Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has not moved into the 'Hustler's Mansion', the designated DP's residence in Karen Nairobi, six months after taking office.
He describes the residence as a shell and leaking ramshackle with blocked sewerage system. And this has elicited mixed reactions from leaders mainly from the Kenya Kwanza administration.
Gachagua, who spoke to Kikuyu vernacular radio stations, was explaining why he is yet to relocate to the official Deputy President's sh453 million residence.
The residence, sitting on 10 acres of land in the prestigious Karen neighbourhood, was completed in 2012 and handed over to the Ministry of Home Affairs, but the then Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka didn't move in. Former President Mwai Kibaki described it as "a convenient and adequately secured residence.
President William Ruto was the first occupant.
Last year, a Sh100 million tender was announced to renovate the home. But Ruto and his allies opposed the idea.
The 10-year residence, Gachagua now says, is dilapidated and in a state of severe disrepair because "President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration cut off funding for the Deputy President for five years leading to Sh4 billion debts."
The Saturday Standard has established that since President Ruto moved out of the residence, it has been under renovation.
Sources said the renovation is thorough with plumbing and lighting being overhauled as well as toilets. All furnishes including doors were removed and the structure was stripped off to bare walls and the interiors are being redone.
The 'Hustlers Mansion', was so named because it was Ruto's command centre from where he launched and later popularised his Hustler movement. He was the first Deputy President to settle although it was officially opened by the late President Mwai Kibaki in November 2012.
The state-of-the-art building features two main houses, each with two master bedrooms, three children's rooms and a guest wing.
The residence also has a four-bedroom caretaker's house, staff quarters which are six-bedroom houses and three one-bedroom houses.
It also has an office block with a bedroom lounge and a media centre. At the compound, there is a gazebo, a sauna and a gym and a 20 cubic metre swimming pool, a garage and a backup generator room.
Last year, Gachagua said he was yet to move into the official deputy president's residence because he has yet to adjust to his new status, and had an attachment with his 24-year home."The things that are going on around me are very momentous, I'm yet to acclimatise, digest and accept the new situation and the status and all.. it is very overwhelming... I will need to take some time but in due course, I will move into the official residence," he told KTN in September days after the inauguration. "I have such an emotional attachment to this home, my children grew up here, and my parents lived with me here for many years. It is very nostalgic for me to walk away from a home where I have lived for 24 years."
President Ruto moved to the residence in 2015 but a ban on public gatherings due to the Covid-19 pandemic forced him to open the gates to his supporters.
Some of those welcomed to the residence were religious leaders, businessmen and defectors to the point where the opposition accused him of using State resources to further his political ambitions giving rise to a plot to evict him from the residence.
More controversy ensued when Ruto complained over the withdrawal of General Service Unit officers who were replaced by officers from Administration Police.
Leaders now claim the former regime was out to frustrate the then Deputy President to move out of the official residence in a bid to weaken his presidential campaign.
Kiambu Senator Karungo wa Thang'wa said some features such as the swimming pool had to be abandoned for him to also focus on his campaigns saying if Ruto fell to a plot to rehabilitate the whole building that would have affected his campaigns.