Over 90 per cent of officers at the Nanyuki main prison have complied with the new government directive to rent residential houses outside of the facility.
The few remaining officers who have not complied with the government directive were in a last minute dash to beat the January 31 deadline to move to rented premises outside the correctional facility.
A spot-check carried out by KNA at the prison found that those who had yet to leave were busy packing belongings ready to move out while others who reared chicken and other domestic animals were selling them to enable them move to rental apartments in the town.
“Now that am moving out to rent a house I have decided to sell my chicken since I will not be able to keep them within rented houses,” an officer who requested anonymity said.
Officer in charge of the prison Ibrahim Hassan said that only about 20 officers will be allowed to live within the facility to oversee essential tasks such as manning the armory, sentry duties and guarding of prisoners at night.
Hassan added that officers who were required to move out of the facility were those living in semi-permanent and mud-walled structures that served as their dwellings.
“Most of our officers lived under deplorable conditions due to dilapidated housing or lack of any inside the prison. But now they can live in comfort outside on houses of their choice since they are getting a house allowance for the same,” Hassan said.
A constable in Nanyuki is entitled to a house allowance of Sh. 5,500, subsistence allowance of Sh. 3,000 and another Sh. 3,000 as commuter allowance.
The officer in charge further said that out of the 250 officers at the station, majority had moved out voluntarily and that the few who were yet to leave were in their final preparations to get out as well.
“Some of those who have not moved have requested that we give them some few more days as they were constrained after taking back their children to school this month thus don’t have enough cash to move out,” Hassan said.
However some of the officers who requested anonymity said that the house allowance by the government was way too low adding that they might not get decent houses to rent with the amount of money they are given.
The government announced in November last year that payment of house allowances to police and prison officers would commence this month as it was meant to address the long-standing accommodation crisis within the disciplined forces.
By Martin Munyi