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Football elections: Under-siege Mwendwa now plots Mariga factor

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa is now scheming to bring Mac Donald Maria to contest for the leadership of the federation at the forthcoming football elections.

Kurunzi can reveal that Mwendwa has been in touch with the former Kenya international who lost to Imran Okoth in the race to become Kibra member of parliament through the by election which was held in November last year.

The move is a scheme by Mwendwa to have Mariga cover his undoings in the event that he is barred from defending his position.

Mwendwa is currently being investigated by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations of alleged embezzlement of hundreds of millions of money given to the federation from the sports fund and FIFA for the loss of KSh125 million disbursed from Zurich for the purchase of outside broadcast equipment.

The latest move by Mwendwa has drawn sharp criticism by football stakeholders who claim that the same people who deceived Mariga to contest for the Kibra parliamentary seat now want the former football star to run for the FKF top seat.

Deputy President William Ruto hosts MacDonald Mariga and his brother Victor Mugubi at Karen. PHOTO/COURTESY

Mariga contested the Kibra by-election on a Jubilee Party ticket and was viewed as Deputy President William Ruto’s project. In 2016, Mwendwa was also tagged Ruto’s project in what was interpreted as the DP’s attempt to control football politics.

They contend that Mariga never used his exposure to help Kenyan football in any way while at the top of and even after his playing career and the fact that he chose to run for the Kibra seat while the FKF elections season had started is evidence of how the game is not his priority.

“The question is had the (FKF) elections been upheld, how was he going to come into football,” ponders a FKF official, who prefers anonymity, describing Mariga as an individual who is confused over what he wants as far as leadership is concerned.

“Or had he won the (Kibra) parliamentary seat, would he have resigned to come back to football?”

Kurunzi has learnt Mwendwa has been meeting Mariga at secret locations where they have been making calls to branch and sub-branch officials allied to the FKF boss to notify them that the UEFA Champions League winner is part of their elections line up.

The idea is to have Mariga on Mwendwa’s ticket as the running mate to prepare the way for the footballer taking over in the eventuality of Mwendwa ending up in court for embezzling taxpayers’ money or if FIFA suspended him after the elections.

This has angered Mwendwa’s deputy, Doris Petra, who now feels isolated leaving Mwendwa’s camp a divided house.

Petra, who served as a National Executive Committee member during Sam Nyamweya’s tenure, is now contemplating ditching the current regime for an alternative formation.

She is also, reportedly, threatening to expose Mwendwa’s ills of the past four years

While this has remained a deeply guarded secret, it is clear that Petra is not ready to sacrifice her own ambition having supported Mwendwa in 2016 at the expense of her old ally Nyamweya. She maintains that Mwendwa should allow her to ascend to the FKF presidency and not bringing someone from ‘outside’.

What is unclear, though, is why she would be so bitter with Mwendwa whose insiders claim she was consulted and agreed to be solidly in support of the plan.

According to them (Mwendwa insiders), she would retain her running mate position on Mariga’s ticket if Mwendwa was to be stopped from running but her fear is premised on the fact she would be nowhere if Mwendwa remains in the race.

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