Author: Phares Mutembei
AfricaPress-Kenya: After a delay of about three years, Kinoru Stadium in Meru County looks set for completion next month.
Construction of the stadium was initiated by former governor Peter Munya, but along the way, his administration handed over the project to Sports Kenya for renovations.
What followed were numerous interruptions of the project, including delayed payments to contractors, rains and other unforeseen factors.
Construction of the 25,000-seater at Makutano just after Meru town, suffered setbacks after the works were suspended numerous times.
But when Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed visited the facility yesterday to inspect the project, she ordered it be completed by July 15. The stadium will cost about 900m.
The CS, who was flanked by Governor Kiraitu Murungi, his deputy Titus Ntuchiu, Sports Director General Pius Meto, County Commissioner Allan Machar and other officials, asked the three contractors to work for 24 hours each day if need be, and ensure they hand over the project by July 15.
She told the contractors that they had no reason for not adhering to the set deadline, now that their dues have been settled.
Amina said they are planning to host some events at the stadium and that’s why the government is keen on having the venue ready within the stipulated time.
The CS was in no mood of giving an extension to the contractors, Toddy Construction.
James Muya had pleaded for more time and tried to justify the request saying there were unfinished works, including electrical plumbing, that needed to be done.
Muya had asked for an extension of 15 days, but the CS and Meto were adamant that they (contractors) needed to work 24 hours a day, if must, and have the work done within 20 days.
He said they needed more time to ensure they delivered quality work, but also complained that there was no water at the stadium.
A contractor, Adan Dayo, said although there is a borehole at the stadium, there are no storage tanks and pipes.
“On July 15, I am coming back here to receive the keys (to the stadium). By the end of July, we will have events here and there is no reason for more delay, now that you have been paid. This is the most expensive stadium we have built,” said Amina.
The CS said the reason they wanted the stadium completed soon is because they want to lay the tartan track in readiness for the planned events.
“We want the tartan laid, so that it attains international standards. This is a beautiful stadium,” she added.
Amina tasked the county commissioner to keep an eye on the project, saying she will visit the stadium to receive the keys to the facility.
Kiraitu said he was keen to have the facility completed and while thanking the CS for the visit, requested for President Uhuru Kenyatta to inaugurate the stadium when it’s done.
Football Kenya Federation’s Upper Eastern Secretary General Ken Rungu said it had been six years since the Munya administration started constructing the stadium and time had come for it to be completed.
“Tusker FC had been using it as their home ground for Kenyan Premier League matches. Ulinzi have also expressed interest to play home matches here,” Rungu said.
“Also, we have local teams, including those in Division Two that need to use it.”
Among the pending works are laying of a turf and having new grass on the pitch.
The grass on the field was brought in when the stadium hosted Madaraka Day celebrations.
“We expect the grass there to be uprooted and replaced with special one,” he said.
Other works yet to be done include fixing fans’ toilets outside the stadium, setting up lighting, having a media tribune and VIP sections.
Kiraitu noted that the roof over the terraces had rusted and needed a fresh coat of paint.