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Thursday, September 9, 2010

MPs happy with new Kenya PM offices

BY LABAN WANAMBISI
Raila Odinga welcomes Madeleine Albright to his new officeNAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 - The Parliamentary Committee on Administration and National Security has given a thumbs up to the Sh329 million refurbishment of the Office of the Prime Minister.

Speaking after touring the new office complex, Committee Vice Chairman Peter Kiilu termed the workmanship as excellent and said future government projects should aim to replicate it.

"We are satisfied that the government has gotten value for money; the offices reflects the new thinking in government, that the government should not have the worst offices but the officers working there should have a good working environment," he said.

Since he became Prime Minister in 2008, Raila Odinga who moved into his new office this month had been working from the Treasury Building.

The PM and senior staff occupy the second floor, while other staff will occupy the other floors which have transparent glass partitions in line with a recent directive by the Head of Public Service to create open plan government offices.

The briefing room for press conferences is on the seventh floor, which was formerly used as a theatre.

The Permanent Secretary at the PM's office, Mohammed Isahakia said that they expect to house all departments in the building once the leases of two other tenants expire by the end of next year.

The renovation of the former Shell and BP House was carried out by the Public Works Ministry and Buildmore Construction Company.

The offices on the ground, first and parts of second floor have granite tiles on the floor. Winnie Kalia, an architect said the colour theme is orange. The corridors to Mr Odinga's massive office have been done in medium-density fibreboard and the ceilings in gypsum.

The executive wing will contain the PM's offices, PS Mohammed Isahakia and assistant minister Alfred Khangati. Inside Mr Odinga's office is a lounge for meetings with visitors and a VIP waiting room. The office is covered with a white carpet.

A "motorised' glass door partitions the lounge and his main office. On one side of the office, a wooden door leads to a rest room with a shower cubicle.

The corridor floor is covered with a green patterned carpet imported from Belgium.

Landscaping outside the building include a grass lawn and a water fountain which is themed on the linkage between governance structure, citizenry and distribution of resources and services

A security fence has been erected.

The PS said that the have faced some challenges in securing the building from the street traffic; he told the committee that they have been in talks with the adjacent buildings sealing off the backstreets leading to the PM`s Office Building.

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