•The tender for the speaker’s house triggered wrangles between former Speaker Beatrice Elachi and former assembly clerk Jacob Ngwele.
• House should be located in UN Blue Zones of Spring Valley, Kitisuru, Kileleshwa, Loresho, High Ridge, Lower Kabete and Windsor, among other places.
The Nairobi County Assembly is to spend Sh35 million to buy land and construct an official residence for the speaker.
It will spend Sh15 million this financial year and Sh20 in the next financial year to make the residence ready for occupancy in 2023.
The County Assembly Service Board has faced operational challenges to implement the long-standing plans.
The assembly had planned to undertake three main projects in the last financial year.
They were the construction of the speaker's official residence, purchase of the assembly administration block and rehabilitation of ward offices. They were outlined in the annual development plan for 2022-23.
However, in the plan by finance executive Allan Igambi, the projects were rolled over to the current financial year. The delay was revealed in the plan tabled in the assembly last week.
“This [project implementation] was not possible due to challenges experienced in implementing the 2020-21 development projects. [And thus] the assembly Service Board resolved to roll over the projects to 2021-22," the plan reads.
The finance chief said the public service board will spend Sh20 million to finalise the construction of the house in the next financial year, 2022-23.
“To perform final works on the official residence of the speaker, Sh20 million will be spent ... from the County Revenue Fund,” the plan reads.
This means the fourth speaker of the county assembly will be the first to move into the residence.
Efforts to have an official speaker's residence have been underway for several years.
The county has been paying to lease a residence; the speaker is entitled to a Sh150,000 per month housing benefit.
In FY 2017-18, the assembly budgeted for a residence and even advertised the tender, but procurement was halted.
The assembly had set aside Sh150 million to purchase the speaker’s mansion to be located at designated UN Blue Zones. They include Karen, Kileleshwa, High Ridge, Kitisuru, Lang’ata, Muthangari, Spring Valley, Muthaiga, Loresho, Lower Kabete, Windsor and Balozi.
The tender for the house in 2018 triggered a dispute between former assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi and former assembly clerk Jacob Ngwele.
In FY 2018-19, the search had been narrowed down to two houses in Lavington and Gigiri, both owned by the county.
The one in Lavington had been the mayor's house. The other is one of four residences owned by the county in Gigiri.
A letter had already been written to the executive, requesting it to surrender either of the two houses.
The assembly had been under pressure to find an official residence for the speaker and to stop paying rent. The Salaries and Remuneration Commission had set a deadline of June 30, 2019.
Specifications include at least half an acre in UN Blue Zones.
It must have plenty of parking, a paved driveway, a private gate to the compound and a swimming pool.
It should not be adjacent to vacant plants and must have electrified fencing for security.
The sitting room reception area must have a capacity of 50 persons. It must have five bedrooms, at least three of them en suite, with balconies and terraces.
(Edited by V. Graham)