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Leopards polls must be run fairly, peacefully

Monday May 13 2019

Former AFC Leopards striker Boniface Ambani talks to Nation Sport on February 8, 2019 on the eve of the Mashemeji Derby pitting Gor Mahia against AFC Leopards. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Former AFC Leopards striker Boniface Ambani talks to Nation Sport on February 8, 2019 on the eve of the Mashemeji Derby pitting Gor Mahia against AFC Leopards. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JOHN ASHIHUNDU
By JOHN ASHIHUNDU
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AFC Leopards elections are finally hear. The club’s Electoral Commission and management agreed on June 23 as the tentative date for the eagerly awaited polls.

Ahead of these exercise, word on the street has it that absentee chairman Dan Mule will not defend his seat. But that’s not the most important bit to discuss today.

What is important is the club members have no option other than getting it right with the leaders they pick this time around.

Poor choices have reflected on the club’s average performances on the pitch in recent times.

Leopards have finished 13th, eighth and seventh in the past three SportPesa Premier League seasons under Mule and are currently ranked 10th in this year’s competition with five matches remaining.
This is a far cry from the team’s title-winning exploits in the eighties and nineties.

This club has the second biggest budget in the league and at the very best needs to be challenging for silverware. That has not been the case.

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Even when the chance to compete on the continental front has come knocking as was the case last season, beloved Ingwe has flopped, losing to lowly FOSA Juniors from Madagascar in the early stages.

So while we have to thank the office for running the team professionally and not squabbling in public, I am afraid the club’s fan base deserves better.

So far, former players Dan Shikanda and Boniface Ambani are expected to contest for the chairmanship.

The top seat is also attracting interest from businessman Maurice Amahwa, and two of the club former CEOs in the frame of Ronald Namai and Richard Ekhalie. The club members eligible to vote should seriously scrutinise these people and make an informed choice on who should lead this great club

Politics should also not be brought into this exercise and all aspirants should be allowed to campaign fairly and without fear.

When Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka hosted current and former Ingwe players for lunch at his Karen home, little did he know that the gesture would stir political temperatures in his Western Kenya backyard after word went round that the organiser’s real intention was to use the club to advance the aspirations of DP Ruto allied team Tanga Tanga.

We need a handshake moment in Ingwe election and break a record by having the most peaceful AFC Leopards polls ever.

I say this because, if you look at past club elections rarely have they been contested peacefully. Fracas, chaos, bedlam, disorder has been the order of the day. What an ignominious polls history!

We appeal to those tasked with the responsibility of organising the exercise to be fair so that we can realise the desired unity to an extend of impressing our sponsors, SportPesa.

We should also impress other organisations eyeing an association with, easily one of the most likable football clubs in the country, not like this other noisy team we read about, inasmuch as they have won several local titles, but failed miserably on the continent.

Signs were seen when the warring groups were put together when the team was performing poorly and out of that, we witnessed improved results.

The goodwill of people like COTU Secretary Francis Atwoli, Lusaka, Westland Member of Parliament Tim Wanyonyi among others came as a result of the unity of the rescue team.

Days when people used to fight during elections should be a thing of the past as the candidates are look forward to campaigning and eventually winning or losing fairly.

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