Saturday, January 15, 2011

Confusion Reigns

The Magistrates Court yesterday gave a ruling in which it upheld the Preliminary Objection filed by Robert Asembo, the beleaguered Secretary General of Leopards who is estranged from Julius Ochiel, the beleaguered Chairman of Leopards.

Consequently, the orders granted by the court stopping the elections that had been called by Asembo automatically lapsed.

It is still not clear if the orders by the court mean that Asembo has been confirmed as the Secretary General as that issue has not been canvassed before the court. The curt has only made a ruling on issues of technicalities by indicating that Ochiel was wrong to use the name of AFC Leopards as a Plaintiff instead of using the name of the elected officials and noting that they were suing on behalf of Leopards.

The court also upheld the objection by Asembo that Ochiel should not have filed the case in court when there are other avenues for resolving disputes such as following the constitution of the society.

It is not clear what is the current constitution of Leopards though a version that appears credible is available for download here

There has been confusion created by Asembo and Ochiel on what is the correct constitution with a section of the press quoting Ochiel as stating that after the Special General Meeting in June last year, Asembo filed the wrong version of the Constitution that had been passed by those members who attended the SGM.

Following the ruling, Asembo gave the following press interview:-

The same is also available on this link.

Asembo also placed an advert on page 23 of the Saturday Nation edition of 15th January 2011 calling for an impromptu Annual General Meeting on 16th January 2011.

Rumours are however awash that seeking to upstage Asembo, Ochiel also called an impromptu Meeting on 15th January 2011 and filled the 'vacant' positions of Vice Chair (Mr. Dan Ameyo), Secretary (Ms. Catherine Omanyo) and Organising Secretary (Mr. Kizito Temba).

It appears that the problems of Leopards are far from over.

This may lead to a scenario where two factions will be claiming the leadership of Leopards and the controversy may as well be headed to court once again.

It is not the first time that Leopards has been bedevilled with this kind of shenanigans. As Ingwe fans will remember, in 2002 there were similar scenarios when Jack Makhanu was suspended as Secretary though he called for elections. There were conflicting dates given for elections and for some time, this led to further deterioration of the Leopards stranglehold on the Premier League. Makhanu was replaced by Steven Mutoro in an acting capacity, which is the same thing that has happened now with Asembo supposedly replaced by Omanyo.

There is a saying that those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat the same mistakes.

In their eagerness to change officials by ejecting Alex Ole Magelo and replacing him with Julius Ochiel and thereafter probably replacing Ochiel with another Chair, Leopards fans end up just having a change of musical chairs.

It is not rocket science that all these officials are merely interested in posts for posts sake without setting in place a sustainable structure that they can bequeath the fans who crave for some semblance of order.

Each Leopards office has had some positives and negatives though some offices have had negatives outweighing positives. Fans should heed the comments of CECAFA Secretary General Nicholas Musonye who observed that

"While other clubs are recruiting and preparing for the new season, AFC Leopards’ officials are busy fighting in court over something I can describe as a carcass because the club neither has structures, facilities, money nor even players. They should instead put their efforts together and ensure that they perform well this season."

The key word here is structures (not carcass)!

Why for instance do both sets of officials have to call for elections that are not all inclusive but which will most probably be attended by their supporters only? If Leopards was a civilised club like Real Madrid, the election system will be very open. According to the election rules of Madrid, which can be accessed here, the process is supervised by an Electoral Commission appointed from the fans.

"The Electoral Board is in charge of preparing and developing the President's and the Board of Directors' electoral processes." (Article 56 of the Real Madrid Statutes).

The Electoral Board must determine the start of the period in which candidacies may be presented and the dates in which voting may take place, all in accordance with the Statutes.

The last General Assembly determined the Electoral Board should be presided by D. Jose Maria Paz CasaƱe (Member no.84); that its Secretary should be D. Juan Raul Castellanos Tarrago (Member no.76,241); and that other Members should be D. Luis Alejandro Huerta Calvo (Member no.61,620), D. Guillermo Marcos Guerrero (Member no.69,485) and D. Lorenzo Alvarez Martin (Member no.73,135).

Substitute members of the Electoral Board are: D. Eugenio Teodoro Garcia Salvador (Member no.28), D. Alfredo Revuelta de la Puente (Member no.10,526), D. Angel Labrador Sanchez-Brunete (Member no.26,978), D. Mario Cifuentes Jimenez (Member no.30,264) and D. Florencio Vicente Martin (Member no.46,347).

The club even has a transition clause:-

"The President and his Board will continue in office until the new President takes up his new office." (Article 39)

The club also requires those aspiring to be officials to have some certain qualifications:-

Section B of Article 40 states the requirements candidates must meet.

“1.- Must be Spanish.
2.- Must be of legal age and able to work.
3.- Must be aware of the need to meet his or her social duties.
4.- Must be a club Member of ten or more uninterrupted years in order to become President, and five uninterrupted years to become a Member of the Board of Directors.
5.- Must not be subject to sanctions that may prevent him or her from taking on managerial duties.
6.- Must not have managerial duties at other football clubs, or be an active player, referee, coach or member of a technical staff of a football club upon presenting his or her candidacy.
7.- Must provide a bank guarantee that meets the terms and conditions established by the 10/1990 Law and other applicable dispositions."

Even more importantly, the club requires an official to deposit a bank guarantee to lock out busy bodies:-

According to the Statutes, Candidacies must present a bank guarantee, the sum of which has been established at 57,389,000€ (15% of the 2008/09 budget).

I particularly liked the clause about someone vying for the top position being a member of the club for at least ten years. This avoids the idea of parachuted Chairmen like Ochiel.

Of course, looking at the constitution of Leopards whose link has been posted above, it is clear that the drafters of the constitution did not consult widely before the constitution was written and then passed.

For instance, the constitution includes a logo that was brought into office by the Ochiel group whilst there was never any consensus amongst the fans on which logo they wished to adopt.

It is laughable that the constitution refers to the club as Abaluhya Football Club Leopards Sports Club when it is common knowledge that this is not the name of the club following the change of name that took place on 16th November 1980 or thereabouts.

Issues of membership are also dealt with very casually. There are monthly subscriptions of Standard Membership which begs the question: What happens if one stops making monthly contributions? Why does the club need to have different categories of membership? Aren't all Leopards fans equal? Why don't those who wish to pay a higher sum get the opportunity to do so without it being tied to some form of higher VIP status in the club? What happens to those Life Members of the club who paid Kshs. 1,000 in the 1980s?

There are other concerns that I am sure Leopards fans will be ale to raise with time.

In the meantime, it is quite laughable that the motto of Leopards is stated as OBULALA NA MAANI (Unity is Strength) when disunity and confusion reigns in the club.

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