Lawyers Push Ruto to Pay Kenyans for Land in Proposed Affordable Housing Changes


Professional bodies have proposed three main changes to the Affordable Housing Bill to address existing legal and constitutional loopholes in President William Ruto’s program. 

While appearing before a joint National Assembly committee on Monday, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) expressed that the drafted bill does not address the use of public land in the construction of the houses.

Through its representative, Vincent Ombaka, LSK pushed for the government to compensate Kenyans for public land used to construct the houses.

According to Ombaka, Kenyans will not benefit from the revenue generated through the sale of the houses if the bill passes without amendments. 

President William Ruto shoots a basketball in Mombasa County in November 2023.

PCS

“There is a need for the committee to address any aspects of constitutionality in this bill. For instance, how do you compensate for commercial use of the land even where the parcel in question is public?“ he posed.

On the other hand, the Architects Alliance of Kenya called on the government to review the design of the houses.

Former senator Sylvia Kasanga, who was representing the architects, argued that the designs need to incorporate green spaces owing to their benefits to mental health.

“They expressed the Alliance’s interest in being represented in the proposed Affordable Housing Fund Board. The Association also proposed that the Chairperson be drawn from among professionals in the Built Environment space.

“Noting that Housing under Schedule Four is a devolved function, they proposed to have County Housing Boards develop policy tailor-made for various counties and responding to the specific county housing needs,” the joint Parliament committee reported.

Concerning inclusivity, religious leaders expressed that the current model does not incorporate religious views on mortgages/ loans for homes.

According to Westminister Consulting, Muslims are likely to opt out of Ruto’s projects given that they will be offered in mortgages for Kenyans who cannot purchase houses with one payment. This contravenes Islamic financial principles.

In the mortgage plan, Kenyans will be required to pay a 10 per cent deposit and pay the rest of the amount spread out over 10-20 years.

The nationwide public participation on the bill is expected to continue this week ahead of lawmakers resuming their sittings in February to further deliberate on it. 

High Court declared the housing programme unconstitutional but granted the government the leeway to draft laws to anchor it. 

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal on Friday rejected the government’s plea to be allowed to continue deducting the levy from payslips.

The Milimani Law Courts building which hosts the High Court

Photo

Office of the Registrar High Court





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