KOT demand to know where their area MP stands on 3% housing levy
For the better part of this week, Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) have been putting their area representatives on the spot to state their position on the controversial housing fund publicly.
The levy is a compulsory 3% deduction from the salaries of employed Kenyans, which their employers match.
It all started when a tweep with the nickname Word Slinger asked Kasarani MP Ronald Karauri where he stood on the housing levy, and several other Kenyans followed suit, tagging their MPs to respond. Some representatives responded, as seen below by Nairobi News:
“Good evening @KarauriR. Captain, as a resident and voter of Kasarani Constituency, I would like to know your position on the forthcoming Finance Bill 2023, which among other punitive and malicious proposals, includes the 3% housing fund levy,” said Word Slinger, to which Honourable Karauri replied, “Good afternoon sir. I believe you have an opinion on the bill, so why don’t we discuss it? You already speak of ‘punitive and malicious proposals’. Point me to specific parts and let’s engage.”
“Good morning @hon_Makau, as a resident and voter of Mavoko Constituency, I would like to know your position on the upcoming Finance Bill 2023, which among other punitive and vicious suggestions, includes the 3% deduction for the housing fund. Will any of these houses even be built here?” asked P Mwathi, to which Honourable Makau responded that he was strongly opposed.
Several other MPs, including Jalango, Babu Owino, Godeon Mulyungi, Mohamed Ali, John Kiarie, Didiumus Baraza, Kimani Ichungwa and Tim Wanyonyi were also tagged among dozens of other names.
Still, none of them had responded by the time this article was published.
The housing fund has been a source of contention among Kenyans and has split the political divide.
Many oppose the mandatory deduction because people should not be forced to buy houses when they already own them.
Payroll deductions have become too high to sustain households amid the spiraling cost of living, and the government cannot be trusted to provide adequate housing for all those forced to contribute to the fund.
Nairobi News reported that Principal Secretary Charles Hinga struggled to convince Kenyans earlier this week that the housing levy was good for them.
“Why we are struggling with this housing fund is because of three things: trust deficit. We need to put enough safeguards in place so that we can gain trust; credibility and that is why we had to do the pilot programme,” said Hinga.
The fund is President William Ruto’s plan to ensure all Kenyans access affordable housing.
According to the President, the fund will enable 6.5 million Kenyans living in slums to afford decent homes.
If a contributor does not get an allocated house after making full payments, they will have to wait 7 years before getting a refund of their capital and any interest accrued.
On the other hand, if a contributor already living in one of these government-funded houses fails to make payments within the agreed time, he or she risks either being evicted or having the house taken back and given to someone else who can make the payments efficiently.