Rachier: I am not leaving soon

In a wide ranging interview with the Standard Newspaper, touching on various topics, Chairman Ambrose Rachier indicated that he may not be leaving in December as earlier announced.

Interview by the Standard

Tomorrow, Ambrose Rachier (pictured) turns 70. His entry into the world was as dramatic as the life he has lived.

He was born in a moving train, beneath a wooden bench, on the Third Class carriage where his mother went into labour enroute Molo. Since then, he says, he has never stopped moving.

If pressed for a description of himself, he gets conflicted. A renowned lawyer, rhumba lover, French speaker and lecturer, but what he says he is mostly known for is his role as the chairman of K’Ogalo, as Gor Mahia FC is fondly known.

He had said he quitting when the year ends, but he is now reconsidering the decision. “Many people including sponsors have told me not to leave Gor Mahia. The sponsors say they may not want to continue if I am not there. I may hold on longer,” he says.

His admission reinforces what critics had suspected. Rachier is not leaving. Despite the noise of “out with the oldies and in with the younglings” that the fans have made online and off the net, he seems unfazed by the calls for him to handover.  

Since he was elected eleven years ago, it has been said that he bullies his way around, and is drunk with power. Some claim he swindles the club.

Ambition and intellect

“People have called me Mugabe and claim I am forcing myself on this seat. I can assure you that if someone contested against me, they would not win,” he says.

Rachier was picked as Gor Mahia chairman in 2008, a few months after he was floored in the Gem parliamentary elections. The decision to vie for a political seat, he says, is one of his biggest regrets.

“I got exposed to so much dishonesty and was being pushed to do things that I was not comfortable with,” he says

Rachier was in his office, getting over the loss, when he heard a crowd shouting for him to get out. When he peered outside, he saw the group, in green shirts, the official colours of the club.

They were shouting: “Get out now and serve Gor!” he says. He was led to City Stadium and installed as chairman.

Sally Bolo, Gor Mahia treasurer says times were lean for the club. They were at the bottom of the league. They needed help, and in Rachier, they saw passion, ambition and intellect that Gor Mahia lacked.

“He came and we rose. Since 2012, we were the unbeaten champions. Up from number 15 where he found us,” she says.

At the club, he imposed the diktat of his legal training that emphasises discipline. The fans were rough. The team got bad press. Some players rebelled. Still, Rachier says he used his networks to get the club sponsorship and increase the players’ salaries from Sh3,000 per month, to Sh250,000 for the top players.

The recent sacking of Dennis Oliech from the club has provoked the ire of supporters who say Rachier treats the club as his briefcase company and is behind the player’s woes.

Mr Oliech is now threatening to sue the club because he was dismissed yet everyone knew that he had injuries. But Rachier says that the player was sent packing because he declared interest in the Kibra parliamentary seat and skipped practice without apologies.

“That is all Photoshop. Someone created an image of me and circulated it on social media. I was injured so I could not practice. The club was just looking for a way to get rid of me, but I am taking them to court,” Oliech says.

Freemason by conviction

Off the field, Rachier has gone back to school to study Bio-ethics. A combination of medicine and law. He says in five years, he will fold his legal files and retire. After practising for more than 40 years, he looks forward to going back to the village in Gem, Siaya County, to write his autobiography.

What might make a good read for his book would be the things he is uncomfortable talking about. Like how he was an Anglican by birth, raised by a Canon who was drenched in the ways of the church, but he became a Freemason by conviction and conversion.

“People do not understand Freemasonry. They think it is devil worship. It has the who-is-who of this country, and maybe that is why they think so,” he says, explaining that admission to Freemasonry is strictly by referral from a member who can attest to a person’s character. He says their mandate is charity.

His close associates believe his Achilles heel is booze and women. They say not even age has faded the spark that flashes in his eyes when a fine damsel crosses his path.

Rachier laughs, taps his foot and leans back in the leather seat in his law firm’s offices and sighs.  

