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Kenyans praise Okiya Omtatah after Court declares Housing Levy ‘unconstitutional’

By Winnie Mabel November 28th, 2023 2 min read

The High Court of Kenya on November 28, 2023, found that the Housing Levy controversially imposed on Kenyans by President William Ruto’s government, is unconstitutional.

The 3-judge bench found that the Housing Levy violated several Acts in the Constitution, was irrational, and it lacked a comprehensive legal framework.

The government had projected to collect Sh 63.2 billion in the financial year 2023/2024, Sh 70 billion in the 2024/2025 financial year, and Sh 78 billion in the 2025/2026 financial year.

In its ruling, the judges barred the government from collecting any Housing Levy.

Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah Okoiti, also a renowned civil activist, had filed the case against the government and he took to social media to announce the court findings.

The High Court bench has declared the Housing Levy unconstitutional for violating key provisions including Singling out Formal Sector. #FinanceAct2023,” said Senator Omtata.

A section of Kenyans ended up thanking him for coming to their rescue as the Levy was implemented despite strong opposition from government critics and Kenyans at large.

“You are the GOAT! Long live,” said Douglas Orang’i.

“Thank you Okiya Omtatah…. Please Kenyans lets send him our Housing Levy deductions…He deserves to be paid handsomely,” added Angela Centra.

“Will we get the refund? Will there be a stay order? Omtatah good work👏
#FinanceAct2023,” said Jackson Tengeya.

“Thank you for standing with Kenyans you are a gift sent from heaven,” added Captain Dominic Omondi.

“Unconstitutional null and void. Thank you Hon.Okiya Omutata for delivering this victory,” said Henry Kabogo.

Others lauded Senator Omtatah, urging him to vie for the presidency in 2027.

“Thank you, Senator, you have done it again. You are the only elected representative serving Kenyans. Your other colleagues in the senate and the national assembly are turncoats,” said Kerw Wan.

The Kenya Kwanza government implemented the Housing Levy and salaried workers have been deducted 1.5% of their earnings for this fund. Employers have also been asked to contribute a similar amount.

The intention of this levy was to allow the government to build houses and provide employment for the youth as well. The controversy was that the scheme would have allegedly benefitted all Kenyans whether they contributed to the fund or not.

Last week, Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga defended the Housing Levy, saying Kenya was an unequal country but the housing problem must be solved one way or another.

“We can disagree on how to solve the Housing problem but we must first agree there is a problem. We have a very unequal Country. A society that has low income against high land value. This pushes people to slums. If the government doesn’t intervene informal settlements will continue to mushroom. We have 1,141 slums in the Country whose occupants pay 172% more for water and over 45% more for electricity than other Kenyans,” said PS Hinga.

It now remains to be seen whether the government will refund all the money they collected in the few months they have been deducting this Housing Levy.

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