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St John’s Ambulance calls for help over eviction threats

By Wilfred Ayaga | Published Mon, June 19th 2017 at 00:00, Updated June 18th 2017 at 19:47 GMT +3
St. Johns Ambulance match during Mashujaa Day 2015 celebrations at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi on Tuesday 20/10/15. (Photo:Boniface Okendo/Standard)

St John’s Ambulance marked its 89th Annual Inspection Parade with a grim reminder that its iconic headquarters at Parliament Square could soon be taken over by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC).

The landmark building could be brought down to create a buffer zone for Parliament and make it an impenetrable edifice only accessible to MPs, parliamentary staff, accredited visitors and journalists. To realise this dream, PSC has already acquired adjacent buildings, including Harambee Plaza, and is in the process of building a 26-storey skyscraper at a cost of Sh5.8 billion.

New headquarters

And St John’s Ambulance, which has occupied the one-storey building next to Continental House, is under pressure to move out - but has nowhere to go.

“Parliament is kicking us out of the building. We are asking you to help us get a new headquarters so that we can continue spreading the work of the service. It is our hope that we will get your support,” appealed St John’s chairman Retired Major Marsden Madoka during the celebrations attended by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery.

At play, according to officials at St John’s, is bureaucracy, which has run in the way of the service acquiring new land and moving out of the building it has called its headquarters since the 1950s.

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Although a piece of land has been identified to set up a new headquarters and compensation with the PSC agreed on, The Metropolitan learnt that the Nairobi County has been unable to finalise the transfer after a dispute arose on whether the piece of land at State House clinic belongs to State House or the county.

The piece of land at the Arboretum Clinic is expected to house a trauma centre and general administrative duties, with the service forced to rent out space to conduct out other services.

Nkaissery promised to assist the Service address emerging concerns including financial back up to enable it carry out its duties.