- The coordinator failed to travel to Nairobi to give his submissions on the housing levy citing several factors including a court case
- The environment, he said, is already toxic and felt that his submission will not be taken into account
A lobby group in Kisumu has criticised Parliament for failing to conduct public participation on housing levy in 25 counties.
Grassroots Trust coordinator Lawrence Apiyo said the counties were sidelined during public hearings without any justification, denying locals the opportunity to give their views.
“There is no doubt on the quantity and quality of the outcome. I say so because a bigger section of Kenyans and beneficiaries have been left out in this rushed process,” Apiyo said.
He said people were not first educated on the bill to prepare them adequately before making their presentation.
Apiyo, a member of the Housing Rights Coalition Kenya, on Monday declined to appear before the joint National Assembly housing and finance committees conducting public participation on the affordable housing levy.
He questioned why Kisumu county was excluded from counties where public participation was conducted.
“If they wanted my contribution, why did they omit Kisumu? What justification do they have?” he said.
The coordinator failed to travel to Nairobi to give his submissions on the housing levy citing several factors including a court case.
“While I appreciate this invitation as a recognition of what I, my organisation and the Housing Rights Coalition Kenya stands for in regards to this matter, I humbly decline the invite,” he said.
The environment, he said, is already toxic and felt that his submission will not be taken into account.
“It is not safe and the whole process is not convincing that it is going to give any better results,” Apiyo said.
He termed the hearing process faulty and chooses to stick with the Judiciary for any arbitration on the housing levy.
Apiyo said the recent utterances by President William Ruto point to a conclusive process on the meetings.
“The statements made by the leaders of the Kenya Kwanza administration are not only threatening but have also spoiled the environment for any meaningful public engagement,” he said.
The activist said such remarks leave doubts as to whether any reasonable thinker will find any space in the Bill.
Apiyo said the outburst by the Kenya Kwanza leaders on court ruling was worrying and intimidation to Judiciary and judges.
He cited statements such as, "some two or three people who buy lawyers, bribe judges to frustrate my programmes are going to be dealt with’, ‘we will pass the bill wapende wasipende’ (whether they like it or not’).
He said their attempts to meet the departmental committee on housing to interrogate some issues was deliberately ignored by the government.
Apiyo said he has already challenged the housing levy process in court and does not wish to travel to Nairobi on taxpayers’ money to participate in the process.
“Like majority of Kenyans, I have faith in the Judiciary as the best arbiter in this matter,” Apiyo said.
He condemned the Changamwe evictions that have exposed the victims to severe rights violations in the name of creating space for affordable housing.
Apiyo said the explanation given by Kenya Kwanza that affordable housing was creating employment for the youth is not enough.
“This is a simplistic way of defining public interest. It is my position that public interest must touch on the entire wellbeing of the society,” he said.