Guest post by Mmbala Shikuunzi
Before I started getting involved closely in knowing the on goings in AFC Leopards team, I used to attend matches just like many other supporters who throng our stadia and go home and never mind what happens thereafter on day to day back office issues apart from hearing them in media.
For the past four years that I have been close to getting involved on AFC Leopards affairs, I must admit that they have been frustrating than encouraging.
Whenever we have spend long hours and days working and coming up with good ideas and structures, we have ended up nowhere if not fists fights. Even issues that are broadly accepted for the benefit of our club for long-term have ended up being scuttled by a few selfish individuals.
There are four major issues which I have managed to identify around AFC Leopards that seem to be stumbling blocks in the management of AFC Leopards.
First, we have “the brokers”. The most visibly seen in town and the more familiar faces you would see on television either causing chaos or surrounding certain candidates. This group operates in different manners. They are always stationed in town and visiting confidently people in offices especially if you have money. They will prod any moneyed man who is interested in Ingwe leadership with all manner of incentives. This group identifies people who are interested in politics and know well that a stepping stone to politics in Ingwe. They thrive mostly on peddling gossip. Immediately they get someone’s acceptance, they start supporting him and forget the other candidates if they have run out of handouts. You can only keep this group if you dish out handouts endlessly and they would not mind the on goings in the club. This is the group that is always ready for hire either for your support or propelling negative propaganda on your opponent.
Second, we have the entrepreneurs who are supporting certain candidates with the investment that they will make business either from the Ingwe merchandise, Ingwe gate collections which by any accounting standards is not properly accounted for or any other economic opportunity that arises from Ingwe organized events. This is the most lethal and shrewd of all the groups for they invest money and support knowing that the gains and stakes are high. They operate behind the scenes and sometimes collaborate with “the brokers”. If collaboration is hatched between these two groups, Ingwe issues become drama that fiction.
Thirdly, are the outsiders who come to Ingwe from virtually nowhere and put claim to Ingwe leadership. They have not been in the club for the last one or more years and cause a lot of friction dismantling the existing leadership. They conduct parallel elections where they are purportedly installed as AFC Leopards officials rush to the registrar or the courts of law for recognition.
And fourthly is the office of registrar of societies which from my point of view to have an “external interference” on issues related to Ingwe. Last year, there were conflicting letters from the registrar of societies accepting different factions as bona fide officials. As a government body, they should spare us this agony by being unprejudiced.
Even though Ingwe has a constitution albeit an old one, it does not run on the basis of that constitution. That is why Ingwe needs a new constitution with proper structures for transparency and accountability. This constitution must empower fans and give them authority over their club. The empowerment of fans from over the country through recognized branches and represented at the top decision making organ will ensure that matters pertaining to Ingwe are all inclusive and does not create avenues for “outsiders”.
The point of having election every year is old-fashioned and the fuel that keeps burning wrangles at AFC Leopards. We must set a longer period for elections to give the new officials room to run our club and be able to gauge their performance. Officials cannot be elected in December and start campaigning again in January or a few months after that.
The other issue that has come up is whether AFC Leopards should be left as a society or be incorporated as a company with limited shares. Many have argued that being a community club, AFC Leopards should be left as a society while others have advocated for incorporation as a limited company so that those with shares are the only people concerned with the management. These are issues that will need to be addressed extensively by the fans themselves and take an option that will see our club end these wrangles that are threatening the very existence of AFC Leopards.
Let all Ingwe supporters be mindful that the fall of Ingwe will be hard to reconstruct. Let us all seize this moment by putting aside our differences and come together to save our club. We cannot cheer our own downfall or sit at a distance and expect events to correct themselves. We know where the problem and the solutions. Then why are we not acting? Why can we mobilize ourselves to the exclusion of the so called “leaders” and change things? What are we lacking that we have to wait for these same old people who have their own interests to mismanage the affairs of Ingwe to always be leading us and most of the time to nowhere?
Am sure if it weren’t for the strong belief and support the Ingwe club receives from the thousands of fans who are willing to sacrifice their time and money despite the on goings, AFC Leopards would be dead and forgotten. Let set our club from this cycle of captivity.
Our team is currently doing well in KPL. We need to give it the support that it requires. We want to celebrate on the streets of Nairobi and other towns with the pride that comes from every win. We want at the end of this season to carry the KPL Cup in our own hands and sing and praise our club. Constant wrangles should not get to our players and affect their confidence.
*This post first appeared on the AFC Leopards Facebook Branch Wall.