The Kenya Rugby Union Annual General Meeting (AGM) kicks off at the RFUEA grounds on Wednesday 21 March 2018 with a set of agenda on the mat, top of all an election of office bearers who have completed a term.
Sitting Vice Chair Thomas Opiyo aka Tano, a former Kenya 7s and 15s star will be challenged for his position by Moses Ndale who has just completed two terms as a director that saw him take charge of the fixtures docket.
Secretary Oduor Gangla, who came to office in the 2016 AGM alongside Opiyo, will face Jack Okoth, a former CEO at the Union as well as Treasurer Joshua Aroni will be up against Terry Adembesa.
John Kilonzo will face former director Oscar Mango and Hillary Itela with one of them set to miss out.
While Opiyo beat Philip Jalango 34 to 21 votes, Gangla had a mudslide win in the secretary's post beating former Kenya Sevens team manager Steve Sewe by 48 to 7 votes.
In 2016, Mombasa RFC Treasurer Johsua Aroni was elected unopposed as the new KRU Treasurer while Kilonzo was the most elected director with 41 votes.
But will the two stand the challenges to handoff the opposition and return to office for a term?
At the AGM it is the affiliate clubs that cast the die, but just whom will they seek to elect to guide the Union?
At the 2016 AGM, a lot was at stake and a long list of issues was picked up as the reasons that left the union with a poor face.
It was documented then that the board was dysfunctional with highly publicized infights, board interference all harboring the functioning of the secretariat as well as national teams.
The board infights were noticed by would be corporate sponsors, some of whom used the same reasons to step out of rugby.
Planning, lack off, missing annual budgets and adhoc operations seemed to have been the order of the day.
Two years later the same cannot be said with a functional board, now guided with a signed code of ethics unlike before, in harmony, with the secretariat left at relative peace to discharge their mandate.
Not too far back, the Union had been rocked by sponsorship withdrawals, for much of the aforesaid.
As Safaricom walked out on Safari 7s Sponsorship, Bamburi left leaving the Super Series, a competition of team franchises, hanging. Not to be left behind were a leading brewery that also exited the rugby scene.
The union was to hit a jackpot, as in July 2016, SportPesa walked in with a mind boggling 0.6 billion package as the headline sponsor over five years.
Even though that was cancelled at the close of 2017, for other reasons, largely due to a 35% taxation by the government, the face of rugby had changed considerably.
With their exit, the board moved fast to engage the Government who have since put in 35 million to the Union with more expected to trickle in at the start of the next quarter.
Clubs and subsidies
In 2017, clubs’ subsidy has been paid for two years unlike before when no club subsidy ever paid despite agreement at clubs AGM. Broadcast sponsorship 2018/2023 has minimum 30% mandatory to clubs while all affiliates have recovered KRU rugby balls over the past two years.
Affiliation of of new clubs is strictly on presentation of required registration documents and upon concrete proof of participation in KRU sanctioned events.
Many say when a team wins you never change the winning team. But others will say change is inevitable.
Is it time for Opiyo, Gangla, Aroni and Kilonzo to exit or do they need more time to complete their plans?
Or is it for Ndale to serve the board in a different capacity, to be joined by Okoth? .
Will Oscar Mango make a comeback or Hillary Itela will find his way in this time round? Will Kilonzo get a second term?
Which way for at the AGM when the elective agenda is called? Only the affiliates with the votes will decide.