Barasa surrenders stalled hospital, Bukhungu stadium to state

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The national government has agreed to take over the stalled Sh10 billion Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Governor Fernandes Barasa's administration has also surrendered Bukhungu Stadium, which is currently under construction, to the state.

Barasa said the Level Six referral hospital is a national government facility and he engaged President William Ruto while in South Korea to take over construction of the mega projects. 

“I am sure our Members of County Assembly passed a resolution to transfer the Level Six hospital to the national government, what did not take place was the change of regime, the new regime could not just take it immediately," said the governor.

"Because we are the vision carriers of the county government, I had a conversation with the President when I was in Korea and we have agreed that he is going to take up and complete both the Level Six hospital and Bukhungu International Stadium,” said Barasa.

He argued that other counties are sparing money instead of injecting it in priority projects while his administration is investing in huge projects.

“Around Sh2.4 billion was put in Level Six hospital and so far another Sh2 billion has been spent on Bukhungu Stadium while our neighbours in Bungoma have their stadium being constructed by the national government and the money that is out there as the equitable share is now allocated as a priority function,” said the governor.

“As we proceed to interrogate the 2024/2025 budget, we have a conversation with the CECM of Sports so we also have a proper cut-off, the national government may complete Bukhungu before December 2026 and hand the facility to us to run and this is going to be a regional project, same applies to the Level Six hospital which is going to serve the Lake Region Economic Bloc,” he added.

Two years ago, the county assembly passed a unanimous motion seeking to transfer the hospital to the national government for completion.

During the debate on the motion, MCAs said residents of Kakamega supported the county government’s plan to surrender the multi-billion-shilling project to the national government.

The MCAs argued that the money earmarked for the Level Six hospital should be directed to improving health facilities.

Recently the governor announced plans to complete stalled flagship projects that were started by his predecessor Wycliffe Oparanya.

Barasa noted that at least Sh5.5 billion was required to complete the Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital (Level Six) and Bukhungu Stadium.

He revealed that he had engaged the Apollo Hospital from India to complete the Level Six hospital through public private partnership (PPP).

In the first phase, construction of the facility was to cost Sh4.5 billion but so far, Sh2.5 billion has been used and another Sh2 billion is required to equip it.

However, the 750-bed-capacity project stalled three years ago after the contractor, China Railway Jiangsu Engineering (East Africa), abandoned it in February 2020 over unpaid dues.

The governor said the level six hospital will be a game changer in creating jobs and providing affordable quality healthcare.

Last year during a tour of Kakamega, President Ruto promised to allocate Sh3 billion towards completion and equipping of the referral hospital.