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Nairobi County Police boss Philip Ndolo on Sunday, July 19, responded to criticism that followed the gazette notice ssued on Friday, July 17, designating a police station at the Nyayo Stadium along Mombasa Road.
The stadium has been closed for the past three years for renovations that continued long after Kenya was stripped of rights to to host the 2018 Africa Nations Championships (Chan) for lack of preparedness.
The gazettement of the notice raised eyebrows, and sparked an outcry from a section of Kenyans who claimed that the stage was being set for the use of the stadium for detention and human rights violations, akin to the Kasarani Stadium detentions of 2014 as part of an anti-terror crackdown.
Seeking to shut down the claims, Ndolo told Kenyans.co.ke that the outcry was misplaced as the designation was only meant to formalise the upgrading of an existing police post at Nyayo Stadium.File image of Nairobi police commander Philip NdoloDaily Nation
"Those who are complaining are missing the point, what is happening here is the upgrading of the police post to a fully-fledged police station for police to be able to serve better. We have the same at Kasarani," he asserted.
"Kenyans, something terrible is cooking. Nyayo Stadium has been gazetted as a police station. Apart from using such a facility for mass detention, what would be the purpose of such a designation?" one Karanja Matindi had posted opening a floodgate of worried reactions from Kenyans online.
Ndolo explained that the upgrading of the police post to a station was in line with the major renovations at the stadium that are only now reaching completion.
More resources, including men and equipment, will be allocated to the stadium which is expected to host the country's biggest sporting and entertainment events once Covid-19 restrictions are eased, particularly, the Kenya Premier League (KPL) matches for the 2020/21 season.
"How it works is we start with a patrol base, then a police post, then a police station, and then a police division.
"We make the decision to upgrade based on what is going on in the area. So in this case there is activity at the stadium and this is why we are upgrading it," he maintained.
Among other things, the renovations have seen seats arranged according to Kenyan flag colors installed across the stadium.
Also constructed were four new changing rooms, referee rooms, anti-doping offices and a rebuilt VIP stand. Phase two of the project is expected to see roofing of the rest of the stands.A panoramic view of the Nyayo National Stadium as of May 25, 2020Capital Group
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