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MCAs allocate Sh35m for Speaker's new residence

NAIROBI
By Josphat Thiong’o | June 23rd 2021
A lavish mansion in Nairobi's blue zones. [Courtesy]

Nairobi County Assembly has allocated Sh35 million for the construction of the Speaker's official residence.

The plan was halted three years ago and the funds will be used to buy land too.

This was revealed through the County Fiscal Strategy Paper (CFSP) approved by the House and contains the budgetary priorities of the assembly for the year under review.

“The following matrix provides for the county assembly priorities; to acquire land and construct an official residence for the honourable Speaker at a cost of Sh35 million,” states the document in part.

An official residence of the Speaker was first mooted in 2018 during former Speaker Beatrice Elachi's tenure.

The decision was arrived at after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission scrapped payment of rent for Speakers and directed that county governments either buy or build houses for their leaders.

The county assembly allocated Sh150 million for the purchase of the Speaker's residence in the 2017/18 financial year. Notably, county assembly Speakers are entitled to a Sh150,000 house allowance.

The assembly consequently advertised the tender, welcoming bids from realtors seeking to sell a mansion to the assembly. Key among specifications of the house were that it should have five bedrooms, a swimming pool, lawn and parking space.

The property was to be in the designated United Nations blue zones, which are synonymous with diplomats and expatriates as well as people working for international agencies.

They include Karen, Kileleshwa, High Ridge, Kitisuru, Lang'ata, Muthangari, Spring Valley, Muthaiga, Loresho, Lower Kabete, Windsor and Balozi.

According to the tender documents, the mansion was to be located on at least half an acre, have a perimeter wall with electric fencing, and should not be adjacent to vacant plots.

The flooring of the house was to be wooden or ceramic and have kitchen fixtures and fittings. It was also to have a library, study room and family/television room.

The plan however ran into headwinds following an acrimonious fall out between then Clerk Jacob Ngwele and Elachi.

County Assembly Service Board consequently resorted to refurbishing the former mayor’s residence in Lavington and turned it into the Speaker’s residence.

In an earlier interview, the board said it resorted to the plan due to budgetary constraints. Majority Leader and member of the board Abdi Guyo said the assembly had no budget to build a mansion for the Speaker as earlier planned.

Guyo said no funds were set aside for the project in the Sh32 billion 2018/19 budget.

The Lavington house is worth Sh157 million and lies on 0.843 acres of land.

Refurbishment of the house did not start and it is currently under Nairobi Metropolitan Services.  

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