Inter-ministerial tiff delays Gigiri diplomatic complex

A section of the Kenya Technical Trainers College (KTTC), now known as The Kenya School of TVET (KSTVET), in Gigiri. PHOTO | NMG

A tussle between two ministries has delayed the setting up of a diplomatic enclave in the upmarket Gigiri area in Nairobi, two years since the government said the plan was in its final stages.

Documents tabled in Parliament show the tussle between the ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs that has delayed the relocation of Kenya Technical Trainers College (KTTC), now known as The Kenya School of TVET (KSTVET), to pave the way for the complex.

Kenya announced that plans to relocate KSTVET from Gigiri were in the final stages as at February 2022 to create room for the construction of the diplomatic enclave. The relocation was budgeted to cost Sh4 billion.

“The diplomatic enclave in Gigiri meant to be hosted at the premises currently occupied by the Kenya Teachers Training College (KTTC) was launched but is yet to take off. This was because the KTTC was yet to be relocated,” documents tabled by the National Assembly's Departmental Committee on Defence, Intelligence and Foreign Relations said.

“The is a need for the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs and Ministry of Education to expeditiously and amicably settle the matter to avoid further delays.”

The committee did not, however, give a deadline for the two ministries to agree and pave the way for the development that is meant to cement the diplomatic appeal of the country.

The previous administration directed that the KTTC, located next to the United States Embassy and United Nations complex that hosts United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, be moved.

In 2016, the government announced the college would be moved to the then Kenya Science Teachers College, that is now a campus of the University of Nairobi on Ngong Road.

In February 2022, former Vocational and Technical Training Principal Secretary Margaret Mwakima told Parliament that the Cabinet approved the relocation in readiness for the hub in line with the Vienna Convention.

But the process has since been delayed, turning the spotlight on the new administration and its keenness to boost Kenya’s diplomatic appeal.

Gigiri hosts several United Nations offices with the biggest being the headquarters of the Unep and UN Habitat as well as 23 country offices and several regional units.

The US Embassy to Kenya is also located in Gigiri, leading a host of other diplomatic offices and residential zones in the area.

Transfer committee

Failure by the two ministries to agree on the training institution's relocation extends a dispute that first came to the fore in 2016 when the Commission on Administrative Justice — the Ombudsman —opposed the transfer proposal, arguing it would be a breach of public land law.

But in 2017, the previous administration picked a committee to guide the transfer and start construction at the Kenya Science College site to accommodate additional students.

The committee had five principal secretaries from the education, lands and foreign affairs ministries and representatives of the University of Nairobi and the KSTVET.

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