PS Charles Hinga tackles KOT following housing fund backlash
After literally sweating in his clothes on live TV while trying to sell the government’s idea of a housing fund, Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary Charles Hinga is spoiling for a fight with his critics on online.
The PS, while responding to misgivings about the proposed fund, particularly had no kind words for one Edwin Dande, the CEO of the troubled investment and real estate company, Cytonn Investments. This after Dande joined other Kenyans on Twitter in criticizing the housing fund.
“You don’t solve the housing problem by building houses, you build basic infrastructure & people will build houses… We have so many neighborhoods w/out sewer such as Ruaka, water, roads & elec. Let gava (government) focus on those! As we can’t do it for ourselves. This housing plan is ridiculous. Professionals must speak up… I am so outraged that more people are not speaking up,” Dande tweeted.
To this Hinga responded: “Sasa wewe (Now you) do you really feel like you have locus to lecture us on housing fund governance yet the investment I made in Cytonn you can’t even account for it, just hekaya za abunwasi (tales of Abunuwasi). I urge you to read Matthew 7:3-5. I’ll debate you after you pay back my & others money.”
Hinga’s remarks were in refence to reports that Cytonn charged investors Sh 7.8 million a unit in The Ridge housing development but dialed to commence on the work.
A section of investors who feared they risked losing their money went as far as petitioning the National Assembly to intervene on the matter. This was in the wake of allegations that Cytonn Investments was experiencing internal financial problems and there was no construction taking place despite them claiming that it was making progress.
Meanwhile, Hinga has had the unenviable task of selling the unpopular Housing Fund to the public. On Wednesday at State House, Nairobi he was at pains to explain why the government is so keen on enforcing the fund, which will require Kenyans to be deducted 3 per cent of their monthly earnings.
“Why we are struggling with this Housing Fund is because of three things; trust deficit. We must put in enough safeguards so that we can be able to win trust; believability and that is why we had to do the piloting programme,” Hinga said.
The Fund is President William Ruto’s plan to ensure that all Kenyans can get affordable house. According to the president, the fund will save 6.5 million Kenyans who live in slums to afford decent homes.
In the event a contributor fails to get an allocated house after making full payments, the government says it will refund the money after about seven years.
However, the general public has remained skeptical on the wisdom of forcing people who already own homes to contribute to this housing levy, which, in their view, should be optional.