President William Ruto has appealed to Kenyans to give him more time to lower the cost of living, specifically the price of maize flour.
Ruto said his government will need a year to be able to lower the cost of living and reduce the price of essential commodities.
Speaking during the groundbreaking for Soweto East Zone B Social Housing project in Kibera, Nairobi, yesterday, the president said the interventions he has put in place to reduce the cost of food, such as provision of affordable fertiliser to farmers, would need a year to pay off.
He affirmed his commitment to reduce the cost of living, saying that by providing cheap fertiliser to farmers they would produce enough food to be able to sell at affordable prices to consumers.
On the cost of unga, Ruto said, “Those who spoiled the price of maize flour and let it rise to Sh230 did it in four years, but give me one year and I will fix it.”
The president abolished Kazi Mtaani, a social security project started by his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta.
Ruto said rather than the menial jobs that the beneficiaries were doing under Kazi Mtaani, the youth would be employed in affordable housing projects.
“We are not only doing this because we need houses but because we also need jobs. Kazi Mtaani is in the past. In this project alone we will employ 2,500 youth. You will not need to go around picking trash anymore, that is gone. The work will be to construct houses,” he said.
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The president said he had a wider plan to construct houses in every constituency in Nairobi.
In two weeks, he said, he would commission another affordable housing project in Makongeni where some 25,000 units are under construction.
He said the government owns 3,000 acres of land in Nairobi, which could be utilised for construction of affordable housing units.
“We will need more than 20,000 youth to work in that project, so we will create enough employment opportunities without needing anyone to go around picking trash,” said Ruto.
The Kibera project will consist of 4,054 housing units, which will be allocated to slum dwellers who were evicted from the land to pave way for the project.
The project is aimed at offering residents an opportunity to become house owners through an affordable ‘rent-to-own’ programme from as low as Sh2,400 per month.
Early in the month, Ruto was in Mukuru to inspect the progress of a similar project.
He said by investing in affordable housing projects across the country, he would provide housing and employment opportunities. Local manufacturers and jua kali sector are expected to provide construction materials and their skills to the projects.
"I understand that we have an unemployment problem and we will solve that with the affordable housing programme," he said.
The president struck a conciliatory note with the residents of Langata Constituency, a bastion of opposition leader Raila Odinga, saying the time for politics was over and he intended to work for all Kenyans.
“All of us agree that the time for politics is done and I want to assure you that there is no citizen who belongs to the opposition and another who belongs to the government, we are all Kenyans,” he said.