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Ruto praises Raila for ‘endorsing’ affordable housing plan

By Sammy Waweru February 5th, 2024 2 min read

President William Ruto has praised opposition leader Raila Odinga for “endorsing” the affordable housing plan.

The Head of State has said that Mr Odinga has finally realised the importance of the controversial initiative, which requires workers to contribute 1.5 per cent of their salaries and employers to contribute a similar amount, to spearhead the affordable housing plan.

However, the initiative was ruled illegal by the Court of Appeal, a decision that did not sit well with the president.

“I thank the former Prime Minister (Mr Raila Odinga) for saying yesterday that he trusts affordable housing,” Dr Ruto said on Sunday, February 4, 2024, while addressing a church service.

With Mr Odinga’s acknowledgement, the Head of State wondered why the opposition called for a nationwide protest in 2023 against the programme, among other government proposals through the controversial Finance Bill.

“This story should end there, what are we still arguing about?” the president asked.

“He (referring to Mr Raila Odinga) said that affordable housing is a very important thing, and that’s what I’ve been saying all along. Why have we had demonstrations if the initiative is relevant to this nation?” he added.

Mr Odinga, the leader of the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Alliance, has joined government opponents in opposing the affordable housing plan, insisting that there must be a legal framework for its implementation.

Dr Ruto has championed the scheme, saying it is one of the approaches to addressing the lack of jobs, especially among the youth.

He claims that countries that have adopted the initiative have since grown economically.

“Through the plan, we will create jobs for our youths, and grow the economy while reducing wasteland and eradicating slums,” said the Head of State.

“All leaders in Kenya, irrespective of our political affiliations, let us agree that we have challenges as a country for our youth who have graduated but do not have jobs. We have a challenge of unemployment and that is why we have millions of unemployed young people.

“We have to be deliberate this time around to make sure that we have programmes and plans that will create job opportunities for our young people; for them to work, for them to earn an income and for them to contribute meaningfully to the development of our country, to the economy of Kenya and to the progress of our citizens,” he declared.

The affordable housing plan has caused an uproar among many working Kenyans, who question the integrity of the initiative.

President Ruto is still proceeding with the construction of housing units in various parts of the country despite the court ruling, which the Kenya Kwanza government has vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.