I’m sinking $49m in Nakivubo – young tycoon Hamis Kiggundu

Sports Minister Bakabulindi (2L), Hamis Kiggundu, Vice President Ssekandi and Roko officials during the tour of the stadium.

Young tycoon Hamis Kiggundu has revealed that he is sinking $49m in the redevelopment of Nakivubo War Memorial stadium and the figure could shoot up depending on what finishes are chosen.

Kiggundu, the 33-year-old owner of Ham Enterprises made the revelation last week as Vice President Dr. Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi toured the progress of the works.

“We are doing a modern stadium that has never existed in East Africa,” Kiggundu said noting that it will be a 35,000 seater up from the 15,000 fans the old stadium used to accommodate. He added that there will be other sports facilities like netball and volleyball among others.

An aerial view of the stadium works.

The project has been controversial and some politicians like Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana have previously expressed their dissatisfaction over awarding the contract to Ham Enterprises. Kiggundu asked for support of all Ugandans to see the project come to fruition as it will benefit the entire nation.

“I am the one solely funding the project. I am a young man who is sacrificing my youth to developing this country. All I ask for is support. I’m Ugandan. Uganda shall not develop if we don’t support our own. And for those who wanted the stadium to remain the way it was, we can’t have development minus transformation,” he said.

“I’m employing between 8,000 to 10,000 people. When you look at the magnitude of development and the benefits to Uganda, it would only be justifiable if we all support the development of the project at large,” he added.

Kiggundu and Bakabulindi at the stadium.

Because the stadium is surrounded by lock-up shops, some sections of the public have been saying that the stadium will be no more and that Kiggundu is building arcades. Kiggundu explained that this is a fallacy adding that the lock-up shops are on the outer perimeter of the stadium.

Sports Minister Joseph Bakabulindi defended Kiggundu on the lock up shops on the perimeter of the stadium explaining, that it is the only he can finance the loan he acquired from the banks as it is a long term project and banks demand that someone starts paying back with immediate effect.

“This is a Public Private Partnership. Someone brining capital and government is bringing the land. The money is using is provided by banks. When people saw the shops first, they thought the stadium wasn’t being built. The reason the shops came up first was to help generate finances to service the loan,” he explained.

There will be seven metre deep tunnels to take of the drainage.

Ssekandi happy with the progress
At the time Ssekandi visited last week, 90 per cent of the foundation works were done by Roko Construction, the firm that was contracted to handle the project.

“I’m happy to be here to use my eyes to see what’s going on. I have known Nakivubo since the early 1960s when I left southern hemisphere and came to northern hemisphere. I’m conversant with what Nakivubo was and I’m glad to note that it is being upgraded,” Ssekandi said after touring the stadium.

“I’m a great lover of sports and I must I was happy with what Ugandans are exhibiting on the international stage. I always pray and support for various teams. Last week (Dennis Onyango) did us proud though we lost the game to Egypt in Alexandria. Young men and women are earning from sports overseas and they are bringing back some money home. One of the ways we can support sports is by putting in place proper facilities and I am happy that this facility is being upgraded,” he said.

Ssekandi noted that he had also heard about people against the project, but now that he had seen its progress first-hand, he was giving it a green light.
“This morning people were complaining about this very place, that somebody is taking a big chunk of land. After visiting, I can positively report and support the exercise. The contractors are doing a good job, when it is finished we shall be proud of Nakivubo Stadium,” he said.

The contractors Roko estimate that the project will be completed two and a half years from now.