Development Report November 2010

Following his election into office in July 2009, Club Chairman Dickson Mutoka and his new committee have been pushing the boundaries to move Kakamega Sports Club into the new era with change and development as the main theme. The new management committee started by first putting together a development plan – the first one ever for the club – ( see www.kakamegasportsclub.com). Having had the development plan agreed by all in the management team and later by Club members, the team swung into action recognising that there was and there is still is a lot to be done.

A vision was developed to get the glue that holds together the Club’s aspirations, its members, its wishes, its plans, its dream and its future. The vision is Go West, Grow and Enjoy.
The vision encapsulates the dreams and wishes of the Club, its location, the community in which it operates and its ambitions. It is a challenging and stretching vision aimed at spurring the Club and its stakeholders into finding its place in the 21st century and avoid remaining locked up in a time warp. This is the trajectory.

The development plan covers short, medium and long term goals. The good news is that progress is being made, some of it well ahead of plan.

For Dickson Mutoka (or Dickson as he prefers to be called) and his team, the challenge was to begin implementing the plan literally from scratch and yet still remain focussed on the three prongs of the development plan.

The new team had the good fortune of some continuity especially in the Treasury. Rodgers Mulemi had been in the previous committee and had set in place excellent financial management systems given his profession and capabilities. It was thus prudent to start with some low hanging fruits. These included for example, the equipping of the club kitchen which had deteriorated almost beyond being fit for human use. The car park was done, the gate improved and the front perimeter fence reinforced. In addition urgent but necessary repairs were done to fix the leaking roofs especially affecting the kitchen, the bar and the manager’s office.

The bar was restocked and also equipped with the necessary glasses and furniture. And due to popular demand by members, a modern entertainment system – home theatre, was purchased and installed. Witness the viewing of football in the lounge and the dinning room even as connoisseurs of music enjoy their bit. Completion of male changing rooms and the migration of golfers from the old rooms was achieved under ninety days. The club now boasts of a modern facility commensurate with its environs and size for now, but in future this will need further development. The club lounge was given a facelift by way of new soft furnishing which has hugely improved the ambiance. And at least there is now an appropriate committee meeting room complete with a proper table for the purpose. In order to claw back some of the money used, the committee introduced small levies, so for instance, use of the committee meeting room is paid for while golfers pay an annual rent for their lockers.

Kakamega gets rain almost daily but water shortage has been the bane of the Club for years on end. The committee had to address this issue as a top priority, costly as it was. The result is that now the club is able to harvest rain water for its use. A sustainable means of water supply. Many agree that so far this is one of the many key achievements of the new committee.

Poor communication and a near total invisibility was a major challenge for the Club for many years. The new committee has addressed this issue. One young Kenyan in the Diaspora, Walter Opukah, kindly donated his services free and designed a website for the club. An email communication system was also put in place. And the committee is working on an enhanced communication system to capture all members, most of whom are on email already.

One of the major features of Kakamega Sports Club is its hospitality. The club serves some of the best food in the town and has comfortable affordable accommodation but much still needs to be done. The challenge according to Dickson Mutoka is lack of capital for development. In this regard, the club development plan envisaged fund raising as a key pillar of the strategy for addressing the issue. But as they say charity begins at home. So it was that, renovation of the accommodation rooms had to be embarked upon using own resources in as a prudent a manner as could be. Thus far this is underway with two rooms having been renovated and brought to what is now a much better state. Former chairman Donnie Eshitemi later honoured a pledge he had made years back by supplying two TVs for the renovated rooms and has pledged to supply the remainder providing that his condition is met; namely that the rooms be renovated and the charges be pegged at market rate.

To follow up the club development plan, an appeal was made to potential donors to assist with what is undoubtedly the most challenging part; the renovation of the Club House. This building was put up in the early 1930s and has seen the best part of its life. It is to say the least a colonial relic in need of modernisation. Chairman Dickson and his team have been working hard and thankfully a donor – Mumias Sugar Company has pledged to fund the renovation of the Club House. It is anticipated that within the next 18-24 months, Kakamega Sports Club will have a modern state of the art Club House fit for the 21st Century and beyond.

And to ensure that these developments are well rooted, the committee managed to unravel the long standing mystery of the Club’s registration. It is rather embarrassing that for many years the Club was literally operating without a certificate of registration from the relevant authorities. This meant that even the Club’s assets could neither be insured nor secured as there was no proof of who the Club was and who owned it. The committee has already got a registration certificate for Kakamega Sports Club giving it its well deserved legitimate position among its peers in the country and operation within the law. The certificate has now enabled the committee to embark on pursuing the registration of the club land and the insurance of its assets.

The nine hole golf course at Kakamega is only the second one in the whole of Western Province and for that matter, the only public one. Mumias Golf club is private property. The new committee has ambitious plans for the maintenance of Kakamega Sports club golf course. Already the available equipment is today receiving regular good maintenance thus enabling the Golf Captain and the Green Keeper to maintain the course to good standards. But a lot needs to be done, notably the acquisition of new better equipment and the fencing of the course to keep off trespassers and cattle grazing invaders. This is yet another of the flagship projects under the current plan.

The club development plan is clear that to achieve the many challenging objectives in it, the club needs a stable good number of members and the marketing of its hospitality facilities. To this end, the chairman and his committee are working on a major membership drive which includes, re-admission of dormant members, recruitment of new ones and incentives for existing members to enrol more new members. The plan covers both individual and institutional members.

A key focus of the new committee’s management is financial stability and security of the club’s assets. It is on record that the club’s finances are in a healthy state and that the new committee is committed to ensuring that revenue flow and treasury management are kept in close view at all times to avoid any losses. In the past, it was not uncommon for club assets and finances to simply disappear. The development plan has clear values which include transparency and accountability and the committee is fully committed to ensuring these are maintained in letter and spirit, led by the chairman.
In conclusion, Dickson Mutoka says, “ there is an excellent opportunity for Kakamega Sports Club to grow out of its old slumber, enhance its services and expand its revenue base. This way the club will no doubt offer better services to its members and guests and expand to fit in the new era that Kenya has now got under the new constitutional dispensation. There is only way to go; forwards and upwards. Come on lets us Go West, Grow and Enjoy.”

Compiled by Shabanji Opukah
Vice Chairman and Chair of Development & Special Projects Team