Sports men and women in Tharaka -Nithi County will have to wait longer as the Sh247 million Kirubia Stadium looks likely to miss the end of September deadline set by the government.
Since September 23, 2016, when the work began, anxious sportsmen and women in the county have been waiting to no avail, the completion and handover of the stadium for use.
The contractor, Toddy Civil Engineering and Construction Company, started work in top gear, but after a few months, it stopped and stalled for almost two years messing up the renovation schedule.
The contractor kept off the site but in June 2017, he resumed work but left shortly after President Uhuru Kenyatta officially launched the work during his campaigns for re-election.
Speaking during an inspection tour of the stadium in June this year, Sports, Heritage and Culture Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed, said that the government was set for completion and launch of the stadium by the end of July this year, a pledge was never honoured.
She said the facility is a promise by President Kenyatta to the people of Tharaka-Nithi County and her ministry was determined to ensure the pledge is honoured.
“All is set for completion and launch of the stadium by the end of July this year,” said Mohamed then.
Ambassador Amina visited the facility just a few weeks after the Sports Chief Administrative Secretary Hassan Noor Hassan toured it and stated that the government had allocated money to complete the work.
On Friday last week, Tharaka-Nithi County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee led by County Commissioner; Ms Beverly Opwora, inspected the progress of the stadium and issued another deadline of September 30, which now also seems unachievable.
She said the contractor has not been able to achieve the deadline issued by CS Amina, but expressed confidence that the work will soon be completed.
She said there are some hitches affecting the smooth flow of the work including a go-slow staged by workers who had not been paid their dues.
“The project has been experiencing some challenges making it impossible to meet the set deadlines,” said Ms Opwora.
She said to meet the end of September target, the government had deployed civil, electrical and mechanical engineers who are supporting the contractor.
However, a visit by the Nation Sport Sunday established that it’s not possible for the contractor to complete the work before September 30.
The football pitch is complete, but work is still going on the tartan track, the 4,500-seater pavilion is not painted, drainage the system is not complete and the perimeter fence is still being erected.
The contractor is also yet to fix the main gate among other works that are likely to take another month if the same speed is maintained.
Once complete, the stadium which will be the first in the region will have a football pitch, a rugby pitch, an athletics track, a volleyball court and a basketball court.