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City Hall drops plan to buy Speaker’s house

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The City Hall building in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Nairobi County Assembly speaker will wait a little longer to have an official residence with plans to purchase one abandoned.
  • Instead, the Nairobi County Assembly Service Board now prefers constructing the official residence from scratch, a project set to stretch into 2023.
  • According to Nairobi County Annual Development Plan, Sh35 million has been set aside in the current financial year ending June 30, 2022 for acquisition of land for construction of the official residence.

Nairobi County Assembly speaker will wait a little longer to have an official residence with plans to purchase one abandoned.

Instead, the Nairobi County Assembly Service Board now prefers constructing the official residence from scratch, a project set to stretch into 2023.

According to Nairobi County Annual Development Plan, Sh35 million has been set aside in the current financial year ending June 30, 2022 for acquisition of land for construction of the official residence.

Thereafter, another Sh20 million has been penciled for the financial year ending June 30, 2023 to finalise on the house in the second phase.

The project, which has a total vote head of Sh55 million, will be undertaken by the Nairobi County Assembly Service Board.

This means that the next Speaker of the city assembly after the 2022 General Election will be the first occupant of the residence.

Currently, the assembly has been paying depending on a lease agreement where Speaker Benson Muturi is entitled to Sh150,000 a month as housing benefit for rent.

“To perform final works on the official residence of the speaker, Sh20 million will be spent in the project with the source of revenue being the County Revenue Fund,” reads in part the plan by Nairobi County Finance and Economic Planning Executive Allan Igambi.


Mr Igambi said the plan to acquire land for the project was to be undertaken during the financial year ended June 30, 2021 but this was not possible due to operational challenges arising from the difficulties experienced in implementing development projects in the financial year.

“The county assembly service board resolved to roll over the projects to 2021/2022 financial year,” said Mr Igambi.

Plans to put up the official residence has been in the works since 2013 but the Board has faced several operational challenges putting paid efforts to implement the project.

The search for the residence was again revived in 2018 during the tenure of Speaker Beatrice Elachi with the assembly going ahead to budget for the purchase of the residence and even advertised for the tender in the financial year ending June 30, 2018, but the procurement process was halted.

The assembly had set aside Sh150 million to purchase a Speaker’s mansion which was to be located at designated UN Blue Zones including Karen, Kileleshwa, High Ridge, Kitisuru, Lang’ata, Muthangari, Spring Valley, Muthaiga, Loresho, Lower Kabete, Windsor, and Balozi.

The location then narrowed down to two houses in Lavington and Gigiri, both Nairobi County government properties, and what remained was an inspection of the houses before the final selection. But nothing came out of the process.

The Speaker’s residence has to have certain specifications where the residence has to have an enviable parking space, a swimming pool and a private gate to the compound as well as a sitting room (reception area) capable of holding 50 persons and five in-house bedrooms with at least three en suite with balconies and terraces.

This is in addition to being located on at least half an acre plot, have a perimeter wall with electric fencing and should not be adjacent to empty plots as well as having a paved driveway.