Tortoise speed construction of Akii Bua stadia questioned

Last Updated on: 17th November 2023, 07:10 pm

Lira | Since 2012, and most notably during Lango Conference, one of the key resolutions agreed on was to request the government to speed up the pledged construction of Akii Bua Olympic Stadium in memory of John Akii Bua, Ugandan’s first Olympic gold champion.

In that Lango Conference, nearly nine years now, President Museveni Yoweri was the Chief Guest. Then, Mr Museveni reiterated the stadia would be constructed as he pledged in 2009 and subsequently in 2011 when he was campaigning to retain his presidency.

To the government’s show of seriousness, in the fiscal year 2016/2017, in total, it remitted about 600 million shillings to Lira district local government.

Part of the money was to facilitate bush clearing, grading, excavation and construction of washrooms, lavatories and simple structures, according to district leaders.

Whereas it has been widely reported by the line ministry since 2012 that funds were there [available] to vigorously commence the work, and later that the government had allocated 1.2 billion shillings for the stadium works, nobody knows where the funds [balance] has gone.

Now, as a matter of national concern, two Lango MPs have petitioned the office of the president to make a pronouncement regarding the construction currently moving at a  “tortoise speed”.

The lawmakers are also demanding and want a forensic audit into 600 million shillings already spent on the ‘construction work’.

Denis Hamson Obua, the Ajuri County Member of Parliament and his Kwania County counterpart, Tonny Ayoo have written a strongly worded missive to president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni showing their dissatisfaction with the construction works so far.

In the letter, Obua observes that the structures on the ground and the magnitude of the work done so far are not commensurate to the delegated funds sent by the government to the Lira district local government through the Ministry of Education and Sports.

“…from the 2016/2017 financial year to date, the government through the Ministry of Education and Sports has been remitting funds through delegated funding to the accounts of Lira district local government and so far over six hundred million shillings (600m) has been spent and yet what is on the ground is a terrace (pavilion) and a pit latrine,” Obua’s joint letter reads in part.

Minister Obua said they have put to the President four key demands which should be addressed urgently on the issue of Akii Bua stadium.

The vocal Ajuri legislator, formerly a parliamentary commissioner and former spokesperson of the ruling National Resistance Movement party wants Mr. Museveni to direct the Auditor General to conduct a forensic audit into the funds spent on Akii Bua stadium to rule out any misuse of the shillings 600m.

They have also asked the president to descend on Lira district local government and compel it to produce a progressive report on the construction work.

The president has also been asked to provide a projected plan highlighting when the stadium construction is expected to be finalized.

Asked why he and Ayo decided to petition the president himself, Obua said: “The construction of Akii Bua stadium was among key development projects demanded by Lango who attended Lango Conference in 2012 where President Museveni was Chief Guest.”

“I wrote to the president himself because he is actually the chief Finance controller (finance minister) who is better placed to answer issues about Akii Bua stadium,” reiterated to this contemporary news website in a telephone interview on Thursday morning.

Obua further asserts that now that Lira has just been considered among municipalities uplifted to city status, it will be ridiculous to have a city without a stadium.

Tonny Ayoo, the Kwania County MP  told tndNews in a phone interview that he is equally concerned about the slow pace at which construction work is being done.

Ayo says he is also suspicious that Lira district local government could have squandered part of the 600 million meant for the stadium because the structures on the ground do not reflect value for money.

The MPs have, however, commended Lira district local government headed by Alex Oremo Alot for donating land worth 12 acres at former Erute government prison gardens for the construction of the anticipated stadium.

Alex Oremo Alot, the district chairman however ruled out any element of corruption in the project and says they have used the money according to the project design.

Mark Tivu, the Chief Administrative Officer of Lira district could not be reached by press time.

Recently, CAO was quoted by one of the newspapers to have received similar complaints before, especially from the project management committee.

Preliminary construction work on Akii Bua Memorial Stadium started in February 2016.  When and how the construction works will restart and finish is a big concern to the nation.

Additional reporting by Milton Emmy Akwam

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