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Mombasa Residents Cite Buxton Project Disappointments In Opposing Ruto’s Affordable Housing Plan

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Mombasa residents have expressed displeasure on the government’s affordable housing project on grounds that there is no assurance that the average citizen will benefit.

In a charged atmosphere during the public participation session on the Affordable Housing Bill led by the Departmental Committee on Housing, Urban Planning, and Public Works in Mombasa, residents expressed grievances and demanded answers from the committee on gaps and existing grey areas related to the project.

The public participation coming hot on the heels of recent demolitions in Changamwe triggered further scrutiny, as residents questioned the government’s timing and approach.

Affordability of the housing projects repeatedly came under scrutiny, amidst doubts about their accessibility by common mwananchi.

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The Johanna Ng’eno led committee heard public concerns over the questionable affordability of the housing project with residents saying based on experience with existing projects in Buxton, the average citizen could be a disadvantaged lot.

“You are saying that this is an affordable housing project. Have you seen what is going on in Buxton? Is there anyone from Moroto who has benefitted from the Buxton housing project?

Only those who are already house owners have purchased the Buxton houses and even as we speak now some have converted them to Air BnBs while the original Buxton tenants who were evicted are suffering outside there,” Bamburi resident Peter Kazungu said.

Emphasised concerns

Kazungu further questioned the committee, asking why they were addressing the issue now, given that demolitions had already taken place in Changamwe. He emphasised concerns about the sequence of events, suggesting that it might be putting the cart before the horse.

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“We were promised that we would be returned to Buxton but it never happened. It is disturbing to see that it’s the rich who are buying the houses. Does it mean that the poor have no say? Some of us are widows and we are appealing for your consideration,” said another former Buxton resident.

Her sentiments were echoed by John Tsuma, also a former Buxton resident who said, “We are supposed to be allocated 184 units under phase one of the project while the residents 336 were supposed to occupy phase two. But this has never been the case.”

Suleiman Mwakitanga, a seasoned mason, appealed for 80 per cent of the workforce and occupants to be sourced locally, emphasising the importance of empowering the community through employment opportunities.

Similar sentiments echoed through the crowd, challenging the government’s narrative that the housing project primarily aimed to create jobs.

And in pointblank disapproval, Haki Yetu Land Program Officer and Legal advisor Munira Ali accused the Committee of attempting to massage the government’s disregard of rule of law by holding the public participation exercise.

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Addressing the committee, Munira noted that according to the Affordable Housing Bill 2023, the government still prefers a mortgage finance mechanism, a scheme and a model that is beyond the reach of many who because of their low social status cannot afford to service a mortgage.

Home ownership

“Members of Parliament, whose financial problem are we solving? Whose housing problem are we solving? If Kenyans are struggling to pay house rent, how can they afford home ownership? So the only way to solve the housing problem is to understand it first, it is to ask housing for who?

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“Whose housing problem are we solving? Who are the beneficiaries of affordable housing projects?” posed Munira.

While dismissing the public participation exercise as sheer waste of time, she charged “the people who really matter are members of the public, majority of Kenyans have spoken, majority have decided. Let us maintain the rule of law, let us respect the decision of courts, let us respect the decision of Kenyans.”

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Amidst the concerns, issues of taxation surfaced. Residents questioned the fairness of taxing citizens, only to later witness advertisements for the completed houses priced in the millions.


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