo an all rounder during his days as a player, will be seeking his first elective position in local cricket history and is concerned about the exercise meeting standards as required by Law.

“As of now with only two days to elections, there is no voter register yet, which is unheard of at other polls. We have 24 new counties and we do not know as at now, how many will be affiliated by the time of the elections and there are also concerns wether any cricket activities will be going on in such places because we all know that there was no cricket those areas,” Odoyo said.

He added: “I cannot for example start soliciting for votes or talking to delegates because I do not know them, two days to the polls. Everything seems too rushed and this must actually affect credibility. We might end up going back to where we were before. Cricket is a small community and therefore it is important that we need an office that has the backing of the cricket fraternity.”

Omamo on her part has warned that if the underlying concerns being brought out by various stakeholders of good governance are not addressed, then there could be a serious challenge.

“Most of the stakeholders of the game do not seem entirely happy with the exercise and that some names are missing.With Nairobi and Mombasa that are the heartbeat of cricket in Kenya missing means that perhaps inclusivity is lacking.However I believe there is still an opportunity for the Elections a panel to engage further so that credibility concerns are addressed,” she said.

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