Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta avoided sleeping at State house Nairobi at all costs causing the rumour mills to say he was convinced that the colonial ghosts still inhabited the place since it was the governors official residence during the colonial era. His hurried journey from State House to Gatundu, with almost no security, was caused by the croaking of frogs on the grounds of State House. Kenyatta argued they were the ghosts of colonialism. To my knowledge, he never spent the night in State House for a day.
Kenyatta would always travel to Gatundu to spend the night or even days if he had official duties in the city. During the crisis resulted by the assassination of Tom Mboya in July 1969, Kenyatta is said to have held an emergency cabinet meeting under a mango tree at his Gatundu residence.
Kenyatta’s favourite residence was State house Nakuru and he appears to have felt more secure in the Rift valley where he also owned land and had business interests not to mention the company of his friends residing in the vicinity.
State house Mombasa was also a favorite for Kenyatta but others say it was through doctors advice that Kenyatta chose to spend a lot of time at the coast where the climate suited his heath condition best.
Then came Daniel arap Moi, Kenya’s second president who got off to a good start and assured Kenyans of peace and prosperity and with time favored, Nakuru to Nairobi State house but spent more time at his private residence at Kabarak which he acquired during the Kenyatta days.
While in Nairobi, Moi hardly slept at State house and always opted for his Kabarnet gardens home in Woodley near Kibera. He still stays there when he’s visiting the city.
Moi also enjoyed staying at the coast and like his predecessor was also a frequent visitor to Mombasa where he enjoyed a lot of support from the coastal people.
Then came President Mwai Kibaki who has surprised many by making the Nairobi State house his ‘permanent abode’ inspite of having a palatial residence in the upmarket Muthaiga area in the outskirts of the city.
Soon after Kibaki ascended to power, rumor has it that the bar was re-opened at State house Nairobi allowing consumption of alcohol at the country’s most prestigious address something that had not existed for 24 years during Moi’s era.
Moi loathed alcohol with passion after losing scores of his childhood friends to alcohol with many of them drinking themselves to death. The trend continued during his long stint as vice president and even after ascending to presidency.