The Foreign Affairs Ministry is seeking to spend at least Sh5 billion annually for the next 15 years to buy houses for Kenyan diplomats abroad.
Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Amb. Macharia Kamau in a report to parliament said the purchase plan will save the taxpayers more than Sh3 billion spent on rent by foreign missions yearly.
Kamau said the plan entails acquiring three properties per year to reduce the rental expenditure by foreign missions.
He blamed the ministry’s inability to purchase, replace, and maintain properties abroad on inadequate and uncertain funding and wants the funds ring-fenced.
“Austerity measures normally make the ministry’s plan for ongoing construction projects and maintenance plans hard. For instance, in Pretoria and Mogadishu, the construction has taken about five years instead of the 18 months original contract period,” Macharia says in the report.
He pointed out that a majority of government-owned properties in foreign countries are old having been acquired in the early years of Kenya’s diplomacy.
Macharia’s report is in response to the National Assembly’s Defense and Foreign Relations Committee inspection report that exposed the deplorable state of Kenya’s embassies in 10 missions.
They include New York (United Nations), Canada, Washington, Russia, Australia, Geneva, Japan, China, South Korea, and the Los Angeles consulate.
“The iron sheet roof and supporting structure had deteriorated extensively and there was evidence of general leakages. Gutters and down water pipes were extensively corroded,” the report said about Kenya’s embassy in Washington, DC.
The committee further noted that the official residence of Kenya’s representative to the UN (NY) was deserted after the diplomat moved out due to its dilapidated conditions.