Let NYS take over projects, Nyeri leaders tell State

Ruring'u Stadium in Nyeri County. A planned upgrade stalled after the contractor abandoned the site. [Lydiah Nyawira, Standard]

Construction Ruring’u Stadium in Nyeri County has stalled, despite it already gobbling up Sh64 million of the Sh320 million contract sum.

The project was expected to change the face of sports in Mt Kenya, but construction works stopped just three months in.

The stadium, according to plan, was to have the capacity to host 20,000 fans, a tartan track, a VIP terrace with changing rooms, a sports gallery, and a shop and restaurant in its first phase.

The second phase was to construct a swimming pool, basketball and volleyball courts, and a warm-up track.

Works on the first phase, however, stopped almost as soon as they began. The stadium is now characterised by overgrown weeds, with little activity witnessed on it outside of livestock grazing and friendly kickabouts.

A dais, built before independence, is the only structure on site.

Last month, documents presented before the National Assembly Committee on Sports by Sports Kenya indicated that works on various stadia that were to be upgraded across the country have stalled, with contractors abandoning sites due to pending bills amounting to Sh898 million.

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In the case of Ruring’u Stadium, the report indicated that 30 per cent of the work had been done by the time the project was abandoned. However, when The Standard visited the site, the evidence of this was not apparent.

The documents indicated that an additional Sh255 million was required complete the project.

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, while on a visit of the facility, said he did not understand why the project stalled.

“We know the Sports and Culture Fund has enough money to complete all the projects. I know for a fact that the fund has more than Sh5 billion, and this money is supposed to pay for these stadiums. It remains unclear to us why the money is not being utilised to complete these projects,” he said.

He added that an audit conducted by the government indicated that the State does not owe any contractor any money.

“It is these contractors who owe the government, yet they have abandoned the sites.”

Mr Wambugu said the government should hand over the stadia project to the National Youth Service (NYS) to complete it.

“Ruring’u is a project of the Executive, and therefore a legal framework should be implemented, making it a strategic national installation, and place it under NYS for faster implementation,” he said.

Abandoned site

In Kiambu County, Karatu Stadium, which was supposed to cost Sh259 million, has so far gobbled up Sh62 million.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had promised to ensure the stadium is completed. Located in Gatundu South, the stadium was handed over to the contractor who was expected to complete the first phase in five months.

Ndarugu MCA Stephen Maina Kahinga said the contractor abandoned the site over claims of non-payment for work done.

“The project stalled over a year ago. The contractor has even removed his machine from site,” he said.

It is a similar situation at Tharaka-Nithi’s Chuka Stadium, where works stalled this year. The stadium was to have the capacity for 4,500 people on five acres of land donated by the Mugwe community.

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Ruring’u StadiumNyeri CountyNyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu