Hundreds of youth from Dandora held peaceful demonstrations outside the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) on Tuesday morning demanding for resumption of construction work at Dandora Stadium.
The refurbishment of the facility, whose ground breaking was done by Nairobi County government, started in 2018 but is yet to be completed.
The youth, led by Dandora Ward Two Member of County Assembly Silas Matara were seeking the attention of Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director-General Mohammed Badi.
Works to renovate the facility begun in 2018 but stalled due to court cases over alleged procurement irregularities that are at the centre of investigations by the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC).
Matara has urged EACC to make public its findings over the project and the NMS to finish off the remaining works at the stadium which he says is the only public social facility in Dandora.
“We have been to all the relevant authorities but got no positive feedback. The youth in Dandora who depend on this facility are now turning into crime and drug abuse and we cannot turn a blind eye anymore,” he said.
“The facility is 85 percent done and we are now requesting the NMS and the County Government to finish the job. They can appoint another contractor to do it if the current one is embroiled in the ongoing court cases. Whoever is culpable of financial and procurement misappropriation should face the law but that should not stop the completion of the project,” he added.
Former Gor Mahia midfielder Eric Ochieng who was part of the demonstrators echoed his sentiments.
“If it were not for Dandora Stadium I would not have played football to the top level in this country. I honed my skills at the stadium and it is very sad to see that it remains closed despite the promises by the Nairobi County administrators to finish the job,” he said.
“The youth in Dandora are talented and what they want is just the stadium to be completed and opened as soon as possible. We don’t want handouts from politicians – if the stadium is completed it will feed the whole ecosystem around it and talent will stop wasting away,” he added.
Nairobi Region Commissioner of Police Dr Mark Leleruk addressed the demonstrators on behalf of NMS boss Mohammed Badi.
“I thank you all for holding a peaceful demonstration. We have not witnessed any ugly scenes and crime, which is very commendable. The Director-General is busy in a meeting but we have received your official letter and the grievances have been heard,” said Leleruk.
“The stadium does not fall under the duties of the NMS but he (Badi) has assured me that he will liaise with the Nairobi County administration and all the other relevant parties involved in the refurbishment of the facility to ensure it is completed soon. We will also meet the Dandora community leaders within the next two weeks to plan on the way forward,” he added.
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.