Mule voted chairman as AFC Leopards shed tribal spots
AFC Leopards SC voters tore the tribal card to shreds in electing Dan Mule as the new chairman of 12-time domestic top flight champions during Sunday’s club’s elections with his allies sweeping all top positions.
Chaos broke at the end of the largely peaceful exercise at Safaricom Indoor Gymnasium in Kasarani when Mule’s challengers for the top post and sons of the Mulembe nation, Maurice Amahwa and Robert Asembo, briefly forced the final announcement of results to be stopped.
However, order was finally restored by the Electoral Board officials before it was formally declared the former Embakasi Branch chairman had carried the day by polling 1160 votes against closest challenger Amahwa’s 822.
Former Football Kenya Federation Vice-President, Asembo was a distant third with 119 with eight voters casting their ballots in favour of Interim Management Committee (IMC) Co-Chairman, Matthews Opwora who withdrew from the race on Thursday to back his kinsmen for the top post.
The outcome of the exercise ordered by the Sports Disputes Tribunal to end the bitter wrangling for leadership at the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) giants ushers a new era at the Den.
Mule was ranked the ‘outsider’ by the team’s ultra conservatives owing to his roots from Machakos, eastern Kenya, but his outstanding record and astute stewardship as a Co-Chairman of the IMC has been rewarded with the mandate to lead the side established in 1964.
The soft-spoken businessman prevailed despite Opwora stepping down for Amahwa in the 11th hour to support a tribal campaign inside the Den dubbed in the local Luhya dialect as lero luno eshiefu ne eshiefu (this time round, what is ours remains ours).
He arrived in the voting center at the Safaricom Indoor Arena without fanfare, waved at his supporters wistfully before proceeding to cast his vote.
His self-effacing personality contrasted sharply to the ceremony that greeted the arrival of the presumed favourite, Amahwa, the Mombasa Branch chairman who ran a well-oiled campaign.
He was cheered wildly as he paused to soak in the applause with all the gait and poise of a man expecting to carry the day by noon.
The Kenya Ports Authority employee and architect then went round the arena with his entourage that included some journalists who openly declared their allegiance to him.
His supporters broke into Luhya songs and dance outside the venue as soon as the announcement was made as dusk descended over the nation’s capital in a ringing endorsement Ingwe faithful had adopted them as their own.
“It was a free, fair and credible elections and we wish the new leaders of AFC Leopards well as they embark on returning the team to winning ways.
“We have received appeals and anyone who has any complaint has the room to go to the Appeals Body and they will be heard,” Irene Tindi, the Electoral Board secretary said immediately after the polls.
Mule vied and failed to clinch the seat in 2013 when he was beaten by Allan Kasavuli has steadily built his support base at the club after being co-opted as a Executive Committee Member.
When Kasavuli quit his position mid last year, he was locked in a bitter tussle to run the club against a faction led by Opwora before the Tribunal ruled in December they would govern together as heads of the IMC whose mandate expires on July 30.
Mule’s ally, Felix Shitsama (1613) beat Lawrence Ngacha (469) by a landslide in the race for the deputy chairman’s post.
The race for the Secretary General was a tight affair where Oscar Igaida (832) carried the day against closest challenger Robert Namai (759).
Timothy Lirumbi retained his Organising Secretary’s seat by a wafer thin margin of six votes with 920 against former player and coach, Gilbert Selebwa who polled 914.
Noah Wanyama (256), another revered retired star and father to Harambee Stars captain and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, Victor, was a remote third.
The 1986 title-winning legend Peter Lichungu lost out in the race for Executive Member.
Additional reporting by Loise Wanjiku and Jacob Icia
Daniel Mule 1160
Maurice Amahwa 822
Robert Asembo 119
Mathews Opwora 8
Felix Shitsama 1613
Lawrence Ngacha 469
Oscar Igaida 832
Ronald Namai 759
Douglas Simiyu 500
Deputy Secretary General
Elijah Ang’ila 1602
Suleiman Angulu 475
Oliver Napali 880
Dennis Muyesu 571
Francis Mugasiali 546
Feisal Hussein 84
Justus Makabila 1444
Okia Ndidi 627
Timothy Lilumbi 920
Gilbert Selebwa 914
Noah Wanyama 256
Executive Committee Members
Irene Karani 1032
Saul Ambwao 963
Olivia Shikuku 933