Government faulted for delay of Sh6b Bukhungu Stadium project

State of Bukhungu stadium which is still under construction on May 27, 2024. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Kakamega residents are seeking answers from the national government over the delayed completion of the multi-billion-shilling Bukhungu Stadium upgrading project.

They have questioned the slow pace of the Sh6.6 billion project.

Bukhungu Stadium was among the first stadia earmarked for renovation and redesign to meet international standards, with Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba announcing three months ago that the stadium was to be completed in June ahead of the African Nations Championships (CHAN) in September.

Kenya will co-host CHAN with Tanzania and Uganda this year and the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2027.

The national government, in partnership with the county government, released Sh790 million for redesigning and revamping the facility. But construction works appear to have been marred by unexplained delays.

Namwamba had earlier blamed the delays on heavy rains. But residents who spoke to The Standard said the government had abandoned the project.

Victor Mmaitsi, a resident, wondered why the renovation of Masinde Muliro Stadium in Bungoma County is now 90 per cent complete, yet the Bukhungu project started earlier.

Masinde Muliro stadium will host today’s Madaraka Day celebrations presided over by President Ruto.

“The project has slowed in the last few months. It clearly shows that the government is not interested in the completion of this stadium,” he said.

Henry Ombugo said the national government should have left the project to the county government.

“We used to host games and other activities in this stadium even while renovation works were going on before the national government came into the picture. The playing section was completely dug out to ensure it fits the new design,” said Ombugo.

He added: “The most annoying thing is that the works have stopped. Right now no activity can take place in the stadium,” said Ombugo.

A senior manager blamed the delay on the failure of the national government to release funds for the completion of the renovation.

“Every time the CS announces he will be visiting the stadium for inspection, we suddenly see people coming on site but the moment he leaves, works stop. We are wondering whether there is money for the completion of the stadium,” said the official who did not want to be identified.

When he inspected the project last Saturday, Namwamba attributed the delays to rain. 

“The main problem here has been the heavy rains which have severely disrupted work. However, with the rains subsiding, the pace of construction must increase significantly,” Namwamba stated.

He said the project would deviate from the original schedule but told the contractor to expedite its completion.

“We had set specific timelines for finishing this project, but we are now well behind schedule. Therefore, it’s crucial to pick up the pace,” he said.