October 30, 2014 OPINION/NEWS




Joe Khamisi

The last time I went to a stadium anywhere to watch football was in 1973. It was a battle between two soccer giants, Luo Union, now Gor Mahia, and Abaluyia, now AFC Leopards.

I remember that day well because I was accompanied to the City Stadium by my pregnant wife who was expecting our first child. Towards the tail-end of the game, Abaluyia was leading two goals to one, a situation that demoralised Luo players and angered their supporters

So, what did Luo Union do? Play rough.

What followed was a fist fight between players and a mad rush of fans into the pitch. Some, including two of us, dashed from the russian stands and sprinted to the narrow exit doors to escape the fracas. My wife had to shove her handbag into someone’s face to find space for both of us to squeeze through. We crossed Jogoo Road in a hurry and boarded the earliest KBS bus home to Buruburu.

From that day, I became an armchair football fan.

Today, those hooligans of thirty years ago must be rocking on their chairs with nostalgia as they watch their children and grandchildren burn cars, break windows, and behave rowdily – just like they did three decades ago. It is a sad situation.

The weekend violent events in Machakos triggered by Gor Mahia’s loss to Sofapaka represents a shaming indictment of our predilection for chaos. Common sense tells me that one goes to a sporting event to watch and enjoy a game not to perpetrate violence and display criminal behaviour. Is it possible that the present generation has inherited poisonous genes from the past that are chewing at their sense of judgement? I see that as a high possibility.

Luckily no one was seriously hurt but there is plenty of evidence left of widespread destruction of property.

I ask, where was the police? Only months ago, Governor Alfred Mutua was flaunting and boasting about his one hundred plus security cars, he said, will patrol the county and ensure safety of residents. Those cars and the officers manning them were nowhere to be seen..

It is the duty of authorities to guarantee safety for all. But what we are seeing in Machakos is a government that is incapable of dealing with marauding thugs. Previous events at the same stadium attest to that. Drunken young men and women were allowed to roam the town freely and engage in open sexual activities and bhang smoking while security people took a nap.

I want to tell the Governor that banning Goa Mahia from playing at Machakos stadium is not the solution. The solution is for Mutua to work collaboratively with sports authorities and the Central government to profile all the trouble-makers who took part in the mayhem and bring them to book. Such people belong to Kamiti prison. Perhaps if we jail a few, the message will reverberate across the country and bring an end to sports hooliganism.





Joe Khamisi

Joe Khamisi is a former journalist, diplomat and Member of Parliament. He is also the Author of the Politics of Betrayal:Diary of a Kenyan Legislator, a political memoir about the situation in Kenya between 2001, when the ruling party of President Daniel Arap Moi, the Kenya African National Union (KANU), merged with Raila Odinga’s National Development Party.

The book also narrates cases of corruption in Parliament and in the Media and records Senator Obama’s visit to Kenya in 2006. As a friend of Barack Obama Senior, the author also remembers the times and tragedies of the American-educated economist.

Joe Khamisi’s second book, a biography, ‘Dash Before Dusk’, is currently awaiting publication.

In addition to the above books, Joe Khamisi blogs at , and for media enquiries can be reached at [email protected]

(This article is courtesy of Joe Khamisi and was originally published at the above blog on 30th October 2014)



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