In a recent public statement, President Paul Kagame once again brought attention to the pervasive issues of corruption and witchcraft plaguing Rwandan football. I am only humble enough to request to build on his concern.
Expressing his reluctance to attend local matches due to these concerns, Kagame highlighted the need for decisive action to cleanse the sport of these two intertwined evils.
While the global football community grapples with corruption allegations at the highest levels, the Head of State’s proactive stance presents an opportunity to address these issues at the grassroots level.
If I may add, what the President should know is, when (not if) there is will at all all levels, we can deal with the two evils.
However, witchcraft, in Rwanda’s case, could be easier to deal with than corruption because corruption is part of the global football system from top to bottom, and witchcraft is not.
Kagame’s specific mention of witchcraft, locally known as “juju,” adds a unique dimension to the challenges facing Rwandan football. While belief in supernatural practices is deeply rooted in some football cultures, combating it requires a measured approach.
Recognizing the difficulty in proving witchcraft, any call for legislative measures aligns with the need for tangible solutions.
Here I can only share my view(s) on the issue that should be a topical discussion for anyone that wishes well for Rwandan football.
Legislation and punitive measures
To start with, the government, in collaboration with the local football governing body, FERWAFA, should enact legislation explicitly addressing corruption and witchcraft in football.
Introduce stringent provisions that include severe penalties for offenders, ensuring accountability and deterrence.
Proposed penalties could include a 3-5 year ban for first-time offenders and a lifetime ban for repeat offenders.
Education and awareness campaigns
Launch comprehensive educational campaigns at every level to inform players, coaches, and officials about the detrimental effects of corruption and witchcraft on the sport.
Also foster a culture of transparency and fair play through seminars, workshops, and outreach programs targeting all levels of football.
Establish mechanisms to protect whistleblowers who come forward with information related to corruption or the use of witchcraft. Encourage a culture of reporting and ensure that those who expose wrongdoing feel safe and supported.
Implement a robust system for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of anti-corruption and anti-witchcraft initiatives.
By addressing corruption and witchcraft in football, the President not only champions the integrity of the sport but also reinforces Rwanda’s commitment to progress and transparency.
The global challenge of corruption
Acknowledging the global nature of corruption in football is crucial. High-profile cases involving figures like Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, and very many big fishes in world football, have underscored the depth of the issue within international football governance.
This tells you what you need to know of the happenings across the sport that is widely regarded as the number and most lucrative sport on the face of the earth.
President Kagame’s emphasis on tackling corruption at the local level reflects a broader commitment to ensuring integrity and transparency within Rwandan football.
To combat corruption effectively, just as is with the case for witchcraft, a multifaceted approach is essential. Government and FERWAFA should collaborate to establish stringent regulations and robust oversight mechanisms.
Learning from international models, including FIFA’s efforts to address corruption, Rwanda can implement preventive measures such as transparent financial reporting, rigorous audits, and strict enforcement of ethical standards.
The proposed measures, if implemented with determination, have the potential to set a precedent for other nations grappling with similar challenges, contributing to a cleaner, more ethical global football landscape.
This may sound a long shot call, while others may choose to attach financial implications on it, but, if well implemented to the letter, I trust that the benefits would by far outweigh the negatives, if any, afterall, the fight is the general good of what is supposed to be a beautiful game.
Source: The Newtimes Rwanda