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New twist in unending Dandora Stadium saga

Nairobi County government has been put on the spotlight on the continued stalling of works at the Sh350 million Dandora Stadium with the executive under pressure to resume construction works.  

This comes after Nairobi MCAs raised concerns over the delays in completion of the 3,000-seater stadium.

The ward representatives, led by Dandora Area 4 MCA Francis Ngesa, now want the county executive to explain steps it intends to take for construction works to resume and the stadium completed as per the original plan.

A fish-eye shot of the walls of Dandora Stadium in this photo taken on May 23, 2020.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

They also want City Hall to explain why the multi-million shilling project is yet to be completed despite several announcements of its launch.

Ngesa pointed out that Nairobi county government had put in place necessary plans, including the budget for the construction of the Dandora Stadium with a view of benefiting Nairobi residents under the county government’s initiative of providing platform for the youth empowerment. However, the project is now hanging in the balance.

“The county government had commenced works on the stadium but stalled midway for reasons not known to the stakeholders,” said Ngesa.

“With no doubt, this has disillusioned many who would otherwise benefit from the stadium which was scheduled for unveiling in July 2020,” he added.

The tender for the construction of the stadium was awarded to M/S Scanjet Construction Limited during the 2017/18 financial year and work on the stadium was to be done within 18 months from the date of the award but they are yet to be completed despite the monies having been paid.

Weeds around the fence of Dandora Stadium in this photo taken on May 23, 2020.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

However, the facility which was to be constructed to Fifa standards is now lying incomplete with heap of construction materials, including an artificial turf shipped in from Europe, wasting away at the entrance of Dandora Stadium while leaking roofs in the dressing and medical rooms, peeling patches of paint have become an unwelcoming sight at the stadium.

Problems began last year when the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) launched a probe into an alleged use of sub-standard materials in the construction with the project’s contractor accused of using steel instead of concrete.

At the time, works at the stadium had only been 80 percent done when the contractor left the site last September with the perimeter fence and main gate yet to be constructed although seats and floodlights had been fitted.

Rolls of artificial turf that were supposed to be laid on the surface of Dandora Stadium in this photo taken on May 23, 2020.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

The investigations, which saw more than 15 Nairobi County government officials grilled over the project, followed a report by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) which questioned the tendering process and standard of the work already done on the stadium.

PPRA flagged irregularities in the awarding of the tender, alteration of contract specifications, suspected irregular payments and forgery of documents in the investigations conducted after it received complaints on June 13 last year.

Nairobi County Assembly Sports and Culture committee has now been given two weeks to look into the matter and report back to the assembly.

A fish-eye shot of the technical benches at Dandora Stadium in this photo taken on May 23,2020.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

The committee has been asked to investigate and give reasons why the project had stalled and plans by the county government to resume the project.

“I believe it will be two weeks. If they don’t do it in two weeks’ time, we are going to lay the turf ourselves. That is what we have agreed. I am under a lot of pressure so that the stadium continues,” Ngesa warned.

Peaceful demos

Meanwhile, football stakeholders in Dandora have planned a peaceful demonstration at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) on Tuesday to petition the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to complete the refurbishment of the stadium.

Dandora Stadium Chairman Godfrey Okoti confirmed to Nation Sport that the demonstration is on.

“The people have said it is enough and are planning a mass demo on Tuesday. It will be a peaceful march to the office of the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director-General Mohamed Badi to seek answers on what exactly is happening,” he said.

“The stadium is 90 percent done now but despite knocking on all the relevant doors, we are yet to get the right answer on why it is yet to be completed, two years down the line. Our youths, our community, businesses and the entire sports fraternity in Dandora is losing and we now demand the completion and opening of the only public facility in Dandora as soon as possible.

“We cannot sit down anymore and watch as our talented youth go down the drain. We have watched in silence for far too long and the community has decided to act,” he added.

Electronic boards

Okoti confirmed they have informed the relevant authorities of their intention to hold a peaceful demo and had been given the go-ahead.

“We have been to the Central Police Station and gave them our official request letter and we have been allowed to hold it provided it is peaceful. We have no intention whatsoever to do anything that is against the law,” he said.

Dandora is among the facilities that were earmarked by Nairobi County for a facelift. Others are the popular Umeme Ground in Ziwani, Kihumbuini in Kangemi and Woodley Stadium in Kibra.

The stadium had been touted to be the first facility in East Africa to display electronic advertising boards with other features including a reception area, dressing rooms for home and away teams, rooms to be used by referees, a stadium manager’s office, offices, and rooms available for leasing.

Read the Original Article on Nation Africa