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State plans to spend Sh1b to refurbish presidential residences

President Uhuru welcomes UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to State House Nairobi. (Photo Moses Omusula/Standard)

The government plans to spend close to Sh1 billion on State Houses and Lodges across the country.

The State plans to construct a perimeter wall at Nakuru State House at a cost of Sh200 million, refurbish buildings at Nairobi State House (Sh43 million) and Mombasa State House (Sh10 million), and construct a perimeter wall around Eldoret State Lodge (Sh18 million) in the 2017/2018 financial year.

A further Sh5 million has been set aside to cater for the rehabilitation of the presidential dais and to build a septic tank at Kakamega State Lodge, one of the rarely used residences.

The Presidency has allocated a further Sh10 million to refurbish Sagana State Lodge, a favourite getaway for President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Also factored in the budget is the rehabilitation of the Deputy President’s  residence in Mombasa, which formerly housed the Coast provincial commissioner, at a cost of Sh30 million.

An additional Sh42 million has been set aside for the refurbishment of the DP’s Nairobi office, Harambee House Annex.

The expenditure is contained in documents tabled before the National Assembly Administration and National Security committee yesterday by Mr John Makumi, the accounting officer in the Presidency.

He appeared before the committee to defend the Presidency’s budget allocations for the 2017/2018 financial year.

To enhance security at the DP’s office, the owners of a piece of land behind the office, located at the former Shell House, will give it up to the State for Sh1 billion.

The cost of the land is equal to what was used to purchase the DP’s office building, whose first occupant was former prime minister and now opposition leader Raila Odinga.

“There is space behind the DP’s office and it has to be compulsorily acquired due to security reasons,” Mr Makumi told the committee.

The committee put Makumi to task to explain the decision to rehabilitate the lodges, most of which were built in the 1960s and 1970s.

“We know the history of these lodges. They were set up for the benefit of first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta due to the difficulties he had travelling to various parts of the country. We cannot be maintaining facilities for the sake of it,” argued Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay).

The Presidency’ budget has been on an upward trajectory for the past three financial years.

The total budget for the office in the 2017/2018 financial year is Sh9.8 billion, an increase from Sh8.4 billion in the last financial year. The office received Sh8.2 billion in the 2015/2016 financial year.

According to Mr Makumi, also under consideration is the rehabilitation of another State Lodge in Mtito Andei.

“Mtito Andei has come up in our planning meetings. The first priority is to fence it,” he said.

The committee asked Makumi to provide documents of land transaction at the DP’s office.

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