The house built as a gift for a Nakuru family by President Uhuru Kenyatta will be handed over to a different family today, after the intended one rejected it.
Speaking to The Standard, Nakuru North Deputy County Commissioner Mutua Kisilu said that a needy family had already been identified to take over the house located in Murunyu area, Bahati Constituency.
“We are set to hand over the house to another family after the family which had been gifted turned down the offer terming it as substandard. Plans to have the new family move in are already underway,” said Kisilu.
The two-bedroom house constructed next to the home of a state house official was meant for the family of Dennis Ngaruiya, currently a form four student who in 2014 presented a poem before President Kenyatta at 3KR barracks in Lanet leaving him in stitches.
The long wait for the family to get a new home has come to an end as State is set to hand over the home to a needy family of four that has been living in a makeshift shelter offered by a church within the area.
Kisilu said that they had received a directive to give the home to a more needy family that would appreciate the gift.
“We were instructed to profile three families from which one would be picked as the new owners. The lucky family is one of a man who has been living with his three disabled children at a local church,” said Kisilu.
Ngaruiya’s mother Damaris Wambui last week attracted the attention of the whole country after she declined to take the house saying that it was not up to the standards the President would have wanted them to get.
Wambui alleged that some statehouse officials who had been tasked with the construction of the house had shortchanged the family and built them a ‘house not worth to be a gift from the head of state.’
“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.
The family said that the house was poorly constructed as compared to that gifted to Martin Kamotho alias Githeri Man who came to the limelight after he was photographed eating githeri from a plastic paper bag while on a queue on Election Day in 2017.
Kamotho, a casual labourer at Nairobi City County was rewarded with a serviced plot worth Sh269,000 in Karen by Ngong Crescent company and later with a Head of State Commendation (HSC) by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Standard however established that the house was new from the residents who saw it being built from start to finish and dismissed her as ungrateful.
According to Isaac King’ori who lives adjacent to the proposed home, the land on which the house sits was subdivided in 2015 and construction started in 2016.
“I don’t know what her understanding of an old house is. 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.
The elder added that he has been waiting since then to know who would be there new neighbor 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 on the press that the intended owner had rejected it. Local administrators have since visited and ordered for the bushes to be cleared,” he added.
While Wambui has been claiming that the house was substandard and constructed using waste papers, 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. For her house, the same technology was used for the roofing protecting the occupants from excessive heat or cold.
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 is standing 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 the Statehouse has taken over her woes. “I don’t want to speak about the house. The Statehouse is acting on my issues already,” she said.
Wambui had intended to be handed over the money and identify a house or land of her choice. “They should have given me the money I look for land of my choice,” she said when probed further.
Nakuru Deputy county commissioner Mutua Kisilu who has been supervising the project said that the house will now be handed over to the family in the next few days.