Ministry to renovate State lodges countrywide

Prof Paul Maringa, Public Works principal secretary, addresses the Press outside the Eldoret State Lodge. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA
Prof Paul Maringa, Public Works principal secretary, addresses the Press outside the Eldoret State Lodge. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA 

The status of State lodges in the country is being reviewed and where necessary, renovations conducted to improve the standards, Public Works principal secretary Paul Maringa has said.

Speaking Thursday after inspecting Eldoret State Lodge, Prof Maringa said that the ministry was keen to ensure that the facilities that represent the seat of the government were up to standard.

“We have decided as a ministry not to manage works  from Nairobi, but to tour regional facilities to assess the situation. We have already been to Sagana, Mombasa, Nakuru and from Eldoret we will next visit the Cherangany, Kitale, Kakamega and then Kisumu State lodges,” said the PS who was accompanied by ministry officials.

Prof Maringa declined to reveal the amount spent on renovations only saying that a minimal budget would be used in the maintenance works.

“It’s normal to have renovations even in our houses. What we are looking at are issues such leakages due to rains, which basically means small budgets,” he noted.

He disclosed that the government had recovered a piece of land belonging to Eldoret State Lodge, which had been grabbed by a private developer.

“As a country, we are operating on the laws and it is important to note that we are not a rogue country. On issues of looting of public land, we are keen to stem this vice,” said Prof Maringa.

He added that the private developer had not gone to court to contest the decision to repossess the land.

The National Land Commission (NLC) last year held a meeting with aggrieved parties in Eldoret town where they later ruled that the private developer had illegally hived off the piece of land.

During the NLC tour of the North Rift last year, it was established that Eldoret State Lodge was among those allegedly annexed and new title deeds issued to a private developer.

The commission led by chairman Muhammed Swazuri also received a report from the County Executive in charge of Land in Uasin-Gishu, Robert Ngesirey, indicating that more than 500 public plots in Eldoret had been grabbed.

They include the plot where Governor Jackson Mandago’s office sits in the town, the High Court, Ardhi House, Administration Police lines, the fire station and the Uasin-Gishu District Hospital.

Dr Swazuri said that the commission had also launched investigations into how land belonging to seven State lodges across the country was grabbed.

Consequently, the commission cautioned members of the public against transacting in land near any State lodge.

Apart from Eldoret, other grabbed plots belonging to State lodges are in Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Kakamega, Mtito Andei and Kitale.

Titles have reportedly already been issued for the Kitale, Mombasa and Mtito Andei lodges.

Dr Swazuri ordered that caveats be issued on land belonging to the State lodges to stop any transactions or transfer of the acquisitions in question.

He said the individuals who had grabbed the State lodges were not yet known, as most of the land was registered under company names.

“Most of the details in the Land Registry have been altered, but we will do our best to get to the bottom of these acts of impunity. Public land has to be used for public purposes,” said Dr Swazuri.

On the government’s bid to bridge the decent housing gap in the country, Prof Maringa said that there are plans to build affordable 250,000 housing units on an annual basis.