Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo has revealed plans by the government to buy high-end homes and luxury vehicles for visiting Presidents and dignitaries.
Omamo, in a report to Parliament, argued that the move will help the State cut down on the cost of renting out hotels for visiting heads of state and other dignitaries.
Further, Omamo explained that acquiring the homes will guarantee ready accommodation, security and privacy for the ‘VIP State guests’ and ensure there is always availability of accommodation and reduce dependency on hotels.
Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo at Kenya School of Government (KSG), Lower Kabete in Kiambu For a Consultative Devolution meeting. Thursday, February 20, 2020
Simon Kiragu The Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary told Parliament that this will also ensure security and confidentiality.
CS Omamo stated that the current vehicles used to ferry visiting Presidents and other dignitaries are old and cost a fortune in maintenance.
“The ministry has a large fleet of old vehicles hence increased maintenance costs. In addition, unlike in other international airports, JKIA does not have protocol cars stationed within the tarmac area/airside to facilitate VVIPs and VIPs on arrival and departure (boarding and disembarking),” the CS stated.
“There is also inadequate dedicated transport for senior staff, local errands and to ferry staff and goods which hampers service delivery of the ministry.”
CS Omamo adds that her ministry also needs ceremonial or protocol vehicles, complete with provision for flag pendants, on standby at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) for dignitaries’ movement during visits.
Acquiring the homes, the Foreign Affairs ministry argues, will guarantee ready accommodation, security and privacy for the ‘VIP State guests’.
“The ministry seeks to acquire suitable guesthouses for high-level dignitaries visiting the country. This will cut costs of hotel accommodation and ensure there is always availability of accommodation and reduce dependency on hotels,” the report to Parliament read.
This comes on the backdrop of an announcement by the Foreign Affairs Ministry that it plans to cease renting property and instead turn to buying them in a bid to cut its high expenditure.
The Ministry had denied reports that it was on a spending spree by leasing expensive houses for Kenya’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Martin Kimani.
Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo addressing the annual presidential briefing to the diplomatic corps at State House on March 4, 2021.
PSCU The government explained that it sought to lease another property after it realised renovating the one previously occupied by the country’s envoy would be much more expensive.
A report had indicated that Ambassador Martin Kimani lives in a property whose annual rent is Ksh23 million, translating to almost Ksh2 million per month.