By SERUMAGA DAVID
Last week, the debate on the redevelopment of Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium reappeared in the media arena citing a number of politicians accusing Hamis Kiggundu the contractor of the Ham Enterprises Limited for failure to complete the stadium.
This prompted a number of Members of Parliament headed by the Bugiri Municipality Representative, Hon. Asuman Basalirwa to go and inspect the progress of the stadium.
I will categorically say that Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium is the “next big thing” that Uganda will have in the sports industry and its work is progressing steadily.
The plans to redevelop this stadium started in 2013 where the Government of Uganda through a Public-Private Partnership entered into a contractual obligation with Ham Enterprises. Considering the tactical and strategic approach, Government thought it wiser with the developer to first construct the perimeter wall and shops that begun in 2017.
There should not be any interruption with the construction of the modern high-quality and internationally recognized stadium. A case in point, if Africa Cup Qualifiers was going on, how would it look like having the perimeter wall construction is
In 2017, an extra five years were added to Ham Kiggudu as the developer to construct a 30,000-seater stadium. The construction of the facility had stalled due to politics, court battles, and the compensation of vendors.
Politicians who undermined the capacity of the developer and court orders blocking the construction affected the progress of this stadium at some point. We must consider that Nakivubo was a flooded area, hence delaying the foundation that had to be raised from a wetland in the 2019 rainy season.
There was a setback on construction speed due to the covid-19 pandemic which has affected the country’s economy since most workers couldn’t access the stadium hence the suspension of works for over six months. When the first lockdown was lifted, the developer had to retrench some workers in order to could fit within the Standard Operating Procedures that had been put in place.
One standard fact about constructing the stadium is that the contractor has to construct within the International Standard Guidelines. This has led to slight adjustments so that the stadium can be approved and recognized internationally. To achieve this, high-quality equipment must be purchased from foreign countries to accommodate the dream of having the first high-standard stadium come true.
The public should not panic because all the employees are back and the construction is going on steadily.
We should also have it in mind that before the Government of Uganda entered into a contractual obligation with Ham Kiggundu, Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium was totally dilapidated. All said and done, we still have hope that we shall have a mega stadium in Uganda since work is progressing and promising for quality output which will change the face of Uganda’s sports industry.