What you need to know:
- The National Government will partner with Homa Bay County to ensure the completion of the Sh369 million Homa Bay Stadium whose construction started in 2014
- President William Ruto, while on a tour of the county in January 13, committed to help Governor Gladys Wanga’s administration complete construction of the sports facility
- The President said the support from his government to the county will include putting up spectator stands around the stadium
After many delays Homa Bay county will soon be the proud owner of a world class stadium.
The National Government will partner with Homa Bay County to ensure the completion of the Sh369 million Homa Bay Stadium whose construction started in 2014.
The stadium will be oval-shaped with a capacity to accommodate 20,000 people.
Construction workers are racing against time to complete the first phase of the multimillion project and then receive state funds to finish the entire project.
Ongoing work includes erecting a 5,000-capacity main pavilion.
President William Ruto, while on a tour of the county in January 13, committed to help Governor Gladys Wanga’s administration complete construction of the sports facility.
Ruto said the national government will however inject funds towards the project upon completion of the first phase.
The first phase involves site clearing, levelling of the playing ground, erecting the main pavilion, laying of the foundation for the running track, installation of underground irrigation and a drainage system.
"I can see you have an incomplete stadium. The national government is ready to offer help in setting up other structures that will make it a complete sports facility," Ruto said during his visit.
The President said the support from his government to the county will include putting up spectator stands around the stadium.
"I am here for development. I commit to support the county government in the remaining works," the head of state assured.
On a visit to the county a week later, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba noted that county governments were still struggling to put up sports facilities. He said the lack of these facilities was hindering talent development.
Namwamba however assured governors that the state will help them build stadiums and Homa Bay was among counties that would benefit.
"We will take over the construction of this stadium once the first phase is complete.
“We will build spectator stands, ablution block and other features," said the CS.
The second phase will involve construction of another four pavilions each with a capacity of 3,000, six other stands with a capacity of 2,000 each, an inner perimeter wall and a tartan track.
The county has no single tartan track at the moment forcing budding athletes to travel to other regions to train.
Construction of the stadium started in 2014 and was initiated by then Governor Cyprian Awiti.
However, completion of the project has been elusive with the county government repeatedly setting new dates that have come and passed.
In 2019, former Auditor General Edward Ouko released a report revealing that one of the contractors was paid despite not completing work contracted.
The contractor, Manjano Enterprises Limited, was to build a perimeter wall and related works for the stadium at a cost of Sh28 Million.
However, the firm was paid Sh5million only to move away from the site.
The project has had other challenges too. The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) at one time suspended construction because of lack of an environmental impact assessment.
The county Sports Executive Sarah Malit has her fingers crossed that the first phase of the project will be completed soon before the county government can seek support from the central government.
“The first phase is 95 per cent complete. I cannot set a definite date when it will be 100 per cent done but I am sure it will be in a few weeks time," said Malit.
A spot check by Nation Sport has established that levelling has been done and grass planted on the playing surface while major works have been done on the main pavilion.
"We will finally build a perimeter wall around the facility to complete the first phase," said Malit.
For now, corrugated iron sheets stand as the fence.
Malit said construction workers will also spend the next few weeks laying cabro parking.
"We don't have money for phase two that is why we want to complete the first phase in order to get support from the government," Malit said.
Governor Wanga said completing Homa Bay Stadium is one of her priorities. The county has no sports facility worth mentioning.