New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Nakivubo Stadium - Mabiriizi Replaces Kisekka

Experienced structural engineer Godfrey Mabiriizi has promised to rescue Nakivubo stadium sports complex from encroachers, after being appointed as the chairman of the stadium board.

Mabirizi replaces Godfrey Kisekka, who was sacked by state sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi a fortnight ago for failure to execute his duties that among others included coming up with a strategic plan for the stadium.

Kisekka was in his second term of office. Mabiriizi, who is also the Mengo hospital engineer and has been a member of National Council of Sports (NCS), was appointed mid this week with a task of rehabilitating the stadium. Mabirizi was also KCC's principle building inspector for over 12 years.

"There are many problems that the stadium is facing but these cannot be solved by one man. These problems need team work and time but what I promise is that we will have a safe Nakivubo stadium for all users," said Mabiriizi when contacted for comment.

Last month, New Vision revealed how activities around Nakivubo were fast making it a death trap.

Although Bakkabulindi had over the past five years promised that the stadium would be re-developed, nothing concrete has taken place in that direction.

In May, Nakivubo's management issued a three month ultimatum to Park Yard market vendors to vacate the stadium land.

This was supposed to be the initial step to pave way for the proposed master plan to redevelop.

But four months since the deadline elapsed, no measures have been taken. Instead, more vendors seem to be settling on the stadium's land.

Almost every day that passed a new lock-up shop would be set up on the stadium's wall along Kafumbe Mukasa road.

That the same wall served as the foundation for some of the terraces, heightened the risk of the terraces collapsing.

Large chunks of the stadium's land have also been turned into parks for vehicles. One of the most abused areas is the netball court and the area behind the Kirussia stand.

During the day almost a hundred cars are parked here.

In 2009 the area behind 'Kirussia' was only saved from being converted into a bus terminal by a public outcry.

Today, a huge area of the parking yard has been turned into a bus terminal and a market.

World soccer governing body FIFA calls for safety measures controlling the amount of activities around major venues. This is supposed to pave way for easy evacuation in case of emergencies.

Two fires have over the past three years gutted the stadium wall.

Soccer fans could probably count themselves lucky for the fires not erupting during a match.

Besides the numerous businesses that surround the facility, there are also storied buildings bordering the stadium's walls.

This has rendered payment of gate fees almost irrelevant given that action in the stadium can be followed from these buildings.

Mabiriizi's first task is to put in place a strategic plan to enable it have a direction.

He also said that his team will hold a meeting with the KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi and the institution's engineering team to look at the development ideas the city authority have.

"The stadium is not in isolation, we have to work with all stakeholders to see that we develop it in line with all requirements," Mabiriizi added.

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