With just Sh3,000 rent, Mama Mboga will own houses, says Ruto

President William Ruto says the Affordable Housing programme will provide over 500,000 jobs to the youth. [PCS, Standard]

President William Ruto has signed the Affordable Housing Bill into law, marking the return of the controversial housing levy deductions.

At a State House event yesterday, Dr Ruto said he would ensure integrity in the affordable housing programme, which he touted as a plan to enhance decency among the lower class.
The President said the programme would also spur cross-sector employment, granting jobs to 300,000 young Kenyans within two months and 500,000 young men and women by the end of the year.

“Mama mboga and boda boda (riders) are firmly in our equation. This programme will make it possible for a mama mboga who today pays a rent of Sh3,000 to pay Sh4,000 and own a home. “This programme will give every hustler living in a shack, the chance to dignify their lives,” he said.

He expounded that Kenyans of all backgrounds would benefit from the programme, stating that 20 per cent of the houses would be social houses, 50 per cent would be affordable houses, targeting Kenyans earning over Sh20,000. Market-rate houses, which account for 30 per cent, would be reserved for the middle class.

“In this housing programme, there is a chance for every Kenyan. Those who want bigger houses will have the opportunity to get them as will those who want social and affordable houses,” said Ruto, who announced that the law had scrapped the mandatory 10 per cent deposit, with prospective owners assessed on a case-to-case basis.

He vouched for the quality of the units, adding that a lot of work has gone into building the capacity of jua kali artisans “to improve the quality of what they are doing to meet the construction standards”.

The new law returns a 1.5 pay deduction on salaried Kenyans, a figure employers will match, as the government eyes to raise Sh90 billion annually through the fund. The law was formulated following a High Court finding that the previous deductions lacked legal backing. Similarly, the court found it discriminatory that only employed Kenyans contributed to the Housing Fund. Prospective owners are to pay a minimum monthly contribution of Sh200, an amount set in 2019.

To show the programme’s impact thus far, Ruto engaged some beneficiaries, who included artisans working at the various sites, in a panel discussion. The overarching message was that many had seen a direct impact on their lives.

That was the story of Japheth Kitelai, a person living with disability who supplies food to site workers in Kibra, as well as Jaqueline Gachao, an electrician in Ruiru, who has since received a certificate of prior learning.

“I started working there in July last year after struggling to find a job... I was given the chance to prove myself as a woman,” Gachao told Ruto, revealing that 90 electricians working at her specific site. 

Others on the panel were Mary Wanjiku (carpenter), Meshack Muimi (plumber), Peter Muema (jua kali artisan), construction workers Stanley Njoroge and Obed Matombo, and university leader Anthony Manyara, who made a case for the construction of hostels for campus students.