Bob Munro stays in Kenya
26.03.2007By Marie V. Thesbjerg
March 20th was a good day for Bob Munro, the chairman of Mathare United, one of the top football clubs in the Kenyan Premier League. After three anxious months since the Canadian High Commissioner met with the Immigration Minister about the threatened deportation of Munro, the High Commissioner finally received a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that the Immigration Department had officially confirmed the validity of Munro’s existing work/residence permit.
“The deportation threat is finally over and I am now free to travel again. But what a sad saga and all because a few renegade KFF and relegated club officials refused to respect the KFF rules and FIFA statutes and their own previous agreements,” Munro told Play the Game.
Munro founded Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) in Kenya in 1987, which pioneered the linking of self-help youth sports with community development and environmental improvement activities.
In Kenya, political pressure was mounting on Munro for months after Kenya’s minister of sport, Maina Kamanda, threatened to deport him from Kenya. In December, Munro was picked up by six immigration officers and two policemen who took him to a meetingat the Immigration Departmentto discuss his work permit.
The petition helped
A petition to support Bob Munro at playthegame.org generated a lot of discussion about Munro and Kenyan football. More than 120 individuals and organizations from over 30 countries signed the petition in favour of Munro.
“We felt it proportionate and necessary to call for support when the sports minister threatened to expel Munro from Kenya on grounds that were not rooted in any national or international law,” said the director of Play the Game, Jens Sejer Andersen, when the conflict was at its peak.
Bob Munro was surprised and grateful for the worldwide support he received.
“I especially want to thank the Play the Game network for the many encouraging and supportive messages during those turbulent and anxious months. Those reassuring messages and the PTG petition really helped make a difference for me and for the sad situation in Ken