The new parliament towers that was constructed at a total cost of Ksh8 billion is now ready for occupation. According to the Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetangula, the 28-storey building will host the offices of 280 Members of Parliament.
WoK takes a tour of the building that was under construction for the last 10 years.
Inside the New Parliament Building
The new Parliament towers stands at 125 metres, making it one of the tallest buildings in Kenya. It is located between Continental House and County Hall, next to parliament buildings. The prime piece of land was allocated to Parliament by the government in 2000. Construction began in March 2014 under the President Uhuru regime. The project was conceived by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) and undertaken by China Jiangxi Construction Company at a total cost of Ksh8 billion. It was to be ready for occupation in January 2018, but the completion date was later changed to 23rd August 2020.
The Auditor General raised concerns seeking to understand why the project was incomplete despite the taxpayer incurring billions of shillings. The building has 28 floors which contain 26 committee meeting rooms where different committees can hold sittings as well as 331 offices that will mainly be occupied by the Members of Parliament. It has 24 hour CCTV surveillance as well as four basement parking floors where Honorable Members can safely park their vehicles while at the premises. It has a huge tunnel that connects it to the current parliament buildings.
Completion of the Building
On 1st November 2022, the National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula announced that the new Parliament Towers building was ready for occupation. In his communication to the house, Wetangula explained that the National Assembly will get 280 out of the 331 offices available in the new tower. He directed the new Clerk of the National Assembly Samuel Njoroge to start allocating offices from 7th November 2022.
“In order to ensure that MPs occupy the offices of the building immediately they are handed over, I have directed the Clerk to prepare the schedule of the sharing of the 280 offices being equitable share of the apportioned to the National Assembly, regrettably around 63 members of this house will not be accommodated in the new office block. The election of committee chairpersons and the vice chairpersons will be concluded by Friday (November 4) and therefore I have directed the clerk to carry out the allocation next week from Monday 7th November 2022,” he stated.
Allocation of Offices
The bicameral house has a total of 416 members which means that 63 Members of Parliament will not be housed in the new complex. Members who will be given first priority in the allocation of offices will be the house leadership which includes the Speaker, Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Majority Whip, Minority Whip and their deputies. The second group will be the Members of the Speakers panel as well as Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the departmental and selection committees.
Lastly, the lawmakers who have served in the house for more than one term will be given priority as well as those members living with disabilities. The remaining first term Members of Parliament will be allocated offices by way of balloting which shall be done on 9th November 2022. Wetangula however assured members that they will not get a space in the new building, and will be allocated offices in other existing parliament buildings.