New face of Sh460m Mama Ngina grounds nears completion

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala (left) leads Parliamentary Committee on Sports, Culture and Tourism a on an inspection of the ongoing works at the Mama Ngina drive seafront [PHOTO BY GIDEON MAUNDU/STANDARD].
MOMBASA, KENYA: The construction of Sh460 million Mombasa waterfront project at Mama Ngina grounds that will host this year’s Mashujaa Day celebrations is 76 per cent complete.

The modern waterfront project was scheduled to be completed by end June but it had to be redesigned to include the building of the presidential square leading to the delays.

The National Celebration Committee toured the site to dispel fears and rumors that the project which is near the Likoni crossing channel will not be ready to host the celebrations.

“The project will be handed over to the national celebrations committee on August 15 to enable it to start to prepare for the Mashujaa Day celebrations,” said Tourism CS Najib Balala.

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The committee led by Interior and Co-ordination of National Government Principal Secretary (PS) Karanja Kibicho and Balala said it was satisfied with the progress.

“We are delighted that we will host the celebrations at the new facility at the beach,” said Kibicho who said all coast counties would be given a chance to showcase their culture and talent.

Mombasa will be the fifth county to host national celebrations traditionally held in the capital, Nairobi. Other celebrations have been held in Kakamega, Nakuru, Machakos and Narok.

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The committee toured the facility a day after President Uhuru visited the area to assess the redevelopment of Mama Ngina Drive which he commissioned in January this year.

Uhuru expressed his satisfaction with the transformation of ground saying the project will restore the glory of Mombasa as a leading tourist destination in the region.

Balala said that the ministry’s Principal Secretary Joe Okudo will tour the project twice every week to monitor the progress of the construction.

He said after the celebrations traders who were displaced from the area will be given the first priority when it comes to modern stalls allocation.

“Mombasa County Government has a list of genuine traders. But it should be clear it will not be a hawking place. Traders will be trained on how to handle customers,” he said.

It is envisaged that the facility will spur a 24-hour economy, as it will have open air/al fresco restaurants and cafes, fun park and water sports.

Balala said the project cost would not be varied despite the re-designing and the delays. He also dismissed as rumors claim that after the celebrations Kenyans will pay to access the facility.

The project being constructed by Suhufi Agencies Ltd, on a 26-acre land, will have a 1000-seat amphitheatre, three public squared, a cultural center, five pigeon tower among other features.

This week, Suhufi Agencies Limited Director Siyad Issak said it has mobilised more machinery and workforce to complete the project in time.

Near the Likoni channel crossing a new jetty for water taxis and living boat museum will also be constructed, according to the design.

Earlier Balala revealed that a private entity will be brought on board to manage Waterfront Park once it is complete and ruled out reports that it will be run by the National Museums of Kenya.

The CS said that the government will enter into a Private Public Partnership (PPP) to ensure that the park is maintained to high standards.

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CS Najib BalalaMama Ngina drive