The Star (Nairobi)

22 March 2014

Kenya: Raila's Sh1 Billion Kisumu Home

FORMER Prime Minister Raila Odinga is putting up a Sh1 billion hill-side palatial residence in Riat Kisumu.

Construction of the the palatial, almost stately 74 roomed residence begun four years ago and could be completed before the end of the year or sometimes next year.

The home is crested in Kanyakwar, Riat Hills overlooking Kisumu International Airport. It affords the former PM a near-aerial view of Kisumu City, the base of his political power.

"At some point, the PM was under pressure from family members to convert it into a hotel facility but he stuck his ground on the home idea. His will has prevailed to date," a source close to Raila said yesterday.

The residence has close to 10 bedrooms- including Raila's master bedroom all upstairs. It has four expansive kitchens, two main conference rooms, two small conference rooms and many offices.

The main contractor is said to be a foreigner who subcontracted local contractors. Currently, the contractor is doing final touches on the facility and at the same time doing landscaping outside.

Other sources said the construction is behind schedule as it was intended to be finished last year. Last year, Raila lost the presidential election for the third time.

He lost in the first round to President Uhuru Kenyatta. He moved to the Supreme Court but the court upheld Uhuru's victory.

He has given clear indications that he will be on the ballot in 2017. If he loses again he will most likely retire from politics.

He will then have a choice to either retire in his Nairobi's Karen home or to his new palatial home.

If he had won last year's election, the home would have been his mini-State House.

It dwarfs the Karen home of former minister Raphael Tuju and rivals Deputy President William Ruto's official residence in Karen in expanse and grandeur.

Raila's home stands on six acre piece of prime land.

"He broke the ground at the site himself when he was the PM. It was a low-key occasion," a neighbors told the Star.

Raila's real home is in Bondo. This is the home he built during the short interlude between his 1988 release from prison. It is the traditional home, the one his late father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga identified and blessed.

In his "The flame of freedom" biography launched last year, he described how he broke the ground for his Bondo home.

Jaramogi had a home fondly known as "Kang'o ka Jaramogi" in Bondo. This is where pre and post independence politics were brewed and shaped. Raila was also partly raised in Kang'o ka Jaramogi.

It was in Kang'o ka Jaramogi where he was put under house arrest for years by founding President Jomo Kenyatta. It is in Kang'o ka Jaramogi where Jaramogi was buried when he passed on in 1994. A mausoleum was thereafter built on his grave.

Raila is said to have another house in the Coastal town of Mombasa.

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