Hurdles in achieving the urban housing agenda

By Kelly Ogome

The achievement of the housing agenda by the government is likely to hit a snag if the locals are not consulted and involved in realizing of this noble goal. A spot check by KUTV revealed that a majority of dwellers in areas set for house upgrading are not aware of the process and are likely to object any government activities in the area.

When he took over the arms of power as for the second time, President Kenyatta assured Kenyans that his government will strive towards ensuring they have affordable and decent housing units….

Kenyans from all divides embraced the idea and clapped waiting for the action that will see them dwell in decent structures kick off…

That was not the end of the promise, in April this year, a similar promise was made with the president clearly stating the commencement period.

Three weeks after the promise was made, KUTV visited some of the areas that were marked for upgrading. Some of the upgrading measures included demolition of old houses surprisingly no move has been made so far towards the upgrading …

This is Shauri Moyo Estate in Nairobi. Residents here are not aware of the upgrade and construction of new housing units neither does the construction bother them.

It is the same case here in Kaloleni, one of Nairobi’s oldest hood that boosts of housing prominent personalities like Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Tom Mboya and former Uganda’s President Milton Obote.

The structures are the same as they were left by the colonialists with others suffering the weathering effects.

We met with Ali Kariuki, the chairman of this section of Bahati estate who was born and raised here. This was an estate that colonial masters used to restrict for only people from the Mount Kenya region but now it has all tribes of Kenya.

Despite the fact that President Kenyatta made it public that this area will have 5,000 units in the next three months, dwellers here don’t know about this new developments his.

There worry is however not being consulted by the government but where they will be taken when the construction will be taking place and the procedures used in renting out the houses.

From the state of affairs, there is a likelihood that should the houses be put up, similar methods that were used in issuing out houses are likely to be used which will give a leeway for thriving of cartels.

It is not the first time such an incident is happening in the country, a similar project was put up in Kibra and after the completion of the first phase, and residents blocked the second phase on grounds of not being consulted. As if that was not enough, the project did not benefit the locals as new and able tenants from other parts of the country were given the house units leaving the locals with many questions.

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