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Opinion: Hassan Omar must respect FKF president Nick Mwendwa

Football is the most popular sport in the world. Globally, football is one of the greatest unifying factors of people in different societies.

It belongs to all of us, and as such, we all must love the sport while respecting the fabric that football brings to unite the world.

My concern is drawn to a recent rant made by East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Member of Parliament Hassan Omar who, in what I would consider cluelessness, made public statements at an event in Nairobi regarding Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa without proper authority or knowledge of the intricacies of football.

It is imperative to note that personal affiliations should not be the basis for unfounded criticism and insults against a leader who has a legitimate mandate to run the affairs of football in Kenya, especially if that person has never bothered you.

Omar made statements noting he would never support Nick Mwendwa but fell short of offering a valid reason for his stance, only turning to mudslinging the FKF boss.

Sadly, Omar has no known history of ever supporting any football development initiatives, and his sentiments were said as he tried to drum support for the founder of the unsanctioned Super 8 tournaments (now long folded), Hussein Mohammed, in the upcoming FKF elections.
Omar and Hussein reportedly have a long-term clandestine friendship stemming from their times back in college.

However, this gives him no impetus or grants him any expertise to speak on matters concerning Nick Mwendwa or the football community.
His lack of contribution to the sport call into question the validity of his remarks.

While Hassan Omar is entitled to support Hussein Mohamed it is crucial that he refrains from launching unwarranted attacks against Nick Mwendwa, especially given his limited understanding of football matters.

Any attempt to conflate personal relationships with professional commentary is misguided and should be approached with caution.

Furthermore, if Hassan Omar continues to blur the lines between personal campaigning and insults against the FKF president, he may invite scrutiny into his past associations and decisions, which are widely rumoured to be quite questionable, and his silence on allegations of misconduct involving him and Hussein Mohammed.

When Hussein left his role as Chief Executive Officer of the Pambazuka National Lottery reportedly for controversial reasons, Hassan Omar, who was then a Senator and Human Rights advocate, saw no evil and said nothing, whereas the funds from the lottery were meant to go into helping poverty-stricken communities and developing sports.

When Hussein Mohammed left the Kenya at 50 Secretariat for reasons that have not been made public, Omar, remained mum.

Hassan Omar must, therefore, respect the institution of the FKF presidency and the current head of the federation, Nick Mwendwa, and not use his questionable relationships with Hussein to insult others.
Nick Mwendwa, focused on his responsibilities and contributions to football, has no interest in engaging in such baseless accusations, especially from people who have no knowledge of the game. His supporters, who stand by his dedication to the sport, though, might not tolerate such disrespect or slander.

Let us maintain a level of decorum and respect in our discussions and ensure that personal biases do not tarnish the reputation of individuals or the game.

Hassan Omar trying to lure delegates, who are the electorate in FKF elections, is an attempt in futility as he has no expertise to win any support for Hussein.

He is only reeling from an election loss where he lost in his gubernatorial bid in Mombasa at the 2022 general elections in dramatic style.

Just this year, Nyali Member of Parliament Mohammed Ali called out the EALA MP Hassan Omar after chaos rocked a UDA Mombasa delegates meeting at the Government Training Institute (GTI) Mombasa.
Ali stated that no individual should claim exclusivity of the ruling party, noting that Omar was trying to run, unilaterally, the affairs of the party at the coast whereas the electorate in the county had rejected him at the ballot.

Ali added that decisions concerning the party should be made collectively and the will of the majority respected, and when the majority wants you gone, you should respectfully pack up and go, as leadership is not about being in interim charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge.

With his attempt to use chaos to attract attention having hit a snag, Omar has now turned to football, well aware that football is the biggest sport and has the potential to earn him publicity. However, using insults and maligning leaders cannot work. Instead, he should have gone to the grassroots and supported the youth to develop their football talent, and then, armed with some knowledge of the intricacies that go on in the world of football, come back to speak with a sober mind.

Kenn Okaka is a Media and Communications Consultant and a Football Stakeholder.