The constructor of the Sh415 million Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Kisumu is in race against time to complete the 30,000 seater facility to be ready to host this year’s Madaraka Day’s celebrations.
This is the first time Kisumu will host a national celebration day which is expected to spur economic activities especially in hotel and transport sector.
In addition, construction works on Mamboleo Road are ongoing ahead of the event which is part of the 63km Mamboleo-Miwani-Chemelil-Muhoroni-Kipsitet road being tarmacked at cost of Sh4.9 billion.
The National Treasury approved the funds and awarded the contract to Sinohydro Corporation in a joint venture with Gragab Agencies.
And now Sports CS Amina Mohamed who inspected the progress of the works at the facility located at Mamboleo Showground in Kisumu is optimistic that the works will be completed by May 23.
“The contractor assured that the stadium will be completed by 15th May and ready for handover on 23rd May this month,” she said.
Amina noted that they have stepped up stadia completions surveillance countrywide.
Amina’s visit to the facility comes a week after Interior PS Karanja Kibicho, who led a delegation to visit the venue where the event will be held, noted that preparations for celebrations in Kisumu are in top gear.
He was accompanied by PS Jerome Ochieng (ICT), Joe Okudo (Sports), Gordon Kihalangwa (public Works) and Governor Anyang Nyong’o.
“We are satisfied with the ongoing preparations and we have assured that the construction works will be complete by then,” he said.
Kibicho noted that they will observe Covid-19 protocol by restricting those to access the stadium to invited guests. He said Kenyans will follow the celebrations virtually.
“We will have live celebrations and have various points where Kenyans will access to follow the celebrations,” the PS said.
Accompanying her were Sports PS Joe Okudo, Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili, regional coordinator Magu Mutindika and county commissioner Josephine Ouko.
The Sh415 million stadium was set to be commissioned mid this month by President Kenyatta but that was delayed.
President Kenyatta had inspected ongoing works and said he would be back to commission it.
The 30,000-seater stadium will have a football, rugby, tennis and hockey facilities, among other sports.
The president was last in Kisumu in October when inspected various development projects and launched the construction of the stadium. It was to be constructed within the city centre but there was not enough space.
In December, Raila visited the site and called for structural adjustments.
He said he would ask the President for additional funding so it can accommodate many people for a major sporting event. It was one of the many projects going on across the country.
Raila said the stadium will provide employment opportunities to the youth, saying tokenism or handouts are not a solution to unemployment.
The ODM boss said the country needs sports groups to cultivate talent.
He regretted the low representation of Kenyan professional players in other global leagues, saying Kenyan talent largely remains untapped.