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Raila: There is nothing wrong with affordable housing

by Paul Nyongesa
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Raila Odinga, the leader of the Azimio movement, has voiced his support for the government’s affordable housing plan while emphasizing the necessity for improvements in its design and implementation.

During an insightful interview with Meru-based Mwariama FM, Odinga revealed that he played a pivotal role in initiating the affordable housing and slum upgrading program during his tenure as the Minister for Roads, Transport, and Housing.

Odinga shared the origins of Kenya’s housing strategy, stating that he drew inspiration from successful housing programs in countries such as Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore after thorough benchmarking.

He underscored that the primary objective of affordable housing, as envisioned by him and former President Mwai Kibaki, was not to burden citizens with heavy taxes or repayment plans but rather to enhance living standards for those in informal settlements.

The opposition leader called for a more flexible approach to the affordable housing program, suggesting that the government allow Kenyans interested in purchasing homes to pay a deposit rather than enforcing uniform taxes across the board.

Odinga stressed  that many people are protesting the Kenya Kwanza affordable housing program due to a lack of understanding about its benefits.

During the interview, Odinga emphasized the need for the government to tailor housing designs based on regional and individual needs rather than pursuing a one-size-fits-all approach.

He proposed the construction of bungalows in certain areas and advocated for a participatory model where residents contribute land and labor while the government provides materials to upgrade existing houses in other regions.

Critiquing the government’s failure to adequately explain the affordable housing program to the public, Odinga proposed the necessity of a major national conference to build trust and understanding among Kenyans.

Drawing parallels to the success of a similar conference held during the Kibaki era, Odinga highlighted the importance of transparent communication in gaining public support.

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