President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses a media briefing at State House Nairobi on June 28, 2017. PHOTO | PSCUPresident Uhuru Kenyatta addresses a media briefing at State House Nairobi on June 28, 2017. PHOTO | PSCU
By WANJOHI GITHAE, [email protected]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has shifted his operating base from State House to Harambee House.

In his first term, President Kenyatta almost exclusively worked from State House, and only occasionally going to Harambee House.

His change of base is reminiscent to that of retired President Mwai Kibaki who shifted from State House to Harambee House in his second term.

Mr Kenyatta’s surprise move has caught State House officials off guard and they have had to play catch up.

Sources at Harambee House told Sunday Nation that President Kenyatta’s first appointment of the day is always with Deputy President William Ruto.

Mr Ruto appeared to allude to his daily meetings with President Kenyatta during the burial of Eldoret Catholic Bishop Cornelius Korir yesterday when he said that news of the bishop’s death found him in a meeting with the head of state.

President Kenyatta’s work has not been made any easier following the frequent adjournment of the National Assembly and the Senate due to lack of committees to discharge their mandates.

Sources however said that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto were not overly concerned about the inactivity of the two houses.

“You notice that even as Nasa grapples with lack of leadership, Jubilee is also yet to nominate its members to various committees. They won’t do it until they are sure there won’t be another rerun of presidential election. Appointing MPs to chair or be members of various committees may open the President to political backlash from some quarters and this may be problematic if he goes looking for votes,” said another source.

When contacted, State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu confirmed that the President had shifted base.

“Harambee House is the Office of the President. He often works from there. He also works from State House,” he said.

Last week, President Kenyatta held a meeting with the Nairobi county government on the regeneration of Nairobi at Harambee House.

According to a dispatch from the PSCU, the programme is between the national government and the county government of Nairobi, and will cost billions of shillings. It will focus on key economic and social sectors. The Nairobi team was led by Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko, Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe and nominee for County Secretary Peter Kariuki.

He also received a briefing on the Energy sector.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter told the President during the briefing, also at Harambee House, that the new 20-inch 450km oil pipeline from Mombasa to Nairobi was nearing completion. The President was also briefed on the work on infrastructure around the oil fields in Turkana, including road repairs and the fixing of the damaged Kainuk bridge.