Nairobi Speaker: This is Why We Urgently Need a Sh30 Million 18-Carat Gold Mace

February 2, 2024

Nairobi County Assembly Speaker, Ken Ng’ondi, has addressed concerns regarding the allocation of Ksh30 million, intended for the acquisition of a new ceremonial mace, alongside a secure safe and a dedicated holding room.

Earlier this week, news broke that City Hall was in the process of securing the gold plated mace, at a cost that we now understand is upwards of Sh30 million. There was uproar among Kenyans, who simply cannot understand how a county government grappling with pending bills of over Sh100 Billion with B, can find it okay to splurge tens of millions of shillings on a colonial symbol.

Ng’ondi was quick to emphasize the comprehensive nature of the procurement, which encompasses more than just the ceremonial item.

He explained, “The procurement we’re initiating is not limited to the mace alone but also includes a safe and a holding room, ensuring that we cover all necessary aspects of safeguarding this symbol of authority.”

He further defended the expenditure as a reflection of the county’s minimum requirement for such an investment, stressing the importance of the mace in symbolizing the Assembly’s dignity and authority.

However, he distanced himself from the procurement process, advising that any inquiries be directed to the appropriate departments.

The Speaker justified the allocation by comparing it to similar expenditures in other counties, such as Nakuru, which had acquired its mace for Ksh24 million.

The detailed specifications for Nairobi’s mace include features such as 18-carat gold plating and a composition of brass and silver plates, aiming for a balance between aesthetic value and physical heft, with its weight specified between 10kg to 10.5kg and a height of around 1.2 meters, in line with the 2023-2024 Development Plan.

Gold carat measures the purity of gold, with 24-carat gold being the purest at 100% . Thus, the 18-carat gold for the mace signifies a composition of 75% gold and 25% metal alloys like silver, copper, and nickel.

Notwithstanding the Speaker’s explanations, the decision has attracted criticism for its perceived misallocation of resources.

Robert Alai, the Member of County Assembly from Kileleshwa, voiced his opposition, questioning the prioritization of the mace over more critical needs facing Nairobi residents.

Alai’s comments echo a sentiment of frustration over the assembly’s spending priorities, suggesting a misalignment with the immediate needs and concerns of the public.

Highlighting the controversy, Alai stated, “It’s wrong for the Nairobi City County Assembly to prioritize a new mace when there are more urgent needs to address. This should not be our focus.”

It remains to be seen whether City Hall will do the right thing for once.

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