The world swimming and other aquatic sports governing body World Aquatics has totally banned Kenya from taking part in international competitions after Kenya Swimming Federation (KSF) failed to hold elections as earlier scheduled.
The governing body had given the federation up to July 8 to hold an election or risk blacklisting from global events after numerous failures to pick new officials.
KFS has not held elections since 2014, with the current officials wrangling over the structure of the elections among other issues.
Initially, Kenya was under suspension, with Kenyan swimmers allowed to take part in world events as individuals but not flying the country flag. The body has now given a total ban, even cutting funding to local swimming associations.
The polls which were scheduled for last month, failed to take off after the Centre of Corporate Governance failed to provide a returning officer due to what they termed as 'coercion and intimation from various petitioners'.
“This decision was occasioned by the deliberate actions of identifiable members of the swimming fraternity within Kenya who have impeded the work of the Stabilization Committee - particularly the completion of the elective process designed to deliver a new Executive Board for Kenya Aquatics,” a statement by the Kenya Aquatics Stabilization Committee on Monday noted.
Without a rightfully elected team in the federation, Kenyans taking part in aquatic competitions will be led by an Interim Management Committee (IMC) and a Stabilization Committee which was picked by FINA in 2019.
The wrangles facing the sport have been in court, with injections given to stop elections of new officials.
A public notice published in the dailies on Friday 7 July, referring to a case lodged at the High Court of Kenya stopped the elections even after Sports CS Ababu Namwamba picked a 5-member team to help with the polls.
Stakeholders have expressed their disappointment and outrage following the ban.
Maureen Owiti who was running for the presidential post in the federation blamed unknown people for intimidating the returning officer who failed to show up.
She has demanded fast action to address the failed election noting that the swimming community was disheartened by the turn of events.
“We appeal to all higher offices concerned not to lead us to a path where no magic will be performed where others have failed,” she noted.