Ministry seeks Sh5bn yearly to buy houses for diplomats


Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is seeking at least Sh5 billion annually for 15 years to buy properties, which will cut on the amount of money spent on rent by foreign missions.

The ministry says it has developed an acquisition plan which will see it buy at least three properties per year to reduce the rental expenditure, which currently stands at Sh3 billion annually.

The ministry says inadequate and uncertain funding due to budget cuts has made it hard to plan for acquisition, replacement and maintenance of properties and therefore wants the funds ring-fenced.

“Austerity measures normally make the ministry’s plan for ...ongoing construction projects and maintenance plans hard. For instance, in Pretoria and Mogadishu, the construction has taken about five years instead of the 18 months original contract period,” Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau said in a report to Parliament.

Mr Kamau said most of the government owned properties in missions abroad are old having been acquired in early years of Kenya’s diplomacy.

He was responding to an inspection report by National Assembly’s Defence and Foreign Relations Committee that decried the deplorable conditions of Kenya’s embassies in 10 missions.

It identified the run-down stations as New York (UN), Canada, Washington, Russia, Australia, Geneva, Japan, China, South Korea and the Los Angeles consulate.

“The iron sheet roof and supporting structure had deteriorated extensively and there was evidence of general leakages. Gutters and down water pipes were extensively corroded,” the report said of Kenya’s embassy in Washington, DC.

In UN-New York, the committee found official residence of Kenya’s representative deserted as the diplomat was forced to move out due to its dilapidated conditions.