Kampala — By 2020, Ugandans, especially sports fanatics will be treated to a new magnificent football pitch, built with an international touch to accommodate various sports activities.
When completed, Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium (NWMS) will give a new facelift to the country's sports sector. The redevelopment of this stadium comes on the heels of continuous demand for better sports facilities.
The Shs54b project, which is being undertaken by ROKO Construction Company, will have the pitch, two suspended floors, a two-level pavilion, netball grounds and the roof.
Mr Henry Ssegawa, the site Engineer told Daily Monitor in an interview last week that the construction works is now at the foundation level and that in the next three months, they will embark on the pavilion.
"According to the plan of this pitch, the second floor will accommodate sheds, office space, toilets while the lower floor will be working space for other businesses. Under the pavilion, there will be a parking." Mr Ssegawa said.
He said that the stadium will have a sitting capacity of 35,000 spectators, adding that there will be three entrances to the gate; one along John Ssebana Kizito Road (former Nakivubo Road) and two other gates along Kafumbe Mukasa Road, and other emergency exits.
NWMS sits on approximately 13 acres of land and out of this, the pitch, according to Mr Ssegawa, will occupy about six to seven acres while the remaining part of the land will be consumed by other developments around the pitch.
"Before we embarked on this project, we first made feasibility studies and designs were made. We are therefore doing everything according to the design because we are building a standard pitch which will not only promote sports at a local level but also bring in revenue both from within and international community," he said.
The redevelopment of NWMS is a private partnership between the Trustees of the facility and the developer, Mr Hamis Kiggundu, a city businessman.
The idea is to have a well-built stadium that meets the Federation of International Football Association (Fifa) standards. After its completion, it will supplement Mandela Stadium at Namboole, which is by far the biggest football stadium in Uganda.Ssegawa further revealed that the facility will have four ramps for cars and the disabled people, adding that the pitch will be 1.5m higher than the upper road (Kafumbe Mukasa) and 3.5 lower that the lower road (Ssebana Kizito road) to mitigate flooding as the case was with the old pitch.
He explained that since the area is waterlogged, they have procured equipment which they are currently using at the foundation level.
"We made confirmatory tests for the soils and that's why we are using standard equipment which will make the stadium strong," he said.
To get rid of the flooding of the facility, Mr Ssegawa said that they have started increasing capacity of the drainage system by building culvert lines that will be pushing water into Nakivubo channel.
Mr Ssegawa also noted that the stadium will have driveways, sufficient lighting and security both inside and outside the facility.
However, he said that they will use imported turf (football pitch grass) to make it durable and unique.
For now, Mr Ssegawa said, they are still on the foundation level and 80 percent of the work on this level is complete.
"After the foundation stage, we shall then construct the pavilion, the two suspended floors and the roofing. After constructing the first suspended floor, we shall then start leveling the pitch to prepare it for the turf," he said.
Asked about the zoning of the interior part of the stadium, Mr Ssegawa said that this will be done when the construction works are done, adding that it will have different sections like for Very Important Persons (VIP), among others.
He noted that the facility will bring many business opportunities to the people especially those operating around it hence many job opportunities will be created.
Although the redevelopment of this stadium had been blocked by other companies who said that the contract was illegally awarded, Kampala Minister, Beti Olive Kamya later issued a directive to have Mr Kiggundu redevelop the facility. City politicians, who had blocked the redevelopment, later backed off when they learnt that KCCA had approved the plans despite their earlier resolution to have the whole process rescinded.
The three other companies, who had protested the redevelopment, were later harmonized by the Nakivubo Board of Trustees. They entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Board to develop some parts of the stadium.
These are Ntelefune (U) Ltd, Bestin and Future Land (U) Ltd. Currently, high rise buildings have since been constructed on the external part of the stadium and these will accommodate shops with the pitch enclosed inside.
On January 12, 2015, businessman Hamis Kiggundu made his pitch for the redevelopment of Nakivubo stadium and Park Yard Market to President Museveni at State House Entebbe.
Lukwago, Ssewanyana demand probe
Mr Kiggundu requested the President that government, through the Ministry of Education and Sports in liaison with the Uganda Land Commission, grants him a lease of 49 years to build and manage a business centre on the land. After the meeting, the President wrote to Ms Jessica Alupo, then minister of Education, over the matter.
However, Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago, who is, to date, still critiques the manner in which the Nakivubo contract was awarded to Mr Kiggundu told Daily Monitor that he is waiting for Parliament's decision on the same to guide him on the next course of action.
"I recently led a delegation of vendors and other city leaders to Parliament to appear before the Parliamentary committee on Presidential affairs and I extensively presented all the pertinent issues regarding Nakivubo Stadium. We really want madam Kamya to be probed and brought to order because her role in the award of this land to Hamis was very suspicious. We passed resolutions as council but she defied them because she was behind all this fraud," he said.
Mr Allan Ssewanyana, the Makindye West MP, who also sits on the Parliamentary Committee of Education, said that he will present a petition to MPs when Parliament resumes so that a probe into Nakivubo land give away be made.
"I met the Speaker of Parliament and she gave me a go ahead on the matter by petitioning. We need to know the processes under which this sports facility was given out. For instance, we are barred from visiting Nakivubo yet this is a public place, and the plans which are being used are totally different from what KCCA presented to Parliament. No Procurement law was followed and this is theft," he said.
About Nakivubo stadium
The 54-year old stadium was established under the NWMS Trust Act, 1963 and is run by the Board of Trustees known as the registered Trustees of NWMS, appointed by the sports minister.
For more than five decades, Nakivubo was home to Uganda Cranes international football matches and a host of Uganda Premier League encounters.
Some of Africa's greatest ever footballers played at the stadium including the continent's only ever winner of the Fifa Golden Ball, European Ballon d'OR and Caf best player award George Opong Weah.
On September 16, 2009, Cabinet approved a master plan for the redevelopment and upgrading of the NWMS using the public-private-partnership (PPP) methodology but with a condition that the area and infrastructure around the stadium should be incorporated in the planning of the project.