Not so long ago I made a tweet pointing out to an imminent KRA crackdown on football clubs in Kenya, not so many saw it coming- but I did. Little did I know Kenya’s top club Gor Mahia was going to be in this much trouble when the tax payer finally came knocking.
Last week KRA pointed out that Gor Mahia owed it 118M shillings in unpaid taxes, as the official Kenyan football defence mechanism, “we are a society’ the men who watch the world behind green and white glasses roared.
Ridiculous, I thought- how did KRA even get to that amount? Have Gor Mahia even ever handled all that amount of money in the recent past?
The best way out of this I thought was if Gor Mahia had its book of accounts detailing every single amount they have ever handled and their tax remittances and how much they thought, or in detail ‘owe’ KRA.
The silence then screams a big NO.
Is that the trouble? Yes, maybe.
But allow me take you back last year and even back to late 2011.
Gor Mahia held two different AGM’s over the above mentioned years.
An AGM, borrowing from my little economics knowledge; is a forum where the administrators (in this case a club’s elected officials) provide an annual record of everything that has been done in the last ‘financial year’.
If then that is so, does it point out to silence from the ‘Gor Mahia’ fans in attendance or an absence of the records (in this case financials?).
The latter looks more likely but even if it does, did anyone raise an alarm?
A few titles later; the Green and White legion paraded the streets of Nairobi chest thumping at every great score line and ‘bitched’ at every negative result.
Fans were baying for the blood of a man after a favourite player was sold- the man outran them but in addition, outran not their physical and also their mental wit.
Allow me use the ‘Arsenal FC’ vs ‘Leeds FC’ example that has gotten me into trouble more than often.
The Leeds FC lesson acted as a lesson for future clubs who sought to first chase stability over silverware. Several times Arsenal FC have been ridiculed by their opponents for the lack of the latter but envied by the same for the pursuit of the former.
Gor Mahia are lucky to be in a league where KPL might/will never require a ‘value floor’ or a look at its financial records but that’s the biggest let down of an ‘awfully’ slowly developing league.
Words like ‘going into administration’ do not exist in Kenyan Football dictionaries and the prospect of ‘pulling out’ of the league might be the only viable decision when finally (if it does happen) push comes to shove.
Because in reality, Gor Mahia as an institution currently has liabilities that outweigh the assets and actually have no viable way of paying up.
In a quick populist way though, the administration launches a ‘PAY BILL’ number to be used to help the club- something that was done in 2012, I’m just not sure how efficient it was.
In no matter way you want to view it; the numbers might help reach 118M, but for the long term shall it be the correct way? Almost close to half of the faces that launched the same project 2 years ago spearhead this campaign, in hopes of a good financial reward and in the efforts to consolidate their position.
Honesty means saying, the current office will never meet its targets not until this issue is first addressed.
The first issue though that should be addressed in all soberness before the PAYBILL number is littered with several hundreds, thousands etc. is the fact that how can the authors of such a mess be trusted with the solution making before the hard questions are asked.
Elie Wiesel (Nobel peace prize winner 1986) says in one of his many works; “we must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented.”
Taking sides at this point in time means demanding for answers not blanketing under the ‘Saving Gor Mahia’ umbrella. Silence encourages the tormentors into having a firmer grip on what they see as a ‘cash cow’.
Beyond the pay bill number, beyond the bleak future, Gor Mahia needs to chart its own path by raising a voice; by demanding a share in the management of the club and not a spectator space on the stands.
Besides you are only going to thoroughly cheer and be concerned about what you own a part of, what you demand answers for, not what just sought your help when in trouble.