Members of Parliament (MPs) on Friday rattled the Ministry of Sports and Culture for failing to take care of public sports facilities, warning that Bingu National Stadium (BNS) could fall victim to the same apathetic approach.
The warning came amid concerns that government is failing to properly optimize the functions of Lilongwe’s Kamuzu Institute for Sports and the city’s Community Ground, which have been battered by years of lack of proper care.
In his contribution to the scrutiny of the allocation to the sports ministry, MP for Mchinji North- East, Alex Chitete, said the K1.96 billion added to the initial allocation was inadequate.
He cited completion of BNS as a development which could drain nearly K1 billion, thus leaving about K900 million for other sports developments.
“We have failed to manage our sports facilities, yet they are the ones which are supposed to take a leading role in making sure that our young people do not engage in undesirable behaviour,” Chitete said.
His concern was backed by many other legislators, including MP for Nkhata Bay North West, Comodius Nyirenda, who was concerned over the conditions of major stadia.
“Civil Service Stadium, for instance, used to host matches at night under floodlights. This is no longer the case, just like with other stadia. I hope Bingu Stadium will not go down the same way because that will be a shame,” Nyirenda said.
He further argued that the sports ministry’s allocation should have been increased further “because it is largely targeting young people for whom a lot of investment must be made.”
BNS has not been opened about three months after the project’s contractor technically handed it over to government. Reports indicate that the facility requires some K500 million for fixing some cables, turnstiles and a brick wall.
Minister of Sports and Culture, Grace Chiumia, said the K1 billion increase to the allocation was donor money on which government has no say.
“We don’t touch that money and I would like to say that has already been taken care of by the donors, and for us, the money that we have is as indicated in the vote. So the K1 billion is already used by the donors,” Chiumia said.
Her response further buttresses fears that BNS may not be opened soon as no clear response was provided on whether funds for its completion were available.
The sports ministry’s vote— which was the last to be passed—was increased from K5.99 billion to K7.09 billion