Gor Mahia have announced that they will hold a major fund raiser next month. Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero will preside over a major funds-drive next month to raise Sh60 million for Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia.
The club has been struggling to meet their obligations after shirt sponsors Tuzo pulled out of sponsoring them a few months ago.
According to officials involved in the exercise, this will be the biggest funds-drive ever and is meant to sustain the club operations for two seasons.
“We have set a tentative date for October 4. The Governor is deeply involved in the matter because he wants Gor Mahia to do well. A private company has been given the mandate to go and out and talk to friends of Gor Mahia to contribute generously, the official told goal.com.
But like other recent initiatives such as the 350100 campaign and the membership drive this effort also appears headed for failure or at least not meeting the expected Ksh 60 million. The reason is that it is being plagued by the very same issues that have plagued the other recent campaigns.
Lack of publicity
Firstly, there has been very little publicity and / or information. A significant proportion of the fans do not even know that there is a major fund raiser coming up. And many of these who know, are not aware of the exact date and venue. Much like the membership drive, the club simply announced the event and now expects fans to show up at the venue because they are Gor Mahia fans. Without prodding fans, appealing to fans and without publicizing the event, it might be headed for failure.
Note that the officials stated October 4 whereas the promotional materials available online state October 2. My guess is that the promotional materials are wrong, which is why it is even more important for the club officials to come forward and clarify.
The reality of the situation is that the club chairman and other officials should be front and centre telling fans why it is important to participate. And if they want maximum participation, they should go further to assuage the concerns of any fans who might be wary about lack of accountability by outlining the measures they are taking to be more accountable. Many fans will participate but some will not because they are concerned that the money might be misappropriated. The club can address this issue weeks before the main event by assuaging the concerns of fans who are wary.
And this is where the argument fronted by Secretary General Omondi about accountability being only for members falls flat on its face: Most of the money the the club gets does not come from members and even potential sponsors often demand accountability. This fund raiser could be an opportunity to impress said potential sponsors.
No grassroots initiatives
One of the most unfortunate aspects of Gor Mahia nowadays is that the club has not seen it fit to strengthen the branches, to include them in the day to day running of the club. In past years, especially the 1970s and 1980s, the highly active branches were among the most crucial aspects in fund raising. Prior to each fund raiser, each branch would hold its own mini fundraiser then bring the money to the main fund raiser. In some cases, the branches would compete with each other to see which branch could raise the highest. The winner would actually receive a trophy.
Why branches are important is because not all fans can go to the venue of the fundraiser. In fact most Gor Mahia fans will not be at the venue. So how does a person who lives in Mombasa or Kisumu contribute now? Well the club has not made that clear….. But in past years it was not an issue since the Mombasa and Kisumu and other branches would hold their own mini-fundraiser to give grassroots / mashinani fans a chance to contribute whatever they have. Imagine having a situation where over 30,000 fans contribute ? That means that the money raised in the mini-harambees could be as high as that raised at the main venue perhaps even more.
The larger point here is that there are thousands of fans who will not be able to make it to the venue and the club has not announced any plans for how they will get these fans to contribute. So we must assume that no such plans exist currently.
What about diaspora based fans?
It has been mentioned several times on this forum that there are dozens of diaspora based fans who would be willing to contribute to the club, but the club has not reached out to them. Some bloggers have mentioned a variation of MPesa that can be used by diaspora based fans. But unless the club reaches out to diaspora based and specifies the exact methodology they should use, said fans will not take the initiative.
Once again I would urge the club’s officials to step forward and explain exactly why this particular fund-raiser is critical to the club, not just in 2014 but also in 2015 when Gor Mahia will need to replenish a badly depleted playing unit.