It is a fact that most fans of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards are peaceful and are interested only in cheering for their teams. In fact there have been several peace initiatives among fans of both clubs to promote peace during matches pitting the two teams.
However there remains a small element of the fan base that cannot accept defeat and will resort to hooliganism of all kinds when results do not go their way.
These hooligans have been captured several times on television and in newspaper pictures. Their behavior is often seen by fellow fans. During a recent television interview , newly elected Gor Mahia officials Naima Oketch suggested that one day to deal with hooliganism is to give all fans a sense of ownership in the club. The logic here is that if fans are given a sense of ownership, they are unlikely to engage in activities that destroy the club’s image. However that idealistic view will not stand the test of reality.
Most hooligans are young people who are at an age where they feel invincible. In all populations, people between age 18 and 23 tend to feel a sense of invincibility. There are scientific studies that show that the part of the brains of people in this age-group that is responsible for proper judgment is overwhelmed by their sudden sense of independence after reaching adulthood.
It has also been proven scientifically that the part of the brain that is responsible for comprehending the consequences of ones actions is not fully developed until a person reaches age 23. It is the primary reason for University student riots all over the world. This is not to say that all hooligans are in this age group. But most are.
The only medicine that will cure people in this age group from their penchant for hooliganism is a stint in a jail cell.
It is high time that fans of both teams took it upon themselves to report the hooligans they know. If a person is caught on television cameras committing acts of hooliganism, then anyone who knows him should visit the police station and record a statement.
Charge hooligans as criminals
There have indeed been cases where fans turned over hooligans to the Police. But after holding said hooligan in a police car for 1 or 2 hours, they were released. This only serves to empower them because they can now go to their neighborhoods and brag to their friends. But a one week stint in a jail cell or possible criminal charges against hooligans caught in the act will send a chilling message to other hooligans.
This author has never heard of a case where a hooligan was charged with public vandalism or any other act of hooliganism. It is no wonder that hooligans feel invincible.
All it would take is for a few hooligans to be paraded in front of cameras and sentenced to prison for a prison term commensurate with their vandalism. Other potential hooligans will watch this action and will now think twice before
FKF Chairman Sam Nyamweya was correct when he told the Minister for sports Hassan Wario that the government must step up its efforts to combat hooliganism. Of course Hon Wario was not amused and vehemently defended his government. But the fact remains that neither the FKF nor clubs have the wherewithal to combat hooliganism. The government must step up its efforts to combat this menace.
It was dissapointing to hear the sports minister describe seeing a hooligan committing vandalism on television yet the governemnt did absolutely nothing to apprehend this hooligan despite the fact that he had been caught in the act by cameras.
Fans who enter free should be charged with trespassing
It is also a fact that Police contribute directly to hooliganism. Recently a policemen was caught on camera accepting a bribe from hooligans whom he then allowed to scale the fence at Kasarani. It is these same fans who have no regard for the rules that are typically guilty of hooliganism. On other occasions, fans have been scaling the fence or entering the stadium through holes in the perimeter fence. Once again, if any of these fans are publicly charged with trespassing, it will send a chilling message to other would be tress-passers. When television cameras catch these fans slipping into the stadia, other fans who know them should take it upon themselves to report them to the police.
The Police should pull up their socks
There have been cases of Policemen accepting bribes to allow fans to scale the stadium fence. This has been documented above. Police also see all fans as the enemy when in reality most fans are peace loving and could offer the police cooperation in naming known hooligans. As has been stated several times, most Gor Mahia and AFC fans are peaceful and will gladly cooperate with the Police.
Since the Police see all fans as the enemy, there are documented cases where they flatly refuse to listen to anything the fans have to say. Such was the case during the 2014 Charity cup match where police brushed off fans who were seeking their assistance and trying to offer cooperation.
Ban certain fans from stadiums
In the past there have been a few cases where certain fans were banned from the stadium. However these same fans returned to the stadium the very next weekend and laughed with impunity at the ban.
The names of fans who have been found guilty and after due process been banned from the stadia should henceforth be published in the papers.
Fans should now develop a culture of reporting these fans to the police if they are seen anywhere in the vicinity of the stadium.