Uhuru shifts office to Harambee House

PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta has moved operations from State House to Harambee House.

The move has been officially described as aimed at improving accessibility to the President.

As a result, all his key personnel, such as Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia, advisors Nancy Gitau and Joshua Kuttuny, among others, have also move to Harambee House, where they have been allocated offices.

Harambee House, designated the Office of the President (OP), has traditionally been the core centre of State operations, but Uhuru has preferred to work from the secluded and more private State House, Nairobi, since he was sworn in.

Although President Mwai Kibaki initially preferred working from State House, where he also resided, he was later forced to move to OP, following protests by his wife Lucy.

President Daniel arap Moi worked both from State House and OP, but preferred to hold his larger and highest level mainly political meetings in State House.

Apart from undertaking his day-to-day activities from State House, Uhuru has made occasional visits to OP for meetings.

“He moved from the beginning of the year because he wants to be closer to government operations. He also wants to avoid situations where some of his staff has been driving into State House with uninvited guests who end up ambushing the head of state,” an OP source told the Star.

The President has also addressed the nation on matters of national interest and held media briefings at State House, alongside his deputy William Ruto.

Yesterday, Kuttuny confirmed to the Star that the President had moved base to Harambee House from the start of the year.

“You are likely to see the President frequenting OP daily, for easy access to those seeking services from the President. Many of the senior staff moved to Harambee House since the year started.

“It will be easy for legislators and other high profile public figures to access the President, as opposed to strict State House protocol.”

Kuttuny said the aim of the shift is to maintain the open-door policy to guarantee timely, effective and efficient service delivery to members of the public.

A source within the Presidency who spoke on condition of anonymity said the orders to move were issued by the President through Comptroller of State Houses Lawrence Leneyapa.

Some of the senior staff of the Presidency affected include Chief of Staff and Head of the Public Service Joseph Kinyua, who had an office in State House and another at OP; Gitau (political affairs); Kuttuny (political affairs), and the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit directors.

They have joined Abdikadir Mohammed (constitutional and legislative affairs), who has been operating from OP.

Comptroller Leneyapa, his deputy George Kariuki and First Lady Chief of Staff Connie Gakonyo are the only senior officers now operating from State House.

State House spokesman Manoah Isipisu, who is also head of the PSCU, said there was nothing wrong with the President operating from Harambee house.

“The President runs government from wherever he is, day-to-day. But he has offices at Harambee House in Nairobi as well as State Houses and Lodges across Kenya,” said Esipisu.

– the-star.co.ke

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