New KNEC Offices That Has Been Under Construction For 35 Years Now a White Elephant

The spacious compound housing the three caramel-coloured towers with maroon tops is guarded by a lone watchman — probably an indication of its abandonment and neglect.

There is little activity going on inside despite this being an examination period. And for a not-so-good reason.

If everything had gone according to plan, this would have been the nerve centre of operations of the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec).

Tucked in South C Estate, off Mombasa Road, is New Mitihani House, the proposed headquarters of Knec and, probably, one of the oldest building sites in Kenya.

It has been under construction for the last 35 years and has so far cost the taxpayer more than Sh3 billion and counting, up from the initial budget of Sh248.9 million.

Basic maths reveals that the project’s initial cost has skyrocketed 12 times and in reality, the current bill is enough to build 12 such towers for Knec and other government departments.

And to demonstrate just how long this project has taken, plans for the construction of New Mitihani House coincided with the introduction of the 8-4-4 system, currently being phased out, in 1985.

New Mitihani House

It basically means the mega project that has lasted an era did not serve any purpose in the system that saw Knec grapple with staff housing challenges.

But even with that mind-boggling loss and wastage of taxpayers’ money, the building is still not ready for occupation.

The contractor is yet to put final touches on the structure’s three towers, each with six floors, multiple level basement parking and other external works.

The project mooted in the 1980s was to act as a one-stop shop for Knec operations to boost efficiency and security of examination materials.

“The New Mitihani House is the landmark of the council located along Mombasa Road, South C. The project encompass [sic] high rise secure executive office blocks built in an area renowned for its tranquillity, good natural environment with easy access to social amenities,” Knec describes the tower in its brief.

The project, which was commissioned by the government in 1986, has been through eight construction contracts and now Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu says the taxpayer will not get value for money, even as she declares the examinations body technically insolvent.

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