Why DP Gachagua has snubbed the 'Hustler's Mansion'

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.

DP Rigathi Gachagua (left) with KTN's Managing Director Joe Munene at his residence in Karen on September 18, 2022, ahead of an interview with KTN News. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

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.