Saturday, November 12, 2011

Some Gracious Miracle?

It is that season again at our beloved team AFC Leopards  Sports Club when schemes and counter schemes characterize the behind the scenes moves for the control of the club.

Ingwe Fan is usually neutral to such schemes and usually tells it as it is without seeking to push the agenda for anyone. That is what keeps this blog going. The knowledge that each Fan at our team has a say in the workings of the team.

Now for a quick recap.

Earlier in the year, there were chaotic scenes witnessed as the club went through elections and more elections coupled with court actions from left right and centre. The regime of Julius Ochiel was meant to have elections in December 2010 but instead, the then Secretary General, Robert Asembo was suspended and replaced by Catherine Omanyo. Asembo nonetheless went ahead to call elections.

Ochiel went to court to stop the Annual General Meeting and elections called by his suspended Sec Gen. Ochiel got a temporary order that stopped the elections and in January the court gave its ruling in the matter. And the court dismissed the Ochiel case which made Asembo call elections immediately

These elections descended into a farce as both Winstone Kituyi and Alex Ole Magelo claimed victory. Ochiel had stayed out of these elections.

Amanyo then called other elections which were to be attended by Ochiel this time.

Mumias Sugar then came in as the sponsor and asked the parties to sort out the mess and have all inclusive elections. An electoral board chaired by Gordon Oluoch was constituted and in its attempts to hold elections, it failed when the elections were marred by violence and disruption of voting. 

Oluoch sought the views of the Registrar General on who would now lead the club as the Annual General Meeting that had preceded the aborted elections had ‘dissolved’ the Ochiel administration.

The Registrar General initially okayed an interim body to run the club and call for elections but seemed to dither later when confronted by some Football Kenya rules that were seemingly forbidding interim officials to run the club. The club was groping in the dark, to quote the headline of this blog back then!

The plea that the persons who were interested in the positions at the club should be motivated by adoration for club (AFC) was seemingly not heeded that shameful day when violence hit the elections. 

You could read about the moments of confusion here.

In the end, a snap election was held which was attended only by Magelo who won unopposed in rather controversial circumstances.

Some fans allied to the Ochiel group went to court challenging this election and had to wait until October for the ruling to be delivered! The court stated that it was not in the interest of the club to interfere with the current position of the officials. You can read the whole ruling here

Other intricacies had taken place. Josphert Bukachi, the Secretary General to Magelo had been suspended or resigned (it wasn’t clear which!) and some other officials had also stepped aside (being Antony Walela and Geoffrey Mulanya). In fact, in some twist of irony, by the time the ruling above was being delivered, Mulanya’s law firm was acting for the Club defending the regime of Magelo in the case though he himself had before the ruling seemingly differed with Magelo!

With the case having gone in Magelo’s favour, he moved to consolidate control with the confidence of the court’s approval of his regime by moving to amend the constitution.

The process started was accelerated and a Special General Meeting was called for 13th November 2011 whose sole agenda was to move the motions for the adoption of the new constitution.

But just like last year, the suspended Secretary General rushed to issue a notice for an Annual General Meeting that was set for 27th November 2011. 

The Registrar was at sixes and sevens having approved this notice for the AGM only to retract it the following day when confronted with reports of the suspension. 

It seems that the Leopards never changes its spots or learns for the mistakes of previous years!

In late 2009, a similar incident had occurred with the suspended Secretary General Micah Luvutse calling an Annual General Meeting that ushered in Ochiel to the chagrin of the person who thought he was the acting Secretary General at that time Richard Ekhalie.
So here we are folks, going through a third successive year with an ‘Acting Secretary General’ at the club.

A summary of some of the key provisions that are being introduced in our club is as follows:-

    Membership categories will be changed from ordinary and life to ordinary and super.
    Membership fees will be increased to Kshs. 1,200 per year for ordinary members and Kshs. 12,000 for super members.
    Members seeking elective posts will have to pay application fees to the club with those seeking Chairmanship paying half a million shillings, Secretary General and Treasurer paying two hundred thousand shillings amongst others.
    Creation of the post of Chief Executive Officer
    Explicitly creates branch network
    Explicitly creates an Electoral Board made up of nominees from the top 5 branches

From the above, one would have thought that with these recurring problems, the club would have looked at the root cause of why we are always having a Secretary General who clashes with the Chairman. Instead, this doesn’t seem to have been quite addressed in the proposed constitution. It would have made sense if the proposed Constitution had set out to make Leopards a really stable club that doesn’t have conflicts within its Executive Committee.

One suggestion that Ingwe Fan has come across, is the one that has been adopted by the ruling soccer body in the country, Football Kenya federation who decided to do away with the position of the Secretary General in its National Executive Committee. This has left just the Chairman, the Vice Chair and eight Executive Committee members.

Perhaps Leopards should also have gone that way to have a Chairman, a Vice Chairman and eight Executive Committee members together with a Chief Executive Officer so that the Executive Committee is composed on eleven members. That would eliminate the conflicts between a Secretary General and the Chairman or the CEO.

One would have wished that a legal representative of the club would have spearheaded the process, but perhaps in order to save on funds, the club deemed it otherwise and let the consultant and ‘branches’ as loosely defined currently to come up with the document.

Having said that, it has been argued before that the current constitution was not being followed by the successive regimes. The proposed constitution has retained most provisions that were there in the old constitution which were not being followed! This include:-

    Appointment of an auditor at each Annual General Meeting
    Appointment of the three Trustees of the Club
    Availability of books of account and members register for inspection

Some of the shocking revelations that have been divulged by former EC members about the way the club was being run give one the impression that the saying that the club is being run like a village team or worse is not far from the truth!

The proposed constitution for instance states that an SGM has to be called with notice in the daily newspapers! It was not lost on observers that whereas the ‘suspended’ Secretary General could place an advert in a leading newspaper, the club itself could not place an advert in the newspaper for the SGM preferring to do everything only by its website.

Issues such as the procedure for calling for meetings have to be practiced whether the proposed constitution is adopted or not. The spirit of the constitution needs to be enforced. Constitutionalism which has been lacking at the club needs to be adopted.

It has already raised some eyebrows the way the SGM was called with some persons wondering whether there was a rush or whether the club is putting the cart before the horse. What is clear though is that if the ‘members’ who attend will vote for the ratification of the constitution, the club will need to adopt a new members register an those ‘members’ who will have voted will need to pay a sum of Kshs. 1,200 to be new members of the club.

We wish the club the best at the Special General Meeting and may the good intentions win rather than the self driven intentions. May the spirit of constitutionalism be inculcated in the ‘members’ and in those who run our club so that we stop this charade once and for all!

If not, we shall continue with the needless wrangling which will hinder the progress of the club. Hopefully the SGM tomorrow lives up to its billing and ‘some gracious miracle’ (SGM) visits the hearts of those who think the club is an arena to play political games.

God bless AFC Leopards Sports Club!

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