Unmasking the Hidden Impacts of Corruption on Kenya Rugby Union

Kenya Rugby Union

Kenya Rugby Union Chairman, Sasha Mutai is reading mischief in two motions of “no confidence” on his leadership style, citing a conspiracy by a few members seeking to stage a coup to loot and leave the KRU high and dry.

The two rugby clubs – one in Kisumu County and the other in Bungoma County – have lodged a motion of no confidence to remove him from the position of the Kenya Rugby Union Chairman, according to a statement released by Mutai.

“These allegations are baseless and ill-timed. This is a conspiracy by a few members who have an intention of finding corrupt ways to misuse the union’s resources and bring confusion through smear campaigns,” he said.

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He added, “It is ironical that the two clubs allege a lack of leadership and transparency in the management of affairs of Kenya Rugby Union, while our efforts to unearth deep-rooted corruption and ill-motive are misconstrued as an intrusion into personal data privacy.”

Mutai also dismissed allegations that he failed to use internal dispute resolution processes under the ambit of the KRU Constitution to deal with internal feuds, whereas it is the Secretary of the KRU who has time and again gone to the Sports Dispute Tribunal petitioning against the KRU, its members, and now the Chairman. The KRU simply had to defend itself.

Mutai’s Scorecard

Over the past year that he has been at the helm of the Union, Mutai successfully brought back the Safari 7s, hosted the World Rugby U20 Trophy, and appointed a new team to manage the Shujaa, who earned a place for Kenya at the Paris 2024 Olympics by winning the Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens 2023, and winning the men’s Dubai Challenger Cup Series title.

This management team was vehemently opposed by the Secretary of the KRU, and this is part of his evidence in his court submissions at the Sports Dispute Tribunal. The Kenya Lionesses also qualified for WXV III, they were runners up at the Africa Women’s 7s as well as runners up at the World Rugby Challenger series in Dubai.

“We are in a good position to get Shujaa and Lionesses into the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2024-2025 season. We are also confident that the national men’s rugby 7s side can make history as the first team from Kenya to win a medal at the Olympics during this year’s games in Paris,” said Mutai.

World Rugby he said has shown confidence in the KRU by giving a high-performance grant for the Paris Olympics preparations.  Under his leadership, KRU has cemented a working partnership with the San Clemente Rhinos that has enabled the Lionesses to tour South Africa and play against the Women Springboks and train and play competitive rugby at a fully paid camp.

The KRU has also established a great working relationship with the Government of Kenya who has been supporting KRU in its programmes in the past year.

The Government has also indicated that they will give the KRU 50 acres of land at Kasarani to develop a high-performance centre.  The Simbas won the Elgon Cup, and the KRU has also cemented sponsorship agreements in the past year with Sportpesa, and EABL through Tusker (who had given KRU a wide berth in the recent past) who sponsored the Victoria Cup and Safari 7s. All these helping to increase our 2023 sponsorship by over 113% from 2022.

The KRU upgraded their kit deal signing with global sports brand Umbro, JTL through Faiba came in as a new sponsor at the Safari 7s, and negotiations are currently taking place with potential new partners but this may be hindered by the noise being generated by the corrupt old guard who are now locked out of KRU matters. In the long list of achievements, Mutai said KRU is also reviving the Rugby Super Series this year, to turn the Super Series into the first professional league in Kenya.  “KRU is talking to potential investors on this venture for the 2025 Rugby Super Series.

Already, one investor has pledged 10 acres of land in Tigoni for one of the Super Series franchises in 2025”, he said. The KRU Chairman affirmed that the current leadership is doing everything possible to return Rugby to its former glory, and the journey has just begun.  He said lack of goodwill and vision driven by self-interest in these corrupt groups are to blame for an increase in infighting within the union.

“It is unfortunate that a few individuals are trying to hinder the progress made. This has resulted in a legal battle at the Sport Dispute Tribunal, making it difficult to effectively use the internal dispute resolutions process as provided in the KRU constitution, thus resulting in avoidable costly litigation,” he explained. 

He rebuked a shameful criminal act by one of the officials to out rightly and in conflict of interest earn millions of Kenya shillings in legal fees by having his partner in legal practice act as the KRU advocate.  Worse still, in this act of subterfuge, Mutai narrated that they had the audacity to try to arm-twist the main sponsor to have them pay for pending legal fees by stalling to lodge a consent at the High Court with the intention of self-benefit through a company owned by the official and his proxies.

“Such a convoluted mess has been standing in the way of ensuring transparency at the board decision level and the same is being used now to tarnish our names and the clean legacy precedence we have been setting”. 

However, Mutai affirmed the Union under his leadership is determined not to give up, saying they will remain vigilant and on the lookout for such incidences and errant members who have fashioned themselves to derail and curtail the growth of the union.  “As we continue to religiously adhere to the rule of law, we will exploit all avenues that will bring sanity to the union,” he said.

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