“Oh…I love my Whitecap. Nice. I love people. Nobody talks when I extend a helping hand to a man. But hell breaks loose when I show generosity to a woman,” he says.

On his love for alcohol, he says if he was an addict, he would not have maintained his prestigious firm.

He admits he has made some slips. In 1984, when news came that the first HIV patient had been admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Rachier was among the first people to react.

Rachier wrote a scathing letter to newsrooms. He wanted the patient and anyone else who was suspected to be HIV positive to be arrested and confined. The next day, he was in the cartoon section, being lampooned.

“I was ignorant, just like everyone else. There was not much about HIV and Aids, and I thought I was helping by saying that,” he says.

He made up by doing research on HIV and Aids and ended up in the ethics review committee of Kenya Medical Research Institute. Rachier was also chairman of HIV Equity Tribunal and the task-force that drafted the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act.  

His secret of staying young is regular exercise, and reading. As he edges closer to retirement, Rachier says there is nothing much in this world that scares him. Only a frog – because it is so wiggly and vulnerable.

Everything else to him can be conquered, including Gor Mahia, the unpredictable team that he has somehow managed to tame.

14 thoughts on “Rachier: I am not leaving soon

  1. We wait for the responses from those pro and against this move. Personally i wish he could set yp structures which can make the club run independently of whoever is in charge. Let’s now actualize the new laws and work onership and ticketing as wel as PR

  2. I fully support our Chairman Ambrose Rachel on this as he has continued to have great passion for the club. I am supporting ADOR on his change of heart and mind in extending his stay.

    1. Structures are good but without goodwill it still amounts to nothing. Rachier has sacrificed a lot for Gor Mahia, including using his personal resources for the betterment of the club. Kindly stay and continue guiding the club to greater heights. Be blessed Ambrose Rachier aka ADOR

  3. I Jamigori Oluoch do fully support our Chairman Ambrose Rachel on this as he has continued to have great passion for the club. I am supporting ADOR on his change of heart and mind in extending his stay.

  4. Stay on, we still need you. Looking around nobody can take over and steer the mighty especially at the this critical time that we don’t have a sponsor and we still need our team to be compact and play our usual game.

  5. We need Rachier most during this time of no sponsor. We won KPL unbeaten without a sponsor so he knows his way around and players/coaches seem to trust his leadership especially under difficult circumstances. it takes time for a new office to settle in and with the financial challenges changes now could significantly destabalise the club. Its a wise decision. Hopefully, he implements the constitution, find new sponsors and find a way of leveraging on our huge fanbase for more resources. He should leave when the time is right not for HIM but for the CLUB. I SUPPORT

  6. Ambrose Rachier , just like anybody else (including you who will come here to criticise ) has a right to contest the forthcoming elections , first because the constitution allows him and secondly , its the Gor Mahia members who will choose him or anybody else they deem best suits that office .
    To the adherents of “a change is as good as a rest ” , please offer yourself or allow us into who it is that you believe will bring about that DESIRED change and not just change because we want to honour a sound byte .
    Personally , I find it interesting that after years of agitation and sponsored chants of Rachier must go , the cowards sponsoring the chants have not mastered the courage to declare their candidacy apart from one joker who wimpishly declared on
    this wall and instead of nourishing his credentials with enabling blueprints has instead decided to bombard us with irrelevant unresearched breaking news and rumours .
    Now if those are the kind of change that are availing themselves , then I would rather stick with Rachier , Gor Mahia is too serious an entity to be reduced to a parlour where people come to massage their bruised egos .

  7. Chairman was going nowhere really a Fact I stated here long ago even when he announced his initial desire to step aside. I said stakeholders would prevail upon him to stay put as the club unfortunately is not in a position for such a transition currently. On a point of correction Chairman’s birthday is in December not tomorrow but all is well. Come one Come all Mboka is Lit tusker must get drunk with their brews and fall hard with 3 goals…

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