Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago and his Nandi counterpart Steven Arap Sang have taken on the government over sluggish renovations at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium.
Mandago said he fails to understand why the central government and especially the Ministry of Sports want to micromanage the construction at the stadium from Nairobi when the county government has the fully-fledged public works department that can help.
“Even if the central government is funding it, they can give us the responsibility of supervising the project. You can’t build a stadium in Eldoret from Nairobi,” said Mandago.
“We have wasted a lot of time waiting for everything from Nairobi. Let them engage the contractors but have us to oversee the work,” explained Mandago adding that most of the athletes, who hail from these two countries have suffered due to lack of facilities.
Mandago said that the Kipchoge Keino stadium can be completed within six months if the Ministry of Sports is to engage them. “I can assure the government that we can deliver in terms of quality and timelines,” said Mandago, who was speaking during the Athletics Kenya Athletes’ Conference at Sirikwa Hotel, Eldoret.
However, Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohamed, who attended the conference was non-committal on the issue.
Mandago said that his county government has undertaken to build the 64 Stadium, Eldoret where a modern track fit for time trials will be ready in 18 months. “We have the budget and design in place. We had challenges with space but we can only put up a training track for trials and not a major championships,” said Mandago.
Mandago revealed that his government is putting a high altitude training centre in Timboroa. “We had started work but encountered challenges with the contractor hence we had to re-tender and work should be completed in one year,” said Mandago.
Sang said that it’s a shame that athletics is the only sport that has strongly kept the country on the world map raging from Olympics and Commonwealth Games yet they have no standard facilities.
“Athletics is one of the key resources this country has but we simply have no facilities for them. It’s a shame as a country,” said Sang, who called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene.
“I would like to ask the president to personally intervene the completion of the three stadiums which are crucial for athletes’ preparations. The athletes are the brand ambassadors of this country and we need to honour them by providing good environment in terms of better facilities,” said Sang.
Construction of Kipchoge Keino in Eldoret and Kamariny in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County has stalled since 2017 with contractors leaving the site due to non-payment.