New Gusii Stadium remains a mirage three years on
Despite repeated promises, renovations to the famed Gusii Stadium are yet to be complete three years since the project was commissioned by area Governor, James Ongwae.
At the launch of the repair and upgrading works in 2014, Ongwae who announced Ksh50m had been set aside for the stadium at the time said the project would be completed ‘in a few days.’
But as the Governor winds down his first term in office, it is claimed more money from the County coffers was pumped into the renovation with Ongwae’s brother alleged to be among the beneficiaries of the tender that has since been transferred to a third contractor.
In his defence, Ongwae has stated Gusii Stadium remains incomplete since the facility is being upgraded to accommodate other sporting disciplines apart from football.
A spot-check by Citizen established the stands are yet to be put up, the pitch is not yet laid or marked, the running track is yet to be set up and the perimeter fence is yet to be complete with construction material littered all over the facility.
In an Interview with Citizen Digital former Kisii Municipality Mayor, Samuel Nyangeso who retired from active politics says the delayed stadium could act against Ongwae’s bid to seek a fresh term at the August General Election.
“Our sportsmen are suffering especially Shabana FC who spent too much money paying for other stadiums and yet we have our own which they could use to cut the costs incurred,” Nyangeso remarked.
Former local football giants Shabana who finished at the basement of the second-tier National Super League last season were forced to play their home games at the Awendo Green Stadium, about an hour away from Kisii town, adding unwanted overheads to the cash-strapped side.
Nyangeso offered examples of Narok, Bomet and Machakos stadiums that started their renovation works way after Gusii but are now servicing their communities.
Former Gusii Business Community Chairman, Walter Nyakundi Kiyondi, echoed the ex-Mayor’s remarks.
“Other stadiums have raised a lot of revenue through development and hosting several functions while ours is at stake. The Governor didn’t consult widely on what was required in the construction,” Nyakundi charged.
It comes barely two months after a cross section of Gusii Athletes led by Hezron Mokamba threatened to hold a demonstration over the poor way the stadium was being constructed saying it fell way below the standards required by world governing body, the IAAF.
Mokamba and co argued professionals ought to be enlisted to finish the renovation works arguing the delay was impairing their efforts to re-establish the region as a rich catchment area for distance running talent like days gone by.
As campaigns intensify ahead of the General Election, local politicians have turned to the incomplete Gusii Stadium as a tool to bash the incumbent County chief promising to prioritise the facility if given the mandate to govern.
However, as the political rhetoric over the stadium continues, the region will remain a sleeping sporting giant with the talent in the area who can ill afford to pursue their dreams elsewhere stuck in a rut.
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