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PHOTOS: New State House images give glimpse of renovations at Ruto's official residence

Kenyans are reacting to the new photos from State House

President William Ruto held talks with the RSF Leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, State House, Nairobi on January 3, 2024

President William Ruto recently shared never-before-seen photos of State House, Nairobi, sparking a wave of reactions and speculations among Kenyans.

The photos were shared on his social media accounts as part of President Ruto's updates on his engagements with regional leaders.

President Ruto's meetings with regional leaders aimed at strengthening diplomatic ties and discussing critical issues in the East African region.

The engagements included discussions with Somalia Foreign Minister Ali Mohamed Omar, South Sudan special envoys General Akol Koor Kuc and General Simon Makuac Yen on Tuesday, and RSF Leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo on Wednesday.

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As part of the updates shared on social media, President Ruto posted several photos, offering a glimpse into the diplomatic discussions held at State House, Nairobi.

However, the images have left many questioning whether State House underwent renovations or if the pictures are from a previously undisclosed area within the presidential residence.

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"Presidential Pavilion at State House Kenya. It will be used for State Receptions and Meetings. The former colonial house where foreign leaders were hosted undergoing massive renovations," Mwangi Maina, an award-winning journalist who focuses on Kenyan foreign policy offered.

"State House, Nairobi has been redecorated to the taste of it's new tenant. It no longer looks like the former colonial house. The country's seal is in the center of the Presidential office carpet. This is not the presidential room that his predecessors hosted meetings," he added.

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In November 2023, MPs were divided over the increased allocations to State House to finance renovations.

The Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC) report on the supplementary budget estimates revealed that State House got an additional Sh2.6 billion to Sh9.9 billion.

“The one area I have concern is the increase in the amount allocated to State House. The reason given by the committee chair is that the President would like to have more meetings in State House including building a pavilion.

“But we are experiencing extraordinary times which means we need to make extraordinary decisions. If we must have meetings, then why don’t we have online meetings to save money? I think that the amount allocated is too much,” Nominated MP Irene Mayaka said.

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However, Budget Committee Chair Ndindi Nyoro defended that the additional allocation was a reinstatement of a previous allocation that was slashed in the main budget in June to take care of other urgent matters at the time.

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