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Kenyans livid over planned Sh795m State House upgrades

By Winnie Mabel January 16th, 2024 3 min read

The state of Kenya’s economy continues to deteriorate with the constant increase in the high cost of living.

Since ascending into power, the Kenya Kwanza government embarked on increasing existing taxes and introducing new taxes on goods and services offered in various industries, including government services that were previously free.

The cost of fuel is at historic highs despite our East African neighbors consistently lowering their fuel prices, food prices are up, and Sh 1,000 no longer has the monetary value it once had to purchase food to feed a family for a number of days.

The dollar now exchanges for Sh 160- another historic loss for Kenya- and the cost of electricity continues to soar for lesser token units.

Everything is significantly more expensive under this regime, and multinational companies are feeling the heat, some already closing up shop and leaving for greener pastures in other African nations.

Also read: List of weird household items State House is auctioning off

While campaigning, President William Ruto campaigned on a hustler ticket, making countless promises that he would strive to lower the cost of living and make life easier for all Kenyans- especially those at the bottom of the economic pyramid- hence his bottom-up manifesto. But he has only managed to do the opposite of everything he promised, including heavily borrowing from foreign entities and nations.

And while Kenyans continue to call for relief measures and the scrapping of taxes they deem unnecessary to at least save some of their earnings to cater to their families, the government’s latest priority is upgrading State House Nairobi to the tune of Sh 795 million.

This news did not go down well with a section of Kenyans who decried several government failures where finances are involved but have no qualms about squandering hundreds of millions of Kenya shillings to upgrade State House.

Nairobi News sampled some of their views below:

“Dynasty Uhuru lived in this State House for 10 years and did not see the need to use millions of taxpayers money to renovate it for his own extra comfort. But hustler Ruto must live like a king in a lavish palace. For a government that cannot give CDF, bursary and almost all government capitations on time, renovating State House, whose cost will be to the tune of almost Ksh 1 billion, has become the priority. Don’t forget they recently built what they are calling the Presidential Pavilion inside the State House compound. This is like a parent who claims he is unable to provide school fees and food for his family, but somehow finds money to renovate his bedroom, purchase a 6 by 6 bed, and host his friends to the house for drinking parties,” said Jubilee Party Deputy Organising Secretary Pauline Njoroge.

“Do not forget they used hundred of millions to change the compound 3 times in the first 6-9 months – From tarmac Uhuru left to funny cabros immediately they took over and finally to the current new cabros design,” added John Gitau.
“Deals(money) are only made when there’s “legal” expenditure like construction or repairs… This unnecessary expenditure is to facilitate kickbacks….” claimed Kaberia Mbugua.
“One billion for renovations? How much would it cost to construct the same identical new statehouse? Only a leaking roof would warrant such an emergency renovation when the economy is in the red. I consider anything else as unnecessary and should wait until every mama mboga na mtu wa nduthi (vegetable vendors and public service motorcycle operators) has a decent affordable house. With the hullabaloo Ruto came in with, I expected him to be like Gaddafi who lived in a tent and declared he would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a decent house,” added Andrew Muiga.
“I have keenly observed many of the people who dramatically rose from poverty to riches. These people are the meanest and most vain. They aren’t ready to help others rise. They are just opulent to make up for their earlier situations. Worst of all, they are the kind that refer to their parents as nobodies. Atawaree!” added Stephen Ndungu.