Former referee GMT Ottieno was elected to head the Kenya Football Referees Association (KEFORA) in the year 2012 when Sam Nyamweya took over the leadership of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) but soon after, a faction headed by Wycliffe Ogutu successfully challenged him in court to see his election nullified.
Upon nullification of GMT’s election, Ogutu’s team was given the mandate to head KEFORA. However, eight years later, GMT has declined to hand over. This is just an introduction to my response.
In a piece in one of the local dailies, GMT alleges that we, referees, were coerced to speak on 26th March supporting the FIFA stand dismissing the formation of a normalization committee to run football affairs in the country. I want to put it in black and white that I stand with what I said.
Advocate for suffering
A FIFA ban will not only affect referees but also players and coaches, but according to GMT, it is only 50 referees who will suffer. I’ve never seen any person purporting to be a leader of any organization or welfare advocating for suffering for its members as GMT does.
This in effect means that he’s not fit to be called a leader and should be seen as someone whose only interest is himself.
Crucially, he is also a member of the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT), which begs the question; what interest does he have in the FKF affairs? As a member of an adjudicatory body, he has shown that he is taking sides in the situation, which is quite questionable.
Among the issues that led to his expulsion from KEFORA, was his unmeasured attacks and endless fights with everyone. Attacking Nick Mwendwa daily in the media will not change his image either.
My simple questions to GMT:
- If he’s a law-abiding citizen why has he refused to hand over the leadership of KEFORA to Mr. Wycliffe Ogutu as granted by court?
- If he is truly speaking on our behalf, can he tell us the number of referees he has trained since 2012 and the total number of refs in the whole country?
GMT should have vacated office long ago, when Nyamweya was leaving. He is now behaving like former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe. Gone are days when bullying was the order of the day and referees are justified to support FIFA’s stand.
As referees, we are members of the federation and no one should use us as his personal property, and for his own interest.
Last but not least, KEFORA is just a referees’ welfare body and is not recognized by FIFA but the federation has extended us the favour of working without being intimidated. I stand to be corrected.
So in light of everything, between GMT and Nick Mwendwa, who is clinging onto leadership? GMT is a senior citizen who deserves respect but I want to remind him that respect is two way.
He has no clout, nor stand to speak on behalf of referees.
The writer is a FIFA Instructor and a CAF Match Commissioner.