Joho regime rejected help to renovate Mombasa Stadium

Former Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho.  [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The immediate former Mombasa County Government rejected offers from the National Government to rehabilitate its dilapidated stadium, a parliamentary watchdog heard Wednesday.

Director of Sports Kenya Pius Metto, told the Parliamentary Committee on Sports and Culture meeting in Mombasa that the National Government had bought a tartan track for the stadium.

Former Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s administration allegedly vetoed the National Government's plan to rehabilitate the stadium and seized the tartan track. "The past regime refused our input when we sought to assist. They are even holding our tartan track, which we had planned to install on the running track all around the stadium," Mr Metto said.

The committee, chaired by Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama, met top officials from the Ministry of Sports and Culture, including Principal Secretary Peter Tum.

Mr Tum echoed Metto's assertion, saying records at the ministry indicate Joho’s administration did not want the National Government involved.

Kinango MP Gonzi Rai had sought clarification from ministry officials over the state of the stalled Mombasa stadium.

"Mombasa is the gateway to East Africa and a major hub for sports. Kenya's finest goalkeeper Mahmud Abbas honed his skills in Mombasa and precisely at the municipal stadium. How should the city fail to have a modern stadium?" he posed.

Metto pointed an accusing finger at the former county administration, amid claims that the rehabilitation stalled because of competing interests for the tenders.

In a past interview, former County Secretary Joab Tumbo exonerated the former county leadership from blame, saying the delay in renovation was due to budget constraints.

The first local contractor was forced to terminate the contract due to payment delays. The second, a Turkish firm, also suspended work because of the same problem.

The county estimates that the construction work would cost Sh1.7 billion. “No contractor can be on the site if not paid," said Tumbo in a past interview.

The standards of the stadium, built on 8.1 acres in 1955, have faded over the years until 2015 when it was closed due to public outcry. The plan to renovate the stadium on the island was mooted in the 1990s after Kenya was nominated to host the Africa Cup of Nations.

Kenya lost its rights because its stadia were below international standards. After he rose to power in 2017, Governor Joho promised to rehabilitate the stadium.