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Stadia promise is work in progress – Kenyatta

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President Uhuru Kenyatta walks into a past function alongside Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 10 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has reiterated his government is still working on delivering the pledge of building five new stadia across the country, four years on after making the promise as the Jubilee Coalition campaigned to be elected.

In the lead-up to the 2013 polls, Kenyatta in his manifesto promised the construction of new stadia in Nairobi, Eldoret, Mombasa, Nakuru and Garissa, but a few months to the next elections, the pledge is yet to be fulfilled.

But speaking on Monday morning during the launch of an online information platform to share his government’s delivery during the last four years, the Head of State admitted that is one of the promises yet to be fulfilled, saying it is due to prioritisation.

“The truth of the matter is that we have not completed those stadia. That is one pledge where we are still what I would call work in progress. That is one of the promises that we have made which we are willing and ready to admit to the people of Kenya that this to us is work in progress and I do believe we are in the right direction,” he said.

The President made the same statement last week when he received the Commonwealth Queens Baton in Nairobi.

On Monday, he added that the planning and design work is ready and the government is now working to get the resources, saying they have been forced to prioritize to put ‘more pressing issues’ ahead.

“We have to prioritise going back into time and saying where is the gap and where do we really need to plug in to focus ourselves on the most critical issue which is creating opportunity for our young people. We have to prioritize where we invest,” he noted.

“It is not that the stadia promise is not going to be met, but we are living in a world of limited resources and we are pushing ourselves to the maximum. But we must prioritize and as we complete some of the key priorities we are doing now, we will ultimately get to build the stadia,” the President assured.

He added that in the meantime before the new facilities are put up, the government will focus on improving the facilities present as more investment is turned to roads, electricity and health before ultimately the promise of new stadia is met.

This comes as Kenya is preparing to host the IAAF World Under-18 Championships in July while the African nations Championship (CHAN) in January 2018.

While the World Under-18 Championship will be held at the Kasarani there has been a challenge over the hosting stadia for CHAN.

Currently with the Nyayo and Kasarani stadia closed for renovation, the local football leagues have been forced to scramble for the limited resources available.

The Thika and Machakos stadia, the only two fit stadia around the city might suffer of overuse with heaps of matches being routed there.

Meanwhile, the President has breathed some new life on betting and gambling companies in the country, saying the proposed 50 per cent tax on the income is not final and will be subject to a discussion between the stakeholders and Sports Ministry.

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