The house built on orders from President Uhuru Kenyatta for a Nakuru woman whose son presented a thrilling poem has never been used, The Standard has established.
During a visit to the house yesterday, painters were doing final touches on the exterior of the two-bedroom house constructed as a reward to the family of Dennis Ngaruiya who in 2014 presented a poem before President Kenyatta at 3 Kenya Riffles barracks in Lanet.
The presentation earned him and his mother Damaris Wambui an invitation to Statehouse where he was rewarded with a scholarship and promised a home.
While the President has religiously paid for Ngaruiya’s school fees who was then a class seven pupil and now in Form Four, the promise for a home has been controversial with his mother, Damaris Wambui recently rejecting the house.
“That is not the gift the President meant for my son and I. It has cracks and looks more of a semi-permanent house. It was occupied before by a disabled person and was only refurbished,” Wambui told the press last week.
Residents of Murunyu area however dismiss Wambui’s claims.
According to Isaac King’ori who lives close to the proposed home, the land on which the house sits was subdivided in 2015 and construction started in 2016.
The house was constructed on land that had been idle for years after subdivision into eight plots. I visited the site severally in 2016 out of curiosity on the technology that was being used,” said King’ori.
He added that he has been waiting since then to know who would be their new neighbour for years and no one except government operatives and the contractor have been spotted at the site.
“After the house was completed, bush grew around it. No one has ever lived in it. We never knew who owned it until we saw reports in the press that the intended owner had rejected it”.
“Local administrators have since visited and ordered for the bushes to be cleared,” he added.
James Mwangi, a community policing leader who is also in charge of Murunyu Community Water Project said he supervised connection of water to the home last year and it was deserted.
There was no sign of life in the home. Some of the waste generated during its construction was still there indicating no one had ever used it,” said Mwangi.
While Wambui claims that the house was substandard and constructed using waste paper, The Standard established that the contractor used polystyrene technology which is gaining traction in the housing sector, globally.
The technology involves the use of panels of cellular plastic foam sandwiched between steel wire mesh which are then sprayed with cement to support and strengthen the walls.The same technology was used for the roofing protecting the occupants from excessive heat or cold.
John Waigi, another resident and a construction expert said Wambui was lucky to have such a house and land in the location citing that there are none of such houses in the neighbourhood which is dotted with mud houses and a few permanent homes.
“Temperature in such a house remains constant even in extreme weather unlike the houses around. She is a lucky person. To her the foam used are waste papers which is not the case,” said Waigi.
During an interview with The Standard in April last year, Wambui alleged that former County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha had intended to give her a few thousands to deny her the house.
“The county commissioner offered me Sh50,000. I rejected the money because I thought it was a trap that would end up costing me the house. He thereafter barred me from visiting his office,” Wanjiru said.
However, Nkanatha who has since been transferred to Kajiado County in the same capacity explained that the money had originated from statehouse for Wambui’s upkeep pending completion of the house.
“The money was meant for her to rent a better house and upkeep during the construction of her new home. I reported back to Statehouse how she had reacted to the money,” said Nkanatha.
Since then, Wambui and her son have continued to live in a single room mud-walled house with her son for which she pays Sh1,200 rent every month. She survives by doing laundry, knitting sweaters and farm jobs in the neighbourhood.
All the rooms in the house which is next to the home of a statehouse officer have already been furnished with modern furniture.
According to the residents, the land on which the house stands is valued at Sh700,000 and the house constructed on it raises it to over Sh2 million.
When reached for comment on her move to decline the gift, Wambui declined to speak on the matter saying that Statehouse has taken over the issue.
“I don’t want to speak about the house. Statehouse is acting on my issues already,” she said.
Nakuru Deputy county commissioner Mutua Kisilu who has been supervising the project said that the house will be handed over to the family in the next few days.
Story by Benard Gachuhi