Omtatah opposes Busia stadium relocation plan

Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A group of leaders has voiced their opposition to the Busia County government’s plans to relocate the stadium.

Led by Senator Okiya Omtatah, the leaders contend that the proposal to move the stadium to the Busia Agricultural Training Centre did not follow the legal requirement of public participation.

Senator Omtatah has written to the county administration, demanding an immediate halt to the relocation plans. The letter, dated October 16, is addressed to Xavier Panyako, the Chief Officer for Youth, Sports, and Gender. In the letter, Omtatah expressed his dissatisfaction with how the matter has been handled.

He said public participation is not just a legal requirement but also a constitutional one, and it must be upheld by Governor Paul Otuoma’s government.

“The constitution grants us the right to express our opinions on such matters,” said the senator.

According to Omtatah, the county administration failed to facilitate meaningful interactions with the public, even though there was no guarantee that every viewpoint would be adopted.

He also criticised the selective nature of the public participation process, noting that only a limited group of county government stakeholders were invited to a meeting on Tuesday.

“The letter targeting institutions has limited reach and cannot serve as a substitute for formal advertisements placed in print media, TV, and radio,” he said.

Furthermore, he expressed concerns regarding the short notice provided to those who were invited to the meeting and the absence of provisions for those unable to attend to submit written memoranda.

He also lamented the lack of comprehensive feasibility studies demonstrating the viability of the proposed stadium’s location and the absence of viable alternatives.

“Previously, the 95-acre ATC land had been reserved for a public purpose, including the establishment of a university of agriculture or other agricultural institutions focused on excellence,” Omtatah said in the letter.

The senator cast doubts on the availability of funds for the ambitious project, citing current budget constraints. Only Sh80 million has been allocated to the project in the current financial year budget, with an additional Sh100 million earmarked for renovations in the 2022/2023 first supplementary budget.