Shame as incomplete stadiums in Nyanza host political rallies

James Ongwae, the governor of Kisii County, hosted Martha Karua, the running mate of Azimio la Umoja-One for president of Kenya, on Thursday at Gusii Stadium before Cyprian Awiti, the governor of Homa Bay, held Raila Odinga’s rally on Sunday at Homa Bay Stadium.

Although the facilities have been made available for political events, it is unclear when they will be prepared for athletic events.

The two governors, who are serving their last terms in office, don’t seem to be big sports fans.

Since President Uhuru Kenyatta declared in March 2020 that Gusii Stadium would be shut down immediately so that upgrades could be made, the venue has not been used for any athletic events. The Head of State noted the playing field’s inadequate drainage system.
After a teargas explosion, Martha Karua’s demonstration at Gusii Stadium was cut short.

In order to find safety, the crowd that had collected at the playground was forced to scramble, which damaged the drainage system that was still being built.

Teams from the area that host games at the venue are now required to look for other playing fields.

Those that call it their home field include Shabana FC of the National Super League (NSL), Gusii Starlets, and Resolution Kisii.

Shabana FC announced three weeks ago that they would be playing their home games at William Ole Ntimama Stadium in Narok County.

Since March of last year, the Kisii County-based club has called Awendo Stadium in Migori County home.

Elizaphan Kerama, the club’s secretary-general, declared in a statement, “Since William Ole Ntimama Stadium is centrally positioned, we will use it for the remaining matches for the convenience of our fans who are drawn from around the country.”

When contacted for response, county authorities at the department of sports sent the inquiry to Mr. Patrick Lumumba, the county secretary, who was unavailable.

During the Sunday event, many flocked to the nearby Homa Bay Stadium, whose completion has since remained a pipe dream.

Governor Cyprian Awiti made a statement at the occasion saying that the devolved unit has set a new deadline for finishing the Sh369 million project.

The stadium will be renamed after Azimio la Umoja-One Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga, the county executive stated. Just before he departs his position, he stated that the project would be finished.

The project was initially expected to be finished by the end of June, but it has since missed its deadline.
Numerous obstacles have been encountered throughout the stadium’s construction, ranging from the National Environment Management Authority’s stoppage of work to the delayed delivery of funding (Nema).

Due to these delays, the 2014-started building project has not yet been completed.

“I want you (Raila) to come and open it when it’s finished. Accepting the renaming of this facility in your honor “When they organized a rally at the unfinished stadium, Awiti told Mr. Odinga.

The demonstration provided Homa Bay residents with an opportunity to tour the project, which is normally off limits to the public.

The main pavilion, which can accommodate 5,000 people, is almost finished. The pavilion still needs to have painting and glass pane installation completed.
The playing field and the running track, however, still need a lot of maintenance. The running track has been covered in gravel while waiting for the tartan track to be installed.

The playing field’s surface has been leveled, and pipelines for installing subterranean irrigation were there.

Locals, however, have questioned Awiti’s assurance that the project, which has been stalled for eight years, will be finished in less than a month since he made the promise.

Mr. Eliud Otieno, the chief of staff for Homa Bay County, claimed that the only venue for political events is Homa Stadium.

“Since the stadium is conveniently placed, we decided it was wise to conduct the rally there. The contractor and I spoke on the phone, and he agreed to offer us the location to hold the event.


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Written by Esther Oyugi

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