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Mukora the man and his many encounters

Sunday September 8 2019

National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) president Charles Mukora (right), receives a report about Kenya’s participation in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona from Isaiah Kiplagat in 1992. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) president Charles Mukora (right), receives a report about Kenya’s participation in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona from Isaiah Kiplagat in 1992. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

WAIGWA KIBOI
By WAIGWA KIBOI
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Charles Mukora will be remembered for many things. Here I just mention a few. Given his great love for sports at an early age, he would amaze everybody whenever he entered the field. Around 1953, there was a major football tournament watched under floodlights in Karatina stadium. Mukora was one of the players and as one of his younger brothers Charles Kabege told me recently, his brother kicked the ball so hard and so far, it disappeared and was never recovered.

"I had sneaked from home in the evening and walked over 10 kilometres to watch that football match. I was about 10 and like many teenagers, we loved adventures. I was there when Mukora kicked the ball and we cheered wildly but the ball was never seen again," said Kabege, now 77.

The late Joe Kadenge, one of the most accomplished footballers in Kenya, confirmed to me that he knew Mukora as a good footballer and an old friend.

"I used to travel from Nakuru to Nyeri where I would join Mukora during football tournaments at Ruring'u or Karatina Stadium," Kadenge told me.

Mzee John Wachira, a retired teacher in his mid 80s was Mukora's classmate at Tumutumu Boarding School, Nyeri. It was here that Mukora showed his real talent in sports.

"Mukora was so good in football and athletics, making our school win in many competitions against other schools. His determination to succeed in everything he did particularly in sports was unquestionable. He truly loved sports," Wachira said.

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In one of the many moments I shared with Mukora, he told me how Mzee Jomo Kenyatta asked him to be with him at Ruring'u Stadium to welcome Mau Mau freedom fighters who had just left the forest to join other Kenyans to celebrate a free Kenya together.

Said Mukora: "For a moment, Mzee and I watched the freedom fighters as they displayed their deadlocks and the weapons they used during the struggle in the forests against colonialists. Then Mzee turned to me and said in Gikuyu, "Mwanake, aya ni andu? (gentleman, are these human beings)."

Mukora went on to become one of the best sports administrators in Kenya and beyond. He nurtured many in all fields of sports.

Kimani Gathu, who was national chairman Amateur Cycling Association of Kenya (1980-1982) says Mukora did a lot to ensure that the team to represent Kenya in international competitions was well funded.

Mukora believed in dialogue on any matter that would affect peace and stability. During his days in Parliament where he had made a name for himself as a polished debater especially on matters touching on sports, his colleagues nicknamed him Mr. Dialogue. Even after leaving parliament and sports administration duties, he still had a lot to offer both locally and abroad.

Mukora's reputation had secured him the vice-presidency of the International Non-Olympic Committee (INOC) whose president and First Founder member is Prof. Dr. Mohammed Seraj Ansari of India.

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