Nakivubo stadium yet to rise from the ruins

Thursday October 18 2018
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No more. The demolished Park Yard Market which occupied part of the stadium land in March 2017. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA

A posh high-rise shopping mall towers over Nakivubo, lending the surrounding areas a spectacular scenery.
With its elegance, the mall has since breathed new life into the city’s skyline. It accommodates hundreds of traders who ply a myriad of businesses. The bee-hive of activities that characterise this place is worth the attention.

These shops sit on the external part of the land belonging to Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium(NWMS). They are spread across major roads around Nakivubo such as Namirembe Road, Kafumbe Mukasa Road and John Ssebaana Kizito Road (Formerly Nakivubo Mews).
As you try to access the inside part of the land, your eyes are greeted by heaps of soil and stagnant water. The stadium covers approximately 13 acres.

On September 16, 2009, Cabinet approved a master plan for the redevelopment and upgrading of the NWMS under a public-private-partnership (PPP) arrangement but on condition that the area and infrastructure around the stadium be incorporated in the planning of the project.

However, the controversial redevelopment of the highly publicised stadium now hangs in the balance following disagreements between government and Mr Kiggundu, which sources privy to the matter say, are ‘technical’.
The stalled works have since attracted scathing criticism from members of the public, especially sports fanatics, who accuse the developer of failing to expedite the construction works.
Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium was established under the NWMS Trust Act, 1963 and is run by the Board of Trustees appointed by the Sports minister.

It was synonymous with hosting of local games until Mr Kiggundu demolished it, promising Ugandans a better stadium.
Daily Monitor has established that the redevelopment could remain on halt unless government and Mr Kiggundu reach a common ground on the project.
Last year, Mr Kiggundu told this newspaper in an interview that the redevelopment of NWMS would be completed by 2020, with a new sitting capacity of 35,000 from 30,000.

He revealed that the project, whose construction is being undertaken by ROKO Construction Company, will take $49m (about Shs187b).
In July, Mr Kiggundu told journalists whom he had invited to cover the launch of his book that the bureaucratic fights could shoot down his effort to redevelop the stadium. But he did not divulge into details of how government had frustrated him. His allegations would later trigger a big debate, with majority querying whether there was due diligence in the entire process.


When Daily Monitor contacted Kampala Minister Beti Kamya over the matter, she acknowledged that the Nakivubo project had stalled but referred us to Sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi.
“My job was to clear the process for the developer and I did my part. Call the sports minister,” she said before hanging up the phone.
In an interview with Daily Monitor, Mr Kiggundu blamed the stalled redevelopment of the stadium on government but he noted that he had engaged them on the way forward.
“They have pledged to resolve the matter so that I can proceed with construction works,” he said.

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Development. Commercial buildings that have been erected around Nakivubo Stadium. PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI.

But he was noncommittal to reveal the details of their discussion, and when construction works would resume.
When we tasked him on how he could embark on this multi-billion project before clearing all the technical glitches that are currently frustrating him, he insisted that “I will complete this project and Ugandans should not worry”.
Even on the eve of demolition of Park Yard Market in March 2017 which sat on part of the land, a crisis meeting between Mr Kiggundu and leaders of the market was convened in her office to seal the deal and agree on how the exercise could be executed.

The deal
The bare-knuckled clashes that preceded the redevelopment of NWMS won publicity in the local media as a group of business heavyweights scrambled for the deal.
Although three companies had won the deal, it was cancelled by the Trustees of NWMS in favour of Mr Kiggundu, who had on January 12, 2015, made pitch for the redevelopment of the stadium to President Museveni at State House, Entebbe.

According to documents Daily Monitor has seen, the affected companies are Future Land (U) Ltd owned by Mr Moses Kayongo, Bestin Ltd owned by Mr Tom Kitandwe and Ntelefune (U) Ltd owned by Mr John Bosco Muwonge. The cancellation of the trio was hinged on the fact that they delayed to kickoff construction works as per the contract, Trustees of NWMS argued.
However, sources intimated to us that after prolonged court battles, Mr Kiggundu extended an olive branch to the previous companies to redevelop part of the contested land into shops.
As such, our sources said, Bestin (U) Ltd was to redevelop the former park yard market, Future land (U) Ltd was to handle the part of the stadium that overlooks the New Taxi Park on Namirembe Road while Mr Kiggundu would redevelop the stadium and also construct shops on the part of the land on Kafumbe Mukasa Road.

Majority of these shops are occupied while a few of them are still under renovation. But the stadium is still at the foundation level. Sources say that while Mr Kiggundu was given leeway to redevelop the stadium, there was no clear contractual obligations for both parties. The obligations, our sources say, could be agreed upon later.
According to sources, due to the blanket pledge Mr Kiggundu is now worried of incurring unnecessary losses.

While addressing journalists in July Mr Kiggundu assured Ugandans that the redevelopment of the stadium would resume if government solves the technical glitches.
His associates who spoke to Daily Monitor on condition of anonymity claimed that NWMS some board members and government officials are frustrating the project by shooting down his demands. However, we couldn’t independently verify this claim.

The Law
Section 8 (i) of the NWMS Trust Act 1953 gives the board powers to, from time to time hire or permit the use of such part of the trust property as consists of land, buildings or equipment to or by any person for the purpose of conducting any athletic or sporting contests or games, at such fee, if any, as the board may from time to time determine.

According to the Act, the board may also support and aid in the establishment and support, whether by the grant or loan, with or without interest, of monies or otherwise, of any association or body formed for the purpose of promotion and encouragement of athletic sport and games.
However, the Act does not clearly explain the contractual obligations of both the developer and the board in terms of revenue collection.
This means that for Mr Kiggundu’s demands to be met, the NWMS Act has be amended to clearly spell out the contractual obligations for both parties, among which is the determination of remittances from the developer.
Sources explained that due to this technical glitch, Mr Kiggundu feels ‘insecure’ to proceed with the redevelopment.

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New look. The artistic impression of how the new Nakivubo Stadium will look like once complete.

No due diligence?

Ms Connie Nakayenze Galiwango, the Mbale Woman MP, who was chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee when the controversial redevelopment of NWMS commenced, told this newspaper that the Sports minister had promised to update her committee in vain.
“That matter came to our committee but when we insisted on knowing how the contract was awarded to Hamis Kiggundu, we were told that a report would be made and later tabled to Parliament ,” she said.

Ms Galiwango accuses government of blocking MPs from getting to the bottom of the matter to ascertain how the Nakivubo land was controversially given out amidst protests. “I hope the incoming chairperson of the education committee follows up this matter because Ugandans want to know about this Nakivubo project,” she said.
Contention. The demolition of this stadium became one of the sticky issues last year in KCCA’s council meetings as Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago tasked the technical staff to explain how Mr Kiggundu got construction plans to redevelop the Stadium.