A week ago, perusing through a newspaper, a small picture caught my eye. Showing an athletics coach marking a ground for the training of athletes. I would have let it pass but the caption was longer than that. Its a ground within a school, yes, a school and athletes have taken it upon themselves to mark the ground and donate soil for levelling of the ground. All this, contributed by the delays in the renovation of Kamariny Stadium in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County, much more infuriating is that cash has already being allocated for the project. Almost typical, or just a classic one.
I never understand what happens when the money is available and has being availed to the relevant authorities already. Then you hear such cases of cash allocated being wasted by the county government. Officials getting to enjoy the money supposed to build such mega structures as stadia, and they give no explanation and the general public is left in the dark as to what is going on. Contractors who had already pitched camp for months are left idle and they have to be paid compensation for the lack of work. Its occurring much nearer where I am in Ngong Stadium which has stalled for about three years now.
It is in such views that I would like to recommend to the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Sports, Arts and Culture, Rashid Echesa that he and his ministry set up a strategy that would see that all planned construction of stadia around the country, working in tandem with the CECs in charge of the same docket, to makes sure that moneys allocated to such like projects are done well. That would require serious commitment and follow up, which should be as regular as possible. That means the CS, should sit down with all CECs, 47 of them and have a dialogue about what projects are ongoing or are being planned on to go on, as far as sports is concerned.
It’s not a, b,c , it’s not 1, 2,3 but neither is it rocket science. If we have to be at the top in making sure that projects in the country are started and finished successfully, then a structured system must be set in place and adopted. This is one of them. We do know that CECs are under governors, and therefore, governors might instead be called in to discuss on the projects that they are concentrating on and what allocations they have have and might need for their next budgets if what is at hand is not enough. It is a bad show when a project is started, or is to be started and won’t be finished. I am glad we are in the devolution era, which has had its fair share of ups and downs, and will continue but improvement is what should be aimed for at the end of the day.
That said, the notion that needs to seriously be moved from is, that projects in sports such as stadia and other necessary facilities should be worked on when we are to host a tournament that has international teams and clubs in it. Isn’t it ironical that projects being worked on now, are being done in preparation for the IAAF Under-20 tournament next year July? Same thing we occasioned in 2017, tried for the CHAN 2018, which we failed to host due to unpreparedness. Now, it is key to remember that, we do have other tournaments in the nation, KPL, NSL, Kenya Cup for Rugby, you got athletics championships around different counties almost every week. Aren’t this enough to make stadia and facilities necessary for hosting of such be complete and in good time?
Local championships are just as important as international tournaments that occur in the country and that needs emphasis. We have less local grounds that are up to standards worthy of hosting the first tier league in the country, KPL. That should be a cause for concern and action. I already suggested clubs could really benefit in working with county governments to have stadia in the counties be used by them as their home-grounds for a whole season or as they agree in contract with counties. I will also suggest, the Ministry Of Sports, Arts and Culture, work with the private sector in understanding what needs to be done in order to appeal to the private sector some more . That would open a bigger avenue for private-public partnerships which would see many other facilities that are not currently in sports in the country, put in place.
This is just what I feel and think will be necessary going forward for sporting facilities that are being constructed currently.