Central Bank boss says No to posh house


The man in charge of Kenya’s money has turned down the offer to live in an expansive home in Nairobi’s Muthaiga and ride in a motorcade.

Dr Patrick Ngugi Njoroge, who took over as Central Bank of Kenya governor last week, will instead be housed in communal accommodation in Nairobi’s Loresho estate with his fellow members of Opus Dei (Latin Work of God), an institution of the Catholic church.

The institution teaches that everyone is called to holiness and that ordinary life is a path to sanctity. Most of its members are lay people, with secular priests under a bishop.

Dr Njoroge, who is turning out to be a man of exemplary modesty, has also turned down an office-issued high end smart phone, a bevy of security guards and three cars.

Central Bank governors have at their disposal a Range Rover, Mercedes Benz and a VW Passat.

When he was being vetted by MPs before his appointment by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Dr Njoroge was asked why he did not own property in Kenya and was still single at 54 yet his monthly salary at the International Monetary Fund was Sh3 million a month.

“Yes I don’t have a single asset here in Kenya and this is where I am at this point and it doesn’t mean that this how it will be forever. I subscribe to being very deliberate about that. This is my economic model and may be years after retirement, I would want to invest in other things. That should not mean I have any financial inabilities. It comes with the profession,” the country’s 9th Central Bank governor said.

He told the MPs that his lifestyle was a matter of choice and there was nothing unusual about it.

MPs approved his nomination, paving the way for his appointment, but not before making inappropriate offers to get him a wife.

In a country where appointment to public office is associated with opulence, demand for higher pay and motorcades, Dr Njoroge’s decision to pass up a chance to live in a house on two acres located in the city’s most exclusive suburb is a rare one.

Had he taken up the offer, some of his neighbours would have been former President Mwai Kibaki, the US ambassador, British high commissioner and former Attorney General Charles Njonjo.
The home has lawns and beautiful mature gardens, ideal for parties and official receptions and functions.

Former governor, Philip Ndegwa, lived there. But subsequent governors, Eric Kotut, Nahason Nyaga, and Andrew Mullei, did not move in. Still, the premises were fully maintained by the Central Bank, even though the only people living there were domestic staff and gardeners.

The position of governor also comes with other trappings of power. The previous governor, Prof Njoroge Ndung’u, had at his disposal the Mercedez Benz, a Range Rover, Volkswagen Passat, a chase car, two armed guards and a driver.

But self-effacement comes as naturally to the new governor as ostentation comes to the typical public official in Kenya.

“Totally devoid of ego and instinctively averse to self-advertisement” is how a senior Treasury official and long-serving central banker described him.

His style brings to public service a rare quality of humility and an aversion to trappings of power and opulence. In Kenya, the practice is that when you are appointed to high office, you demand big fuel-guzzling cars and expensive Turkish carpets.

But it is not just on matters of cars and homes that the governor has shown he has a mind of his own.

During vetting the governor demonstrated an independent mind, taking a different position to what MPs were pushing and also going against the government position on some issues.

He was, for example, forthright that he considers Kenya’s external borrowing excessive saying the country must be careful in considering more debt and where the money was going.

This contradicted the National Treasury position which is that the country’s borrowing is healthy and within the limits.

He also dismissed proposals by MPs to form a government bank to give cheaper loans and bring interest rates down or simply introduce legislation to control bank lending rates.

“I think it would be a big mistake to even think that we can control interest rates through legislation. It will not work. That is why we moved from price control. Commercial banks just need to get confident to move ahead with market-based solutions that are sensitive for their businesses like control on inflation. This is something we have done in other countries by assuring the banks that the economy is under control, we will come up with a plan that is acceptable to all,” said Dr Njoroge.

Living in the world of self realization…Kudos!!!:):):):slight_smile:


Opus Dei inamsumbua

On my side, I really don’t mind having a guy in his position living big; Only when s/he ain’t doing his/her work. But its good to know we have such humble people and I hope its not just for show.

A very humble guy. A breath of fresh air compared to his incompetent predecessor.

I like this guy, i wish our leaders would be like him

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good stuff man

“Totally devoid of ego and instinctively averse to self-advertisement” …atlast we have a Kenyan of the Uruguayan president equivalent

not inspired by materialism hence hard to corrupt, if he does a good job he should run for president

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Never in Kenya with our tribalism…unafikiri any jaluo will vote for him. Look @ 2013 elections, tulikua na choice poa in Peter Kenneth bt u know what happened

peter keneth is just a “nicely” packaged typical kenyan politician with no connection with the masses. this guy is very different, but you are right kenyans are hard to convince. about luos, kyuks will vote for him just because he is kyuk. thats kenya


Things he’ll have to do at his position if he’s to maintain his integrity will undoubtedly force him to seek bodyguards after a few months…

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yep if he does his job properly, bodyguards ni lazima laa sivyo atasalimu Muchai

just reading about this guy inspires me to be a better me. very inspiring man

unaota, people will say no more kikuyu not matter how good he is or how bad the competition is

true, same way mkikuyu atamsupport ju ya kabila tu

On the day he was appointed, Wetangula was the first one to shout himself hoarse about why a Kikuyu was replacing another at the Central Bank. Seems it was an informed choice after all.

Credit the source JINGA!!

Its good to have a weird person in that office.