World Aquatics has issued further sanctions on the Kenya Swimming Federation (KSF), hitting the nation with a complete ban from all of its competitions and events indefinitely.
The KSF was initially suspended on a temporary basis in late 2019 for failing to meet election deadlines, and in May 2022, they were banned by World Aquatics indefinitely after elections still had not taken place.
Under the previous ban, Kenyan athletes were permitted to compete at World Aquatics events under a neutral flag. At the 2023 World Aquatics Championships, four Kenyan swimmers competed as neutrals: Monya Maina, Swaleh Talib, Maria Brunlehner and Emily Muteti.
The new sanction will restrict them from competing in World Aquatics events altogether until a successful election takes place.
“Despite the installation of a Stabilization Committee, the issues within Kenya Aquatics persist,” World Aquatics Executive Director Brent Nowicki said in a statement. “And with this, the Bureau continues to have deep concerns with respect to the ongoing failures within Kenya Aquatics, the continued failure of the Stabilization Committee to hold elections and the historical inability to comply with the rules and decisions of World Aquatics.”
A Stabilization Committee representative claimed that members within the swimming community in Kenya interfered with their process.
“This decision was occasioned by the deliberate actions by 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,” the Stabilization Committee said in a statement. “Consequently, Kenya cannot participate in any of the forthcoming Competitions going forward until the Directive is reversed.”
The Stabilization Committee has now been tasked with finalizing the elective process within 90 days.
According to local outlet Kenyans, the latest scheduled election was stopped after the Centre of Corporate Governance failed to provide a returning officer due to “coercion and intimidation from various petitioners.”
Maureen Owiti, who was running for president of the KSF, told Kenyans the protesters were to blame and demanded quick action to address the failed election.
“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 said.