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Azimio senators vow to reject Housing Bill

 Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Azimio senators from the Coast region have vowed to shoot down the Affordable Housing Bill once it is tabled before the Senate saying it will overburden Kenyans with taxes.

Members of the National Assembly overwhelmingly voted for the controversial Bill despite protests from the opposition.

On Monday, Senators Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi), Mohamed Faki (Mombasa) and Issa Juma (Kwale) vowed to vote against the Bill.

They spoke when they visited the Kilifi County Assembly in Malindi town on Monday where they asserted that housing was a devolved function as per the 2010 Constitution and that county governments should take construction of affordable houses without overtaxing Kenyans.

“The national government is contravening the Constitution by forcefully invading and destroying private property in the guise of putting up affordable houses. How do you destroy a house to build another house and without following due process? The victims have title deeds but President William Ruto and his team do not care,”  Madzayo protested.

Faki argued that housing is a devolved function and governors dishing out land for the affordable housing projects were contravening the law.

“Governors should understand that county land should not be donated without involving residents of that county. What we are seeing is that the governors are creating a problem,” he said adding that President Ruto should let counties implement the affordable housing project.

Senator Juma said that public participation is enshrined in law and that county governments should have been given the opportunity to consult the people before rushing into the affordable housing project.

“It happened recently in Mombasa where citizens with genuine land title deeds were evicted and their property destroyed by the national government to build affordable houses. You are destroying someone’s house to build him another house that he or she will pay for. This is stupidity,” he said.

The senators claimed that no serious public participation was conducted especially in areas where the national government was demolishing private homes to construct affordable houses.

Kilifi County Assembly Speaker Teddy Mwambire said that it would be wise to give MCAs an opportunity to debate the Bill before it is enacted into law.

“It will be prudent for governors to seek advice on whether to release land to the national government instead of just dishing out land for affordable housing that may bring problems in the future,” he argued.

The Speaker said some governors had given out land meant for county projects to President Ruto to implement the affordable housing project without doing due diligence.

“This Bill ought to have been tabled in the county Assemblies since each county has got its unique housing experience but the governors have overstepped their mandate and the move will create problems in future,” he added.

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