Blood, tears, toil, sweat as Housing PS Charles Hinga tries to drive housing levy message home

Charles Mwaura Hinga
Photo credit: John Nyagah | Nation Media Group

Until last Wednesday, Charles Mwaura Hinga was probably only famous for being the face of the affordable housing projects.

But the Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary has quickly become the perfect candidate for memes on social media after his animated show at State House, Nairobi, went viral.

Thrown into the deep end to explain the controversial housing levy advocated by President William Ruto, the man from Bondeni in Nakuru City sweated like a mjengo employee in his near-comical show.

Knocking down his glass of water, sweating and rumbling; social media went ablaze with memes and hilarious takes on Hinga.

Describing the plan as an elephant in the room, the PS began to perspire copiously as if he had literally carried the jumbo as his body struggled with the weight of expectation.

The unenviable task of selling the unpopular fund to the public was taking its toll.

Hinga had begun by proclaiming that the plan is the simple solution by the government to help Kenyans own homes.

Unfortunately, it was not as simple as the PS thought. And he learnt that the hard way.

Sweating profusely and guzzling glasses of water as he responded to a myriad of questions, the man surely earned his day’s pay.

If his boss was watching, Hinga clearly deserved a hardship allowance.

With liquid beads across his pale face, as he attempted to preach the housing fund gospel for more than an hour, the pain was visible.

In what was supposed to be a session to help break down the jargon and clear the air around the thorny issue, the PS began with the English language, switched to Kiswahili and even infused bits of Sheng but still needed some saving grace.

Panting heavily almost to the point of running out of breath as he struggled to put his points through, he blurted out: “Nyinyi hamuelewi hii maneno” (you do not understand these things).

And sure enough, hatujaelewa hadi sasa (we still do not understand).

The PS went ballistic, the shadow of State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed looming large as he watched brief for the President.

“You see why I am struggling piki piki ponky? You see, you know. We are struggling with this Housing Fund because of trust deficit and believability,” Hinga said.

And as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Kenyans do not believe the scheme to build houses for them.

It will take more litres of perspiration to make them buy the idea.

If President Ruto had any doubts on how difficult it is going to be to push through with the levy, the PS gave him a prologue.

Hinga was plucked by then-President Uhuru Kenyatta from relative obscurity in South Africa in 2018 and named the PS for Housing, Urban Development and Public Works.

He would be highly visible in the government as the face of the state affordable housing initiatives, which were part of the Big Four Agenda.

President Ruto would re-appoint him in the same capacity in November 2022.

Hinga had spent most of his adult life in South Africa where he helped implement urban mega-infrastructure projects through public-private partnerships.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Kenyatta University and Bachelor of Accounting Science from the University of South Africa.