City Hall is set to revive plans to acquire official residences for the governor and the deputy at a hefty cost of Sh500 million.
The plan is contained in the Nairobi County Annual Development Plan for the financial year ending June 30, 2023.
The new development follows a 2020 directive by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to all the 47 counties to build official residential houses for their top officials within two years as part of plans to cut on monthly rent expenditure by such officers.
This is after the National Treasury had a year earlier raised concerns over its continued spending of Sh5 million per month as rent for governors, Sh4.5 million for deputy governors and Sh3.75 million for speakers in the devolved units increasing the burden on taxpayers.
Consequently, the Ann Kananu-led administration is set to become the first county government to comply with the directive. SRC has been paying monthly rental allowance of Sh200,000 to the two officials.
“The Nairobi County government plans to purchase Governor’s and deputy governor’s residences amounting to Sh500 million in the next financial year which begins on July 1, 2022,” reads in part the report tabled before the Nairobi County Assembly by the Budget and Appropriations committee.
The document has, however, failed to elaborate on the proposed location, specifications and cost of each of the planned residences.
Nonetheless, the projected amount surpasses the Senate’s cap for such projects where the cost of a governor’s official house was capped at Sh45 million, that of the deputy at Sh40 million and Sh35 million for the Speaker.
City Hall had in the past been considering using the former mayor's official residence along Isaac Gathanju Close in Lavington as the Governor's residence.
The 0.843 acres property was supposed to be handed over to Nairobi’s first Governor Dr Evans Kidero in 2013 but he opted to stay in his Muthaiga home.
Instead, the house was occupied by former City Hall CEC Ann Lokidor until November 2018 when she was evicted.
Immediate former governor Mike Sonko also failed to move into the residence and instead opted to continue shuttling between his Nairobi private residences and his Mua Hills home in Machakos County.
In July 2020, Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director General Lieutenant General Mohamed Badi took possession of the residence.
This was after Mr Sonko had announced plans to move into the house saying county staff had begun renovating the property ahead of his plan to occupy it.
However, the NMS DG warned the former governor to keep off the property as it was now under NMS as part of transferred county function of lands. Since then, the property has remained under the maintenance of NMS.