Most Guarded State House Secrets That Went Public

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta at State House for the 91st Annual St John Inspection Parade at State House in 2019
    President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.
    PSCU
  • The State House is one of the most protected areas with some of the most guarded secrets kept within the walls of the House on the Hill as it is commonly referred to.

    Overtime, some of the machinations that happened at State House have been revealed through testimonies of witnesses while others have been covered by the media.

    In this article, Kenyans.co.ke details some of the most popular yet dramatic incidents which happened at State House, involving high profile individuals. 

    A collage of former MP Gitobu Imanyara and the late Lucy Kibaki
    A collage of former MP Gitobu Imanyara and the late Lucy Kibaki
    File

    Lucy Kibaki vs Gitobu Imanyara

    Former Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara came clean on a scuffle that ensued between him and former First Lady Lucy Kibaki.

    The tension between them had started after he represented Clifford Derrick, a journalist who was slapped by the former first lady causing a storm at Nation Media Group offices. 

    It happened that President Mwai Kibaki had invited leaders of small political parties at State House to discuss politics and as such, the former MP attended the forum.

    As the lawyer was about to settle in his seat, he heard Mama Lucy screaming “Why is he here? Who allowed him into my house?”

    The lawyer would later reveal that he was called out of the room, only to find the First Lady in a nightdress, and raging with anger. 

    “She started raining blows at me. She grabbed my shirt and called me names. I tried disengaging but she held on. I slapped her hard and she fell hard on the floor,” he recalled. 

    In a past media briefing about the incident, Gitobu stated that President Kibaki had apologised over the matter, adding that the matter was best left forgotten. 

    President's Bodyguards vs US Secret Service Agents

    Former US Vice President, Joe Biden visited then-President Mwai Kibaki, at State House, Nairobi in 2010, but drama ensued at the gate after the arrival of US Secret Service personnel.

    Kenya’s presidential guards were baffled with two US agents who attempted to enter State House armed, contrary to standard security practice.

    Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, former US Vice President Joe Biden and former President Mwai Kibaki at State House in 2010
    Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, former US Vice President Joe Biden and former President Mwai Kibaki at State House in 2010
    File

    The Secret Service agents had showed up with members of the international press team, who had accompanied Biden, and on being frisked, they were found in possession of firearms.

    They were then ordered to deposit their firearms with State House guards who assured them the guns would be returned to them upon leaving.

    The Secret Service agents were said to have argued that their job was to protect the US Vice President and declined to surrender their arms.

    A brief standoff ensued but Kenya's presidential guards stood their ground and disarmed the two.

    However, following consultations with top security officials, the two US agents, one of them of Chinese descent, were given back their guns and they continued with their work.

    State House vs Intruders

    The State House is under 24-hour protection of the GSU G Company. 

    Despite the level of security manning the country's centre of power, a few daring individuals have managed to sneak in but not without consequences. 

    On December 22, 2002, Onyango Mono, who claimed to be a pastor entered the compound in the evening. Undetected, he managed to find his way around the expansive compound to get to the president's office. 

    In the morning, State House staff found him sleeping on the carpet outside the office and alerted the security. 

    He was later found out to be mentally unstable and during interrogation, he claimed that he had been sent by God with a message to President Daniel Moi to tell him to hand over power immediately.

    On October 27, 2015, security officials arrested Walter Juma inside State House Grounds.

    He was taken to Kilimani Police Station where the Anti Terrorism Police Unit interrogated him. 

    When he was charged in court, he admitted that he had arrived at 10pm and that he had done so numerous times because he was friends with President Uhuru Kenyatta. 

    The following year on March 6, William Njuguna also sneaked into the house on the hill. 

    When he was arrested, he defended himself by explaining that he was only curious to see how State House looked like. 

    He was set free a month later but before he could enjoy freedom, he was murdered at Uhuru Park two days after his release. 

    William Ngene Njuguna when he appeared in court on March 9, 2016, and was charged with the offence of entering a protected area without permission
    William Ngene Njuguna when he appeared in court on March 9, 2016, and was charged with the offence of entering a protected area without permission
    File

    On 25, March 2017, yet another intruder gained access to State House but was shot by one the president's marksmen. 

    That day, President Kenyatta was attending a golf tournament at Muthaiga Golf Club. 

    The unidentified middle-aged man was reported to have illegally accessed the highly protected grounds shortly before 5pm and was at a parking area not far from the main building.

    With no identity, he will only be remembered as the first person to be shot dead at State House.

    The latest intrution happened in June 2019 when an armed university student was shot and injured by police officers after he reportedly jumped over State House fence.

    The suspect, identified as Brian Kibet Bera, was carrying a knife when he was caught by the authorities.

    A report obtained by Kenyans.co.ke from Kileleshwa Police Station at the time indicated that the suspect trespassed into State House by climbing over "Gate Bravo" and after getting challenged by the officers manning the area, he drew out his knife.

    Brian would later be pardoned after arraignment in court, with the judge ordering that he goes through a mental health assessment.  How the above-listed persons managed to beat security clearance that many times is a mystery.  

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