Athletics camp stalls, locals blame it on poor planning as County blames it on contractor

Sirwa/Kaburgei Athletics Center in Mogotio, Baringo County. [Photo: Caroline Chebet/Standard]
A rugged road meanders through valleys in Sirwa and Kaburgei villages in Mogotio Sub-County, leading to an abandoned athletic training camp that once held the dreams of aspiring runners.

The four-acre camp perches on the hills rising from the valleys of Sirwa and Kaburgei.

The camp in the rocky, chilly villages is located on one of the most sought after training grounds for athletes hoping to compete internationally.

Construction of the Sirwa-Kaburgei training centre started 10 years ago. However, it stalled after millions of shillings were pumped in. Weeds are threatening to choke the incomplete, unoccupied buildings at the camp.

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Clear bushes

The project, initially funded by the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), has taken up Sh6.7 million. At least Sh2 million set aside during the 2010/2011 fiscal year d was used to purchase the land. Another Sh3 million was allocated in 2012/2013 and was used to level the field and fence it, and clear the bushes. Part of the money paid for the security of the facility.

In the 2014/2015 budget, the project was allocated another Sh974,793 and it received an additional Sh800,000 the following year. The money was to go to the construction of dormitories and washrooms, a kitchen and a dining hall.

“These would have been some of the most active villages if the training camp had been completed. However, hopes are fast fading as local athletes enrol in training camps in other counties,” said a resident, Simon Korir.

The sleepy villages that have, over the years, been savouring the solitude that comes with freezing temperatures and dreams of the sound of the footsteps of the residents lulling it to sleep have been reduced to a mere desire as funding from the CDF stopped.

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"The funding was discontinued. The last time the contractor was here was in 2016. Nothing much is happening at the camp now. Construction of dormitories was abandoned mid-way and the field has yet to be levelled fully,” said Kiplangat Marinai, the chairman of the team overseeing the project.

Mr Marinai said he had supervised the project for the last five years. His predecessor was also in office for five years.

"There is no water at the camp. Landslides destroyed water pipes. This area is prone to landslides, which is a bit of a challenge. We also need to plant trees to stop soil erosion,” Marinai said.

Residents have blamed the landslides on the county government. They claimed that the mudslides were as a result of poor land management.

"We expect the government to survey the area and plan how to deal with the landslides. Why provide the funds, only for the project to be destroyed by landslides? In as much as there is a need for additional funding, there is also a need to take all the necessary measures to ensure the project is safe," said Mr Korir.

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Partially completed

The floors of the partially completed dormitories have started cracking and the iron-sheet roofs almost falling off. The incomplete cottages are also choking with weeds.

From the records, part of the money that was allocated to the project was to fund the construction of a dining hall and kitchen. However, none of the facilities has been constructed.

"A lot still needs to be done. The camp does not have water supply. Aspiring athletes often visit but they do not stay because the rooms are incomplete,” said Marinai

He explained that an additional Sh50 million is required to complete the project.

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The camp was planned to have the capacity to host more than 80 athletes, Marinai said. 

The Sports, Gender and Culture executive, Thomas ole Nongonop, said the county stopped the project after the contractor failed to meet their expectations.

“Funding is not the problem. The county government had started allocating funds to the project until we started to experience challenges with the contractor. We will soon restart it,” said Mr Nongonop.

He added that the project was stopped as another contractor was sought.

“We are aware the project has stalled. The dormitories and the cottages have yet to be completed. The former contractor was unprofessional.”

CampMogotio Sub-CountyCDFKiplangat MarinaiConstruction