Jubilee government has finally bowed to public pressure to deliver the eleven world class Stadiums they promised Kenyans in 2013. This comes shortly after Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr chastised the regime for using the sports industry as a campaign tool and arm-twisting the youth in their tenure. “I want to remind you that you promised us to build a Stadium in Makueni” a furious Mutula took a swipe on the government at Kalawa early this month.
Mutula’s words seem to have hit Jubilee government hard,after naming and ashaming UhuRuto due money has been set aside to roll out the programme. The country is now set to have the 11 new proposed stadiums completed by the end of 2020,if the words of Deputy President William Ruto are anything to go by. The jubilee leader told members of the press that all pledged stadia will be completed in a year’s time and a sports facility constructed in every county to nature talent.
While making a special appearance in the MKJ tournament in Makueni the vocal senator warned the Jubilee regime against taking Kenyans for a ride with fake election promises. He cautioned that Makueni youth just like many other Kenyans were losing patience with unfulfilled pledges like Wote Stadium which would be resourceful to growing talent in the County.
But on a quick rejoinder Sports CS Amina Mohamed said that all contractors who had left site have agreed to go back to site after a long term financial standoff. Poor infrastructure is to blame for major sporting setbacks like Kenya losing to opportunity to host Chan which was a good opportunity to market herself and prove that we are a safe destination despite previous terror attacks.
This comes against the backdrop of wide corruption allegations in government sporting department and accusations of media being used as a platform to propagate PR stunts in sporting infrastructure. According to reports by the Auditor General Sh.2.8bn out of the of the money set aside for construction of the stadiums has been embezzled and work stalled after the contractors quit site.
“When we visited the proposed stadia but only 10% – 20% of the work has been done seven years after the pledge” said Machakos Township MP Victor Munyaka who chairs the Sports Committee in National Assembly. “In some cases money might have been wasted while in other cases contractors left the site coz they were either underfunded or not funded” he added noting that the committee’s report that is due in two weeks recommends that contractors should to go back to site.
According to Munyaka the contractors were paid Sh.700 Million and projects have stalled due to underfunding and lack of government support on sporting. “Parliment has passed a bill that seeks to have 291 sports academies across Kenyan constituencies and 35% of all taxes collected from betting industry will be go to construction of sporting facilities” said Munyaka who called on investigative agencies to go on the ground and Parliament to order a special audit on the alleged fraud.
However stakeholders have raised eyebrows as focus shifts to Parliament, history of underfunding and contempt on sporting in Kenya might be repeating itself. During a budgetary presentation in parliament early this year, the ousted finance minister Henry Rotich said that 80% of funds set aside for sporting will be cannibalised by the big four agenda. This comes shortly after a section of media personalities were harassed by security while covering the state of Nyayo stadium.
” According to the sporting committee only Kasarani Safaricom Stadium has met qualification for international standards of sporting despite the much-hyped stadiums by County Governments.
According to Mutula Jnr Makueni has alot of potential talents but they have no quality play grounds leave alone academies for most young people to nature talent especially on the hilly topography areas. He called on Counties to allocate be more resources to build stadiums and support sporting activities. This comes as former civic aspirant Julius Musau of Mbitini Ward suspends his annual football tournament after a newly renovated Manooni stadium was destroyed by rains.
“I warned that the Sh.10 Million set aside by the County to construct the football pitch should not be reduced to sh.2Million but the PMC colluded with Ward admin and MCA to reallocate a big percentage and do this shoddy job” Julius lamented noting that the PMC have become cash cows and avenues where leaders and contractors sway PMCs to manipulate money meant for development.