Kiambu County spells out plans for affordable housing project

Phase one of the Green Zone Housing Project being implemented by Meera Construction Ltd, a subsidiary of Krishna Group. [File, Standard]

Kiambu County has allocated over 10 acres of its prime land in support of President William Ruto’s plan for affordable housing.

Governor Kimani Wamatangi’s administration has notified the Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga of the county’s readiness for the launch projects in sites cleared in Thika and Kiambu towns.

Yesterday, the ministry placed an advertisement in the dailies inviting tenders for the construction of housing units in different locations.

In a letter to Hinga, Housing CEC Salome Wainaina said the Bustani site in Thika Municipality had been cleared. Additionally, Depot Estate, estimated at three acres in Thika, and five-acre Council Estate in Kiambu town are part of the programme.

“Please take note that the county team of Affordable Housing and your team (from PS Hinga’s office) have finalised the process of erecting beacons of the agreed three parcels of land located in Kiambu and Thika,” said the letter to the PS on October 18.

According to Wainaina, the Bustani site, which is close to the Starehe, Ofafa, and Jamhuri estates, is vacant, but all parties involved and tenants in the surrounding estates have been informed.

At the Depot Estate, which is opposite Thika Law Courts, the CEC said 74 tenants are to be relocated, while at the Council Estate adjacent to Kiambu Prisons, the relocation of 50 tenants was ongoing.

Due to the State Department delay in responding, Wainaina wrote a follow-up letter on November 7. “Kindly advise the County when President Ruto will be available to launch the Affordable Housing Program....”

There have been wrangles between the county government and MPs Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), George Koimbori (Juja) and Senator Karungo Thang’wa. The politicians have been against Wamatangi, claiming that the county administration lacked commitment to implementing the projects.

When President Ruto visited the county last month, the Governor informed him that his administration had finished preparing three affordable housing sites and that work on a fourth was nearly finished. He added that he was waiting for the State Department to send the contractors.

“For the avoidance of doubt, on this issue of affordable housing, we have three sites ready for your groundbreaking, and the fourth one is almost ready. We are requesting you to ask the ministry (Lands) to bring the contractors. We have been waiting up to today. We have beaconed the sites so that the young people can start working,” Wamatangi said.

And now, the Head of Supply Chain Management Services at the Ministry of Lands, on behalf of PS Hinga, in what raises queries on what has delayed the projects, has placed a tender advertisement inviting interested bidders for the Bustani, Depot and Limuru projects, with deadline set for November 24.

Wamatangi said individuals behind land grabbing have been working with area leaders to sabotage his development agenda, prompting the President to direct the local administrators to evict the grabbers.

"I am directing the Regional Commissioner to ensure that they are thrown out. We shall not allow individuals to block development activities in Kiambu," Ruto said at Kamwangi in Gatundu North when he launched the construction of Thika-Magumu-Flyover Road.

Assembly Deputy Majority Leader Francis Koina (Kiambu Township) said the county has been dedicated to the affordable housing project ever since the President's announcement.

He attributed the delays to unnecessary politics from people keen on giving the Governor a bad name for their selfish goals. "The governor has taken the lead in ensuring that these projects are implemented. He has even engaged the public in the process and informed the ministry of the same for action. But we still witness some people criticizing the Governor," he said.