Winnie Odinga’s arrival to head the media and communication department at Kenya’s most successful club Gor Mahia has rattled a number of insiders.
Her ‘signing’ at Kogalo last months easily makes hers the highest-profile deal for the club since the Rwandese hitman Jacques Tuyisenge signed up three years ago.
A Gor fan is not complete without a befitting moniker on the back of the jersey and thus to many Kogalo fans, she’s Nyar Kingi (the King’s Daughter).
Winnie is, of course, the last-born daughter of Raila Odinga, Kenya’s enigma of opposition politics.
In Miguna Miguna’s tell-all book about the 2017 Raila Odinga presidential election campaign and its aftermath, Treason: A Case Against Tyrants and Renegades, she comes off as having packed quite a punch in the inner circle.
Her executive appointment at Gor is probably meant to spruce up the club’s legendary rough image and make it more attractive to sponsors like the betting firm
The problem for the Ambrose Rachier-led club committee is that Winnie hasn’t received the kind of rock star reception many had expected.
The fan sentiment on social media, where much of her work will be directed, has been anything between lukewarm and outright hostile.
Much of that hostility has something to do with the wide perception that the media and communication department isn’t one of those that particularly needed strengthening anyway.
Volunteers like Tony Anelka, aka Nera (Uncle), are thought to have done a fairly good job, and the decision by the Winnie team to release them hasn’t gone down well with the fan base.
Away from football club politics, the Winnie situation significantly highlights the paradox of the Luo love affair with the Odinga clan and the dilemma for the dynasty.
While the community members would readily show affection for Raila, they seem to loathe the idea of his relatives claiming top positions.
A few years back, attempts by Raila’s siblings Oburu Oginga and Ruth Odinga to become the governors of Siaya and Kisumu respectively elicited public outrage.
Rosemary’s interest in the Kibra House seat in 2017 caused some disgruntlement, too. Welcome to the hate-and-love relationship world of the Luo and the Odinga clan, Winnie.
Back to Gor- now fans realized on Wednesday that the club’s popular Face book and Twitter pages were nowhere to be found.
The handles were the most followed/liked by any sporting outfit in Kenya and ranked among the best in Africa but all that is now gone.
It has since emerged that Kevin “KGM” Odhiambo, the club’s assistant Secretary General, took down the handles following a disagreement with a fellow official over inclusion of Winnie Odinga in the communication and marketing department of the club.
Gor Mahia never fully owned the social media tools which were created and run by volunteers, Kevin being one of them before he was elected official.
The recent inclusion of Winnie with an aim to revamp it has proved divisive with the volunteers rebelling after they were told to hand over the social media logins to the new team.
In a leaked audio conversation between Kevin and the treasurer Sally Bollo, the former can be heard threatening that he will pull down the pages if there will be no working agreement with the Winnie team and true to his word he took them down on Wednesday.
Sally suggested that Kevin sells the pages to the club a proposal he outrightly rejected.
Kevin’s Face-book comment suggested the same; “Hehehe they hacked them down saa hii club has nothing on social media. Selfish interests on the expose. Wacha tuone how best they can revive them.”
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