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Don’t politicise Mwendwa arrest, say football stakeholders

FOOTBALL By Standard Sports | November 14th 2021
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa addressing the media at Lamada Hotel on November 11th 2021 dismissing the Caretaker Committee that was formed by CS Amina Mohamed [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

A section of football stakeholders have issued a stern warning against an attempt to politicise the arrest of disgraced Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa.

On Friday afternoon, detectives from the serious crimes unit of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations nabbed Mwendwa as he attempted to visit the Harambee Stars in their camp at Nairobi hotel and whisked him to Kiambu Road for questioning before locking him up overnight at Gigiri Police Station.

Sleuths have confirmed that they are also in pursuit of CEO Barry Otieno and members of the National Executive Committee (NEC).

Following remarks by a section of politicians that the arrest is politically motivated, stakeholders have rubbished the political class for trying to insinuate Mwendwa was a victim of a political scheme.

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has told off anyone against the government move saying it was long overdue “and one which will entrench in the sport”.

“For a long time, the FKF has been a thorn in the flesh of Kenyan football considering they have been engaging in unnecessary politics and fights with not only the players and government but also other key actors in the football sector,” Atwoli said.

In a statement to media, ex-FKF president Sam Nyamweya said: “Corruption should be treated as a crime, political party affiliation notwithstanding.

“It is therefore cheap juvenile propaganda to politicise the arrest of Nick Mwendwa and his cronies on matters purely corruption and economic crimes.”

Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa led the tenor in attacking his successor Amina Mohammed who invoked Sections 52 and 54 of the Sports Act to appoint a Caretaker Committee on Thursday, Echesa suggesting the subsequent arrest of Mwendwa is nothing but political.

However, journalist Milton Nyakundi, who has been on the forefront advocating for FKF’s accountability, says politicians must never divert attention from the real issue at hand, adding that the arrest is a culmination of nearly four years of efforts to clean up the federation.

“I call on political players to desist from politicising the on-going investigations and allow our independent agencies to carry out their work without undue political pressure and interference,” said Nyakundi.

Football administrator Twaha Mbarak called out the politicians saying their remarks were unfortunate and a demonstration of ignorance of the facts.

“This is not politics so we want to be very clear that Nick Mwendwa is facing justice for the corruption he has overseen during his time at the federation,” said Twaha.

On his part, Kakamega Homeboyz chairman Cleophas Shimanyula said: “These politicians do not know how football has suffered under Mwendwa, so they should not pretend to know anything now because, probably, their accomplice has been arrested.”

The stakeholders are united in calling for the DCI to expedite the investigations to provide a solid case against Mwendwa who is set to be arraigned in court tomorrow.

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