Athletics Athletics

Jubilee downscales grand stadia pledge to 3

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

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 26 – In its re-election manifesto launched on Monday evening, the Jubilee government has downscaled the promise of constructing five new stadia given in 2013 to three.

In their manifesto running up to their election in 2013, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government promised five new stadia in Nairobi, Eldoret, Mombasa, Nakuru and Garissa but four years down the line, none has been realised.

They have now promised to pull their efforts toward three new ones in Nairobi, Mombasa and Eldoret if the electorate gives them a new five year-term in the elections slated for August 8.

The lack of modern sporting facilities has been a thorn in Kenya’s flesh.

Kenya’s winning bid to host the African Nations Championship (CHAN) hangs in the balance with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) unimpressed by the facilities currently in place.

This year, Kenyan Premier League and National Super League teams have been hit hard by the unavailability of Nyayo and Kasarani Stadia due to refurbishment with the few remaining facilities being subjected to overuse.

Among the achievements the government has noted down include the refurbishment of the Mombasa, Kisumu and Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret but among the three, only Moi Stadium in Kisumu has been used over the past year.

Mombasa and Kip Keino are still closed with the renovation work progressing slowly.

In its new promise, the government has also promised to upgrade regional stadia in Kiambu, Makueni, Elgeyo Marakwet, Marsabit, Nyeri and Chuka.

They have also made a promise to encourage and support national football clubs, invest in setting up youth teams and provide the sporting facilities required to nurture and develop young talent.

At the same time, President Kenyatta has promised more support for anti-doping measures.

The country still remains in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) watch-list but President Kenyatta has promised to help protect athletes by sustaining anti-doping education and sensitization campaigns through the proposed National Sports, Culture and Arts Fund, if re-elected.

The country was almost locked out of the Rio Olympics last year, but a race of shuttle diplomacy led by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed saw WADA and IOC approve Kenya’s blueprint of fighting the menace.

The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) has been at the forefront of promoting sensitisation campaigns for athletes by organising seminars throughout the country. The government has now promised more support.