Controversy rocks Ksh1b Bukhungu Stadium upgrade

Renovation works on Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega. The first phase is expected to be completed ...
Renovation works on Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega. The first phase is expected to be completed in Decmeber. PHOTO/Kefa Juma/Milembe FM

Controversy is brewing over the refurbishment of the famous Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega that is expected to be ready for full use in August next year in an exercise that will cost the County Government Ksh1b.

The project supervised by area Governor, Wycliffe Oparanya, has been slammed by critics who are questioning the quality of work done by contractors in its stated aim of being a world-class facility that they claim is well short of the huge outlay.

“The County Government is supervising everything to make sure that we even start using it this year during the  Jamhuri Day celebrations on December 12.

“The first phase is already at its peak since the main stand is in its finishing touches,” County Director of Communications, Sumba Juma told Citizen Digital of the initial part of the project that cost Ksh399m.

“The main stand is now close to completion, the perimeter wall is also in place since the stadium did not have one before. At the end of  phase one, the County will assess and determine which functions or activities will be allowed to  take place in the stadium,” the official underscored.

Renovations works at Bukhungu Stadium. PHOTO/Kefa Juma
Renovations works at Bukhungu Stadium. PHOTO/Kefa Juma

Former Kakamega County Assembly Deputy Speaker, Cleophas Malala however, revealed the contracts that were awarded for Phase One was Ksh380 million and the contractor was paid 10 percent (Ksh38m) for mobilization.

The Member of the County Assembly (MCA) for Mahiakalo Ward added anything spent beyond that sum is outside what was passed for the renovation works due to be completed in December.

The outspoken MCA claims a scandal might be in the offing since the County Government is rushing to complete all its projects before next year’s General Election to use them for campaigning.

“As much as I know; if this thing was being done in phases, then they should wait for the  first phase to be completed before they advertise for the others since Ksh1 billion is at stake.

“This Government is only keen to raise money before 2017 because they know time is not on their side. They are rushing the Procurement Department to get their cut before they go to elections,” Malala alleged.

He suggested money set aside for the Bukhungu project should have been divided and each Sub-County given Ksh100m to develop their sporting facilities.

“I think more money should be pumped in developing talent rather than spending Ksh1b for one facility yet our teams have no training kit, balls etc .

“It’s not our priority as a County to opt for Bukhungu renovations and if it was a must, then Ksh400m would have been enough to renovate the entire stadium as opposed to Ksh1b,” the MCA charged.

On his part, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Western Branch Chairman, Peter  Lubembe, is dissatisfied at the slow pace of the renovations.

Lubembe noted the stadium was to be inspected by Cecafa officials to establish its suitability to host part of the 2016 Senior Challenge Cup (Kagame Cup) in November but were turned away by the fact it would not be complete in time.

“We have met Kakamega’s County Director of Sports who assured us the stadium will be  ready by the end of the year but the way things are the renovations could go up to  2018.

“Football  in Western is in trouble since  the region is going to miss out on hosting Cecafa after Moi Stadium in Kisumu was also rejected by inspectors,” Lubembe asserted.

Part of Bukhungu Stadium that is being renovated at a total cost of Ksh1b. PHOTO/Kefa Juma/Mulembe FC
Part of Bukhungu Stadium that is being renovated at a total cost of Ksh1b. PHOTO/Kefa Juma/Mulembe FC

Former  FKF Western chairman, Andrew  Amukowa blamed the slow procurement  process lamenting it affected the project whilst criticising the National Government for   failing to release its part of the funds for the project in time.

“The Main Stand is already at its last stage but the entire stadium might be complete in  2018. The Stadium should be at Fifa standards and maybe that’s why the process is not being quickened since the  money from national to county Government is being released in batches,” the Rash FC chairman held.

The development means Kenyan Premier League (KPL) club, Kakamega Homeboyz who were hoping to return to their home at the start of the second half of the 2016 campaign after relocating to Mumias Sports Complex will have to wait longer.

“We cannot force them to complete the stadium now; we wanted to return for there for the second leg because most of our fans come from Kakamega,” Shimanyula lamented revealing the self-sponsored team was losing a lot on gate collection revenue for playing in Mumias.

They were sharing the stadium with fellow KPL side, Western Stima who have since moved their home games to Kisumu’s Moi Stadium but the Kenya Power-sponsored side does not have the same resource constraints as Homeboyz.

Report by Godfrey Ashiali

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