• State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed convened a press briefing on Wednesday in which he, together with Housing PS Charles Hinga, issued a clarification.
• But the majority of Kenyans who were following the presser on Twitter expressed reservations with the State's explanation on the project.
The government's move to issue a clarification on the controversial affordable housing project, to which it will be mandatory for salaried citizens to contribute, has received a backlash from a cross-section of Kenyans who want the agenda dropped.
State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed convened a press briefing on Wednesday in which he, together with Housing PS Charles Hinga, clarified some grey areas on the project which has been touted by President William Ruto as ambitious.
"Once again, it is essential to emphasise that this initiative did not emerge without planning. It was articulated and outlined in the manifesto, the foundational document on which the President was elected by the Kenyan people," Mohamed said during the presser at State House, Nairobi.
During the campaign period, Ruto said the affordable housing project would be a long-term housing finance scheme that would incorporate a National Housing Fund and Cooperative Social Housing Schemes.
He said this would in effect wrestle the provision of homes to Kenyans from private developers and make it a preserve of Kenyans.
Towards this end, Ruto said every salaried Kenyan will have to make a three per cent monthly contribution countered with a similar contribution by employers to the National Housing Fund.
"That money is yours and not tax, all that money belongs to the people. This is a programme that we cannot fail to do because it provided jobs for the millions of young people leaving our learning institutions," Ruto said.
"We will raise the number of housing units from 50,000 to 200,000 each year and progressively raise the proportion of affordable housing from 1 percent to 50 percent annually," he added.
He spoke on May 11 during the groundbreaking of the Lapfund Bellevue Park Residence Project in Nairobi.
Mohamed said great achievements like the housing project are always a product of such bold decisions and actions.
"In the President’s view, we cannot keep burying our heads in the sand. All indications are that the future is urban. The President emphasizes the importance of people's active participation in this transformative journey," he said.
But the majority of Kenyans who were following the presser on Twitter expressed reservations with the State's explanation of the project.
Some like @isaiahmngl said, "We want hospitals and schools. We will build houses for ourselves".
While noting that the project was a welcome idea, @petergathunugu said the explanation of the concept was too hard for ordinary Kenyans to understand.
"It’s defensive and complicated. Break it down and sell it better. Methinks it’s a great initiative-just needs better messaging," he said.
A similar opinion was fronted by @joshuam68498903 who asked, "Kwani hii agenda ya housing iko ngumu aje kueleza to the public juu ile kusweat uyu jamaa nasweat wueh hii si kawaida banaaa."
(How complicated is it to explain this housing agenda to the public, the intensity of sweating by this guy is not normal)
"We don’t want this thing at this point it’s being shoved down our throat," @MALUDA254 added.
"If you see the need to hold a press conference to “convince” people about a product tells you all you need to know about it," @its_dunM averred.
"We don't want it.. period! Or rather, just call it housing tax and proceed with its implementation...kizungu mingi haisaidii...Tutapambana na hali. (too much English does not help. We shall brave the consequences)," @Markazz_Gooner said.
"I get we have so many debts but this is not how you do...FORCE Kenyans to have homes...like what?" @maywahito said.