BREWING STORM? Endorsement letter sparks heated debate

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Friday, March 17th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Rugby
Richard Omwela announcing his candidature for the Kenya Rugby Union Chairmanship on Feb.25, 2015 at KRU Grounds.PHOTO/DENNIS OKEYO

A letter circulating in rugby circles claiming that some candidates have been endorsed by the Kenya Cup caucus ahead of Wednesday’s (March 22) Kenya Rugby Union elections has sparked heated debate among contestants.

In a letter dated March 13, signed by the Kenya Championship caucus acting chairman Walter Orangi and sent to clubs’ chairmen, the official alleges that current KRU chairman Richard Omwela is among the candidates endorsed by the Kenya Cup caucus.

Others who have reportedly been endorsed include Kenya Harlequin's Ezekiel Owuor, Sylvia Kamau (Strathmore), Ray Olendo (Kabras Sugar), and Ian Mugambi (Blak Blad).

But according to Orangi, the Championship caucus feels it has been short-changed by its Kenya Cup counterpart, which goes against their initial agreement.

“Our attention has been drawn to the resolutions of a meeting of the Kenya Cup caucus, a group that fronts the commercial and other interest of the clubs participating in the elite Kenya Cup competition,’’ read part of the letter.

“The model proposed at the time was that Kenya Cup would propose a chairman and front Sylvia Kamau, whilst Nationwide (now split into Championship and Nationwide) would front three people for the directors positions. You can, therefore, understand our consternation at this obvious dishonesty from the Kenya Cup caucus.

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“We understand that Nondescripts, Kenya Harlequins, Kabras Sugar have joined Strathmore Leos and Blak Blad in the clamour for board seats.

“In a sense, we get the impression that the KRU board has become the dumping ground for troublesome and meddlesome club officials who have the hallmark of underachievement and inexperience.

“Let’s agree on the best candidates and have them sail through with little opposition. Either this or there is the likelihood of a chaotic aftermath and a roll-back of the gains made last year.”

Despite attending the meeting alongside other chairmanship candidates (Omwela and Rajinder Sembi), former KRU vice-chairman Sasha Mutai said the "mischievous letter would not derail his campaigning spirit.

“I don’t listen to rumours. This is politics and your opponent can use anything to distract you. But I am a different person and I am focused on winning the election. It is up to the clubs to elect the right directors with whom I will work,” said Mutai.

“The Kenya Cup clubs gave us (Omwela, Sembi, and Mutai) a hearing on Monday. We are living in a democratic country, but I didn’t expect them to come up with such a thing after meeting us. There is more than meets the eye in everything in that letter.

“The mandate for the caucus was to look for Kenya Cup sponsors, but it has clearly turned into a political outfit.

When contacted Omwela confessed to have got the Kenya Cup caucus’s endorsement, but insisted that every caucus is entitled to its decision.

“All I know is that the three of us were invited to speak to Kenya Cup. We took them through our manifestoes and I understand after that they unanimously endorsed me. But I am not aware of the letter doing the rounds. All the same, the championship and nationwide clubs can also make their decision as far as the election is concerned,” said Omwela.

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