A section of Jua Kali artisans and slum-dwellers on Thursday took to the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) demanding the implementation of the Housing Levy.
While staging their protest, the artisans and other stakeholders set to benefit from President William Ruto’s action plan argued that if the project fails to take off, their livelihoods would be affected in a major way.
Meanwhile, a section of Nairobi residents drawn from informal settlements argued that if the project is successful and the government delivers the affordable houses on time, their standard of living will become better, which they pointed out as one of the main reasons for staging the protest.
The group was allegedly heading to present a petition in Parliament for the implementation of the levy.
A person holding a placard during a protest on December 28, 2023
Videos shared online showed the crowd holding placards and banners urging the government to ensure the levy is implemented for the benefit of all Kenyans.
“Housing Levy is the cure for better housing,” one of the placards read, “Do not take away our livelihood. Tujenge nyumba tuimarishe uchumi wetu (Let’s build houses and grow our economy),” read another.
Various other players driving vehicles actively engaged in the protests, rallying participants to join the cause. Roadshow trucks, equipped with blaring music, not only entertained protesters but also captivated passersby.
Atop one such truck, an enthusiastic MC led the crowd in a synchronized chant of ‘nyumba, nyumba, nyumba,’ in line with what the protestors were advocating for. This loosely translates to ‘house, house, house.’
Amid the chants, a unique sight unfolded as Kenyans carried one another in wheelbarrows, a tool that serves as a symbol of President William Ruto’s ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party.
Meanwhile, a section of Kenyans poked holes at the demonstrations arguing that they may be funded by the government to push the housing levy agenda.
The Housing Levy was declared unconstitutional and discriminatory by a three-judge bench in November. However, President Ruto declared he would implement it despite the court orders.
“I am telling you this time round, I am implementing it, and I am so determined because we must do it. Whatever it takes we are going to implement it,” he announced in early December.
Additionally, a group of workers from Nakuru County had also protested the court ruling lamenting that halting the projects would lead to unemployment and a spike in criminal activities.
President William Ruto at the Kibra Affordable Housing Project on November 22, 2023