Gen Z protests: House repair to cost over Sh150m

Uprooted Road signage, outside Parliament buildings, Nairobi.
Uprooted Road signage, outside Parliament buildings, Nairobi.
Photo credit: File| Nation

The Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) has said that approximately Sh150 million will be required to repair Parliament which was damaged by anti-tax protesters two weeks ago.

The PSC chaired by National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula has been meeting to take stock of the damages before engaging an expert to undertake an audit.

Thereafter, the commission will engage a contractor to fix the mess preferably before the Members of Parliament resume their sittings on July 23 after a short recess that started on June 26 – a day after passing the contentious Finance Bill, 2024 which President William Ruto declined to assent to.

Sources in Parliament, who did not want to go on record, said that while the assessment of the extent of damages is still in the preliminary stages, the cost of repair could be higher than approximated.

“The commission is in the process of enlisting the services of an expert to quantify the extent of the destruction. So far, we cannot say we are there yet. It is the expert who will inform the commission of the cost implication of the damages via a report,” the source said.

“It is from here that the PSC will then undertake the services of a contractor to fix the mess,” the source added. Speaker Wetang’ula condemned the June 25, attack, noting that there are better ways of ironing out issues than putting the lives of others in danger.

Security officers along Parliament Road Nairobi on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, restrain demonstrators from accessing Parliament buildings during the demonstration against Finance Bill 2024.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation

“The gory images of wanton destruction and the desecration of Parliament Square by those masquerading as peaceful protesters are highly regrettable,” he said on the material day.

A day later, the Speaker, in an apparent change of heart “lauded the youth of this nation for taking the lead in the discourse on the Finance Bill”.

“Violence, disrespect and wanton destruction of property and blatant attack on public institutions shall not be condoned,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

The protesters forcibly gained access to the highly protected government installation through the perimeter fence near the mausoleum of Kenya’s first president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

Some of them proceeded to the dining area where they ate food prepared left behind by fleeing MPs as others vandalised the evenly-spaced masts hoisting 22 flags at the mausoleum.

The Senate wing, also known as Parliament’s new wing, bore the brunt of the destruction. The office of the National Assembly Leader of Minority that is located in the new wing was vandalised.

TV screens, computers, printing and photocopying machines were smashed. An initial survey of the main Parliament Building shows that the MPs’ three-star restaurant was extensively damaged. Furniture in the dining area was broken and burnt and cooking equipment destroyed.

The TV screens were also damaged. The Internet connection in Parliament was also cut off. Intelligence reports show that the attacks may have been well-coordinated by individuals who knew their way about in Parliament.

“They did this perhaps with the hope of finding their way into the armoury,” another source said. However, in the midst of the attacks, the police were able to prevent the protesters from entering the National Assembly debating chamber.