By David Serumaga
Last week, the debate on the redevelopment of Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium reappeared in the media arena after some politicians accused Hamis Kiggundu the director of Ham Enterprises Limited for failure to complete the stadium in time.
This prompted Members of Parliament headed by the Bugiri Municipality MP, 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 when government 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 began operation in 2017.
In 2017, an extra five years were added to Ham Kiggundu as the developer to construct a 30,000-seater stadium. The construction of the facility had stalled due to politics, court battles and 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 construction of the foundation that had to be raised from a wetland in the 2019 rainy season.
There was a setback on construction speed due to Covid-19 pandemic which has affected the country’s economy since most workers couldn’t access the stadium hence suspension of works for over six months.
When the first lockdown was lifted, the developer had to retrench some workers in order to fit within the Standard Operating Procedures that the had been put in place.
One standard fact about constructing a stadium is that the contractor has to construct it within the international standard guidelines set by FIFA.
This has led to slight adjustments so that the stadium can be approved and recognised internationally.
To achieve this, high quality equipment must be purchased from foreign countries to accommodate the dream of having the first high standard stadium.
The public should not panic because all the employees are back and the construction is going on steadily.
All said and done, we still have hope that we shall have a mega stadium in Uganda since work is progressing well.