Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has decried the high cost of rent for its missions across the world and has now asked for Ksh5 billion every year for 15 years to buy property housing its embassies.
According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, it has a clear mind and has an acquisition plan to at least buy three properties annually for the 15 years.
This, it explained, will reduce the amount of money spent on rent payment for foreign missions which adds up to Ksh3 billion annually.
In a report presented to Parliament by PS Amb Macharia Kamau he said that idea has been there for a while but budget cuts have made it hard to create a cohesive acquisition plan.
He called for a guarantee that the funds set aside for the acquisition plan will be 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,” said Amb Kamau as quoted by Nation.
The ministry’s report followed an appalling inspection by Parliament’s Defence and Foreign Relations Committee which decried the bad state of 10 properties housing Kenyan missions abroad.
The old buildings, some in bad shape housing Kenyan embassies that the committee cited are in New York (UN), 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 of Kenya’s embassy in Washington, DC.
At the time of the fact-finding mission, the committee found that official residence of Kenya’s representative to the UN in New York was completely in bash shape forcing the representative to move out.
In December 2019, Amb Kamau while appearing before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) concurred with a report by the then Auditor-General Edward Ouko that Kenya lacks titles for 13 of its foreign properties spread in nine countries.