Residents Call For Additional Slots For Counties In The Affordable Housing Board

Nyeri residents have called for a reconstitution of the Affordable Housing Board to include more representation from county governments.

During a public participation where members of the public had been invited to give their views on the Affordable Housing Regulation 2024, the residents argued that the county governments are underrepresented in the Affordable Housing Board.

In their submissions, the residents say that having a single representative in the board at the national level may not be enough to represent the individual interests of the 47 counties.

‘We feel that County Executive Committee Members in-charge of Housing are not involved in this process and at the county level, we don’t expect that the board will come and manage the affairs of the county,’ said Ndirangu Gachunia who is also the CEC Lands and Physical planning.

The Affordable Housing Act provides for the establishment of the Affordable Housing Board which will oversee the development of the affordable housing project.

According to t
he Act, the constitution of the board should comprise of a non-executive chairperson who will be appointed by the president, National Treasury Principal Secretary and a nominee from the Organization of Trade Unions and the Federation of Kenya Employers.

The Act also stipulates that the Council of County Governors shall also nominate a representative, something that Gachunia says may push counties away from the decision making table.

‘We need a board where the CECs housing sit as mandatory members and not as an adhoc so that they are part and parcel decision making,’ he said.

Gachunia also called for strict adherence of the law especially during the land administration process to avoid exposing county governments to legal battles in the future.

‘The county government is the custodian of public land on behalf of the citizens of Nyeri. We are asking that the process annexing public land be followed the letter to avoid future litigation. We want to be able to enter an agreement on every parcel of land and pro
ject, we don’t want blanket agreement so that we ensure that the due process is followed,’ he said.

The government intends to solve the housing problem by constructing 200,000 houses annually through the Affordable Housing project. The state hopes to achieve this by constructing at least 200 affordable housing units in every constituency.

According to the regional lead in charge of the Affordable Housing project, Albert Gakuru, a total of 350 housing units are currently under construction at Blue Valley in Nyeri town constituency.

But even as the project continues to take shape at Blue Valley, the residents also sought assurance that their houses will not be demolished by the future administrations. Citing incidents where the government has demolished residential houses, the residents have asked the government to ensure that the security of tenure of the beneficiaries of the project is provided for in the regulations.

‘What assurance do we have that years to come these affordable houses will not be demoli
shed by a different administration like we have previously witnessed demolition of government houses in places like East-lands in Nairobi?’ Posed Kimunyu Ndegwa.

The residents also want the regulations to spell out what should happen in the event that the owner of an affordable housing unit nominates another owner of an affordable housing unit as their successor in the event of death. According to Thomas Mundia, the Act in its present state only allows a Kenyan to own a single unit under the project and does not give special considerations during succession.

‘The Act prohibits an individual from owning more than one unit. I think it should state what should happen if say a parent wants their child who may be the owner of a unit under the Affordable Housing project,’ said Mundia.

Source: Kenya News Agency