By: Joseph Mutua Ndonga
- In a swift reaction, President William Ruto stated that we have read the judgement. We believe in the rule of law. So, my government will fully comply with the orders issued.
- We will take the necessary steps to ensure this law is aligned. The housing plan is noble idea whose time has come. As I speak, It has created 120,000 jobs. The job opportunities are set to increase to 200,000 and 500,000 in coming days.
- The mega project resonated very well with Ruto’s concept of bottom up economic model. It is designed to address two main challenges: joblessness and lack of decent houses.
A few days ago, the three-judge bench delivered the much awaited ruling on a case challenging the housing levy a key pillar of the Finance Act of 2023.
Though the judges stated that the provisions of the constitution were not followed to the letter and spirit when it was enacted, they declined to issue orders sought by petitioner to stop the government from collecting the levies.
We have listened to all the parties and considered their submissions. The lawyers representing the government have requested this bench to give them time to file the appeals before the Court of Appeal and then at the Supreme Court. We have given the state until January 10 to align the housing levy with relevant provisions of the constitution.
In a swift reaction, President William Ruto stated that we have read the judgement. We believe in the rule of law. So, my government will fully comply with the orders issued.
We will take the necessary steps to ensure this law is aligned. The housing plan is noble idea whose time has come. As I speak, It has created 120,000 jobs. The job opportunities are set to increase to 200,000 and 500,000 in coming days.
The mega project resonated very well with Ruto’s concept of bottom up economic model. It is designed to address two main challenges: joblessness and lack of decent houses.
The President announced that 250,000 affordable housing units will be constructed in the first phase.
At one point during a visit to Busia county, he told the ‘hustlers’.
The housing project is being opposed by those employed who received a payslip every month.
They do not want 3 per cent to be deducted from their salaries.
The same case applies to the top leaders of the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Opposition coalition.
Each one pockets a pension of more than 1 million from the National Treasury every month.
These are the same personalities who say they love you and were ready to die for you. Really, do they?
When they oppose a deduction of 3 percent from their payslips, what message are they sending?
They don’t care. They want you to continue being poor and to live in a state of desperation and hopelessness.
As a born-again Christian, I agree with the President.
The Bible says that God blesses the hand of a cheerful giver who contributes towards elevating the living standards of the poor and down-trodden.
At the time, the Affordable Housing Plan was one of the proposals contained in the controversial Finance Bill 2023.
The ‘Hustlers’ (those without a payslip) were excluded from paying the housing levy.
The real estate developers are contracted to build these houses. Once completed, the government will buy them.
When selling the units, the state will give priority to the hustlers.
President Ruto has been reiterating. This will be a key milestone. For the first time in our history, the sons and daughters of the hustlers will own decent houses.
This will elevate them to the class of the wealthier and rich families.
For the critics, the push to derail Ruto plan is unstoppable.
Listen to this. President Ruto’s position is that the deductions are compulsory. He is therefore imposing this plan down the throat of Kenyans.
I disagree. The president has no legal mandate to pass this proposal into law. This power is exercised by parliament.
The members will debate and thereafter each vote either in favor or against each of the clauses.
The process starts with the drafting of the Bill which is then presented to the house for the first reading. No debate at this stage.
First, the Bill has to be subjected to public participation. The relevant committees of house organize these forums and collect and collate the views of the people. This was done.
Yes, I agree that Parliament is dominated by members of the ruling Kenya Kwanza alliance.
But I want to ask the critics. Are you suggesting the members did not understand their job?
This is tantamount to insulting the intelligence of Kenyans. You are telling them they did not use their brains when they elected them.
For starters, the government is made up of three main arms: parliament, executive and Judiciary.
Though each is independent, the law requires them to always embrace the principle of interdependence and complementarity.
Majorly, the role of a Member of Parliament is three pronged: Legislation, oversight and representation.
The President was in fore front of drumming support for Finance Bill 2023. Does this amount to overstepping his legal mandate? No, he is not.
The law allows him to support the proposals, particularly those originating from the cabinet. This is because he is the head of the executive and chairs the cabinet meetings.
However, parliament has the final say. Members are at liberty to approve the proposals or reject some of the proposals, if not all.
Just like the President, the opposition leaders were entitled to discuss the Bill and come up with their position.
They will whip up their member to support this position when the Bill is tabled in parliament.
The Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga is opposed to it. His main point of concern is the proposal to deduct 3 percent from the basic salaries of the workers. But a good number of Azimio MPs voted for the bill.
I would have expected him to be the last person to oppose this proposal. Why? During the campaigns, the house plan proposal stood out as one of his main election pledges.
If elected President, I will rollout a massive affordable housing plan. Majority of our people, who migrated to urban centers, were living in poor and highly deplorable conditions in slums. ‘My government’ will build decent houses for them. This is a commitment I have given to you.
Raila would add: A huge chunk of money to build these houses will come from our pockets. He would single out those employed, civil servants, state officers and other workers. The Government will deduct 1.5 per cent from the payslip of each.
Yes, president Ruto has doubled the deductions to 3 per cent. This is well understood given the prevailing economic situation. If Raila won, many believe he could have done the same thing.
Joseph Mutua Ndonga is a writer and political analyst based in Nairobi