MPs fault ‘Tower of endless billions’

President William Ruto opens the Bunge Tower

President William Ruto opens the Bunge Tower flanked by his deputy Rigathi Gachagua, and Speakers Moses Wetang'ula (National Assembly) and Amason Kingi (Senate).

Photo credit: PCS

As President William Ruto opened the multi-billion shilling Bunge Tower on Thursday, members were still demanding answers on the safety and security of the building.

There are several concerns about the 28th-storey Bunge Tower, with members taking issue with the purported interdiction of three staff, the security fittings, the size of the rooms (natural lighting) and the facilities like gym, catering services, internet, library and lifts. 

Nation.Africa has reliably learnt that the building’s 25th floor, earmarked to be fitted with a state-of-the-art command centre, is just a room, putting the security of the members at risk. 

The basement parking is another serious concern to members for safety and security in case of an emergency where an evacuation is needed. 

Last week, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula asked members to desist from making unsubstantiated statements about the building or risk facing the Powers and Privileges Committee he chairs. 

However, Senator Deputy Minority Leader Enock Wambua has questioned why the three staff were interdicted, and his Marsabit counterpart, Chute Mohamed Said, poked holes in the security measures.

“They are doing something called the Physical Security Information Management System (PSIM), which is contracted to a contractor. I am told it is already going into Sh6 billion,” alleged Senator Chute. 

“We want this House to be furnished with documents that show the exact position when they started that project and where we are now, how much money was tendered for, how much was already spent, what is the balance payable and if the work is complete and/or when it will be completed.” 

According to insiders, the affected staff had already discussed the matter and gave the media access. 

“There is the principle of build in and built on when safety and security come to mind when engaging a vendor. The integrated security management system project has not been fitted as planned,” disclosed an employee.

“Anyone with a contrary position, let them allow the media and the president to visit the floor. We have also deployed more armed security officers instead of allowing the Sergeant at Arms to have a safe room to keep the MP's weapons.”

The officers warn that the way the situation is, members' safety is compromised.

“We have over-deployment of surveillance cameras; some are dummy cameras. Some are locally procured and substandard despite the contract being awarded to an international firm,” disclosed another staff. 

Documents in our possession indicate the concerns raised by staff especially on the bared seismic dictator, touching on the parameter fence and access control systems. 

“There is also no knowledge transfer to staff through training by the vendor. The commissioners and the leaders have gone for benchmarking and training yet the users ignore and no attempt to intervene has been directed to non-users,” revealed another staff member.

“We need to start to clean our house first. We call out governors and Cabinet Secretaries for corruption, we also need to clean our house first. The Speaker of the National Assembly said that he is going to punish those people who are asking these questions.”


Senator Wambua waded on the interdiction of the three, accused of providing access and whistleblowers on the status of the building.

“I am aware that there are members of staff who are being threatened with being sacked. I am told some of them have been interdicted. What is their biggest crime? Their biggest crime is allowing the media to access Bunge Tower,” claimed Senator Wambua.

“This Bunge Tower is not heaven. Even in heaven, Jesus Christ died for us and we have straight access. There can never be justification for firing a member of staff who allows the media to get into Bunge Tower and show Kenyans how their Sh9 billion has been used.”

He rallied members to defend the affected staff.

“As a House, we must defend these members of staff because if we do not, then they will not be able to do anything. They will live in fear.”

Nominated Senator Beth Syengo also faulted the intimidation of staff for just making Kenyans know that things are not done right in the Assemblies and Parliament. 

“When the media brought up the issue of the incomplete Bunge Tower, that is when things were done hurriedly. Some of us who had been suffering in squeezed offices were then relocated to other offices,” she noted.

Kiambu Senator Karungo Wa Thang'wa said the Senate Committee on Roads, Transportation and Housing is already handling the matter.

Summon the contractor

“We are going to look into this matter to the end. If it gets to a point where we need to summon the contractor who built that building, we will do so,” he vowed. 

Senator Chute petitioned the House to investigate the project.

“The initial cost of the building was Sh5 billion, and it was supposed to be completed after two years. We were told that the contract was increased from an initial cost of Sh5 billion to Sh9.6 billion, and it took 11 years to be completed.”

He claimed that some items are outdated and cannot be used.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei last week, when moving the County Governments (Amendment) Bill, 2023, took issue with Speaker Wetang’ula’s directive, warning members to desist from negative comments about Bunge Tower without substantiating their claims. 

“I want to put it without fear of contradiction that many people tried to intimidate us in our previous lives. Some of us were arrested, persecuted and prosecuted, but I want to inform them the price of intimidation and blackmail is zero.”

He took issue with the gagging orders, arguing that if there is something wrong - if there is no water in the Chamber - members have a right to ask questions about it.

“You cannot threaten any Member of Parliament with being taken to the Powers and Privileges Committee for asking what rightfully belongs to them,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot disagreed with Cherargei on the Bunge Tower issue.

“I am one of those who contributed significantly to that house being there. We did the best that we could under very difficult circumstances. When we found Bunge Tower, there was nothing other than a junkyard,” revealed Senator Cheruiyot.

Paint and open the building

“By the time I left the Commission, it was standing tall on the skylines of Nairobi. In fact, what Senator John Kinyua and Senator Joyce Korir have done is paint and open the building.”

Senator Cheruiyot said the bulk of the work was done by the commission in the 11th Parliament and questioned why Senator Cherargei was now disparaging the building. 

“That building has state-of-the-art facilities and modern committee rooms. I know they have not concluded many of the things that need to be done there, but that building is built well. 

He explained that the initial plan was to squeeze members into those offices, and that’s why they have been partitioned in a way that can easily be moved, to provide space to renovate the current Continental House.

“When we have sufficient space in both Continental House and Bunge Tower, Members can have slightly larger offices and not what it is. That was the plan by the time I was in the Commission,” he stated. 

Cheruiyo revealed that Parliament spends close to Sh400 million each year paying for offices for members.

“The Sh400 million can serve other pressing needs in the country. I agree with the decision of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) to complete Bunge Tower."

Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi insisted that it is important to question why the project had taken so long and exceeded the budget.