Amina: New stadium for Kisumu, work in Eldoret to be completed
President Uhuru Kenyatta has injected fresh impetus in his government’s efforts to deliver first class sports facilities in Kisumu and Eldoret.
On Thursday, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, in a whirlwind tour of Kisumu and Uasin Gishu counties, issued a new pledge to develop grounds in the towns.
She said President Kenyatta wants Eldoret’s Kipchoge Keino Stadium completed “as soon as possible” while in Kisumu, the CS disclosed plans for a new stadium altogether, away from the controversial Moi Stadium.
An aerial shot of Kachok dumping site situated next to Moi Stadium in Kisumu. Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed and her Principal Secretary Joe Okudo were scheduled to tour the facility, but Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o diverted them due to the pathetic state of the facility. The County Government instead opted to take the CS to Kenyatta Sportsground. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Two days ago, Nation Sport highlighted the stalled Kipchoge Keino Stadium project where full-grown grass dominates the playing surface with deep trenches that were left by the contractor when the works stalled in 2017, greeting visitors.
Speaking at the stadium in Eldoret yesterday, Amina said the stalled project will start soon and will be completed immediately after the government holds discussions with the contractors on how to kick-start the stalled works.
Amina, who was accompanied by Uasin Gishu Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno, told reporters that President Kenyatta “wanted to see the project completed soon so that the sports men and women from the region can use it for training.”
“I have been sent by President Uhuru Kenyatta to check on the facility and make sure the stalled project is completed within the shortest time. We have been in discussion with the contractors and they have assured me that it will be ready soon, once the funds are available,” said Amina.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed (left) accompanied by Uasin Gishu County Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno during her tour of the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County on May 21, 2020. The construction of the stadium stalled in 2017. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Amina also said that to continue doing well in various competitions, the country needs to improve training facilities across the country, and that the president has always advocated that.
“We have been doing well in various events, including athletics, and for us as a country, there is need to improve training facilities for better performance in the future and the process has commenced,” she said.
Chemno asked the CS to hasten the project so that athletes could use the facility to train ahead of the Tokyo Olympics Games that have been shifted to July, 2021.
“It has taken long to finalise this project, but I would like to urge the CS and the ministry to hasten the project so that athletes may use it to prepare in the middle and short races ahead of the Olympics Games.
“We are lucky we still have time until next year,” said Chemno.
A view of the western side of Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County on May 21, 2020, whose construction stalled in 2017, during a visit by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The ambitious Eldoret project has been reduced from four floors to three at the VIP pavilion, with the perimeter fence omitted from the initial plan.
According to the 2020 Athletics Kenya calendar, the Olympic Games track and field trials should have been held at the stadium to select a team that would have represented Kenya at the Tokyo Summer Games which have been pushed to next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The contractor left the site while construction of the VIP terraces was still at foundation level.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed (centre) accompanied by Uasin Gishu County Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno (right) during her tour of the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County on May 21, 2020. The construction of the stadium stalled in 2017. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The synthetic running track is still in good condition but the football ground is outgrown with grass and weeds.
In January 2017, Sports Kenya and the County Government of Uasin Gishu signed an agreement to renovate the stadium with works set to cover the VIP terraces, changing rooms, a conference hall, indoor games hall and terraces for between 15,000 to 25,000 spectators.
Sh230 million shillings was the initial amount released from the national government while the county government was to pump another Sh100 million shillings to handle the parking lot and lighting.
Last year, Nation Sport carried a series on the state of stadiums across the country most of which are in a state of neglect and little has been done to improve these facilities since then.
The CS is expected to visit Kamariny Stadium in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet next week where she said paperwork has been done and construction is expected to end in six months once construction starts.
In Kisumu, the planned construction of the ultramodern Moi Stadium will have to take much longer.
Speaking earlier in the day in Kisumu town, Amina said the national government has diverted its attention to improving another existing sports ground.
This follows a directive by the President Kenyatta to the Sports Ministry to have part of the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground transformed into a world class sports complex.
Amina said this in Kisumu in the company of Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o as they officially opened a modern market to accommodate the evicted street traders.
Moi Stadium was among several stadiums which the Jubilee administration had earmarked for renovation to world class sports venues.
On the plan by the national government to have a stadium at the Jomo Kenyatta Grounds, Amina said they will be starting the transformational works in a few weeks as directed by the president.
She said the project will be overseen by Sports Kenya, a body responsible for all government stadiums in the country.
“We were directed by the president to put up a stadium on this ground. We already have experts from the ministry of public works who arrived today and will be laying the ground work so that we can embark on doing what we were directed by the president,” said Amina.
COMPLETED IN DECEMBER
The CS stated that the project is expected to be completed in December.
When asked about the fate of Moi Stadium, the minister evaded the question, saying the focus of the day yesterday was on the new planned stadium project and the market, before she flew to Eldoret.
From corruption allegations in regards to tendering process, to the heap of garbage surrounding it, the Moi Stadium uplift now seems a mirage.
At the moment, the situation has been made worse by the presence of traders dealing in fruits and vegetables who were recently relocated to the parking area after they were evicted from Kibuye market as a preventive measure for Covid-19.
The traders have been littering the place and are currently occupying parking set aside for vehicles during matches and are using the toilets in the stadium.
The dumpsite, whose sections were evacuated, is slowly returning with many trucks seen throughout the day dumping waste in a section blocked by iron sheets and now spilling next to where the traders are.
Traders who were recently moved to the new location, residents of the neighbouring estates as well as consumers have to stand stench emanating from the dumpsite.
Governor Nyong’o had last year revealed plans to transform the eight acre Kachok dumpsite land into a recreational park to a tune of Sh130 million with an aim of reclaiming it.
The county government had used approximately Sh300 million to completely evacuate the eight-acre-mountain of solid waste that has been a menace to Kisumu residents for over 35 years.
There are plans already to develop a waste management centre at 84 acre piece of land at Chiga.
There Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission is also probing alleged skewed tendering process of the planned ultramodern stadium complex.
The governor yesterday however maintained that as the county government, they will continue with their planned construction of the Sh1.3 billion sports facility.
“The National government just joined our work on Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground but this does not stop our plans. I also asked them about Moi Stadium and they promised to chip in later,” said Nyong’o.
He stated that his focus is have Kisumu as sports center because of the talent from within and the neighbouring counties.
The county boss stated that the time frame for construction and completion of Moi Stadium should be in 18 months upon commencement.
“We set our time frame but things happen such as the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is our wish that when it starts, it should end in 18 months,” said the governor.