The arrest and subsequent arraignment in court of the Kenyan football chief Nick Mwendwa have elicited mixed reactions across the board.
There has been jubilation on one side and hue and cry from the other depending on which side of the fence one was on. As someone aptly stated though ‘the finish line is always the beginning of a new race’.
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It is encouraging to note that amidst the unfolding events and the confusion there have been calls for conversations on a way forward. This is critical as it is evident that many in the football circles have not yet grasped the magnitude of the happenings and its ramifications on the football sphere both at home and across the borders.
Sober and meaningful conversation in regards to what led us to where we are, what is expected of the caretaker committee (formed by the government) and football stakeholders, a roadmap to getting a replacement of the suspended officeholders, what needs to be done to avoid similar scenarios in future and more critically how all this will be done while not stepping on FIFAs toes need to take center stage.
These conversations need to be moderated by open-minded, strong-willed, and diligent people seeing that emotions are still high and rightly so. It is foolhardy to expect a person who received death threats from the oppressor or a beneficiary of an all-expense-paid trip to Egypt for the AFCON showpiece to be bereft of emotions when discussing the chief architect of the same.
For the conversations to have any meaningful impact, it is critical to have all the interested parties on board. A Truth Justice and Reconciliation Committee model where the oppressor the oppressed, beneficiaries, and rebels all share a round table and air their views would be great. Any conversation without all the interested parties whilst good may be insignificant.
Hard as they maybe, the conversations will clearly point the way forward for Kenyan football. There is an abundance of brilliant minds in the Kenyan footballing circles regardless of which faction they are derived from, now is the time to bring these minds together. Their knowledge and understanding of the game and interpretation of what has happened and its consequences cannot be understated.
In the words of the great Chinua Achebe ‘When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it’s not because of the moon, everyone can see it from his own compound, we come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so’. Let us all come together so that football can win.
Whilst we shall remember those who sided with the oppressor, the oppressed should not swing the pendulum too hard lest it takes us out on its way back. A little birdie reminds me of words of wisdom spoken which would be befitting for all football stakeholders under the current circumstances, Integrity/reputation is everything guard it with your life for whatever action one does now, will echo in eternity.
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By Kennedy Otieno