MPs question allocation of Sh2.6bn for renovation of Gachagua’s office

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

Photo credit: DPCS

What you need to know:

  • Among the notable allocations for the DP include Sh2.5 million for the purchase of household appliances.
  • Others include Sh87 million for the purchase of ICT equipment and Sh2.1 million for laundry expenses.

Members of the National Assembly have raised questions over the proposed allocation of some Sh2.6 billion to the Office of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua in the next financial year.

The lawmakers took issue with, among other things, an allocation to renovate Mr Gachagua’s Harambee Annex office and Karen residence.

Among the figures queried by the Committee on Administration and Internal Security are Sh460 million earmarked for the refurbishment of the DP’s office at Harambee Annex and another Sh660 million set for the refurbishment of his Karen official home.

Also questioned by the committee chaired by Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo is the allocation of Sh800 million for the DP’s confidential expenditure, Sh250 million for the fight against drug abuse, Sh250 million for the purchase of medals and insignias and Sh200 million for the purchase of motor vehicles.

Mr Tongoyo questioned the refurbishment of the DP’s office, saying the building does not requirement much work.

“I know that there are some issues. I have been there and the lifts are not working, but the building is not that old,” Mr Tongoyo said.

Other notable allocations for the DP include Sh2.5 million for the purchase of household appliances, Sh37.5 million for the purchase of office furniture and fittings and Sh2 million for the purchase of educational aids and related equipment.

Others include Sh87 million for the purchase of ICT networking and communication equipment, Sh2.1 million for laundry expenses, Sh5 million for counselling services, Sh56 million for travel allowances, Sh91 million for accommodation, Sh17 million entertainment allowance, Sh520,000 gas expenses and Sh10 million for internet connectivity.

Appearing before the committee on Wednesday to defend the budget, Principal Administrative Secretary in the Office of the DP Patrick Keige said the continuous lack of maintenance has necessitated a facelift of major functional areas and security systems of the building.

On the Sh250 million already spent on the fight against alcoholism, Mr Keige told MPs the money was used to, among other things, undertake vetting of all alcohol manufacturers as well as how they manufacture and pack their products.

He said the programme was set for rollout in Nyanza, Western and Northern regions, but was halted due to the heavy rains.

Documents presented before the committee indicate that the Sh250 million was withdrawn in April under Article 223 of the Constitution for the implementation of the alcohol, drugs and substance abuse programme, and the State is now seeking regularisation from Parliament.

Mr Keige said the DP’s office tasked to convene fora to candidly and exhaustively examine the root causes, extent and impact of this growing disaster with an aim of offering solutions across the most affected counties.

However, Loima MP Protus Akujah questioned the expenditure, saying as a committee they have never seen any officer from the DP coming to the committee seeking for approval.

“Was this approved by this committee, I cannot remember anyone coming before this committee seeking approval,” Mr Akujah said.

Nakuru Woman Representative Liza Chelule said the drug menace is a concern to all elected leaders, adding that part of the money should be used to build rehabilitation centres in every constituency.

Laikipia North MP Sarah Korere called on the DP’s office to provide an itemised list on the utilisation of the Sh250 million.

On the Sh250 million that has been allocated for the purchase of medals and insignia, Mr Tongoyo questioned the type of medals that will be bought, saying the allocation is too much and extravagant at a time when the country is struggling.

“Are we talking about the normal insignias? Don’t you think we are becoming extravagant considering our situation as a country?” asked Mr Tongoyo.

Mr Keige defended the allocation, saying President William Ruto has honoured many Kenyans during national holidays celebrations based on the recommendations of the national and county government committee reports.

However, he said most of those honoured are yet to be presented with the actual honour, insignia and medals awarded in December 2022 and June 2023.

The office had requested for Sh500 million in the FY 2024/2025 to procure the required medals before the next award ceremony, but received Sh250 million.

The Executive Order No.2 of 2023 issued by President Ruto on the reorganisation of government functions had mandated the Office of the Deputy President to coordinate the conferment of medals and awards through the National and County advisory committee in line with the National Honours Act ,2023.

On the Sh200 million allocation for the purchase of cars, Mr Keige said most officers at the DP’s office use Uber and personal cars to attend official meetings hence the justification for new cars.

“Most of us use Uber and personal cars. It’s the reality. I have allowed the officers to claim for the use of Uber,” he said.