You got it wrong on affordable housing, Raila Odinga tells President Ruto

 Raila Odinga

Azimio leader Raila Odinga cuts a cake during his belated birthday celebration at Meru politician Zablon Mathenge’s home in Mulathankari, Imenti North on February 3, 2024.

Photo credit: Charles Wanyoro | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Raila says the housing project should also be tailored for each region because the housing needs are not the same in all parts of the country.
  • Mr Odinga says the government should create jobs in Kenya instead of promising to export labour to other countries

A zimio La Umoja leader Raila Odinga has slammed President William Ruto’s affordable housing project, saying it is being implemented poorly and without consulting Kenyans.

Mr Odinga said that the project was his brainchild during the Government of National Unity under the late President Mwai Kibaki and the way it is now being forced down Kenyans’ throats is wrong.

“I am the one who started the affordable housing project. Mr Kibaki and I had elaborate plans on how the houses would be built. But going by the way the Kenya Kwanza government is implementing the project, Kenyans’ interests are not being taken into account,” Mr Odinga said.

“The people haven’t been properly consulted and sensitised on the housing project. If you ask Kenyans what their pressing need is, some will say they want food and not houses. The housing project should also be tailored for each region because the needs of housing are not the same in all parts of the country.”

The opposition leader spoke in Meru on Saturday when he visited a long-time Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) member, Zablon Mathenge. He also launched the party’s county registration drive during the same occasion.

Mr Odinga was accompanied by ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya and Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, who is also the Nairobi Senator, among other others.

The ODM chief also criticised President Ruto for stating several times that he is negotiating for 200,000 jobs for Kenyans abroad, especially in Germany.  Mr Odinga said the government should create the jobs in Kenya instead of promising to export labour to other countries.

He said the work of the government was not “to give Kenyans fish, but to teach them how to fish” by creating an enabling environment for them to create jobs themselves.

“Encouraging local investment is one way of creating jobs. But the high cost of electricity is one of the reasons why investors are running away from Kenya, yet the government is doing nothing to reduce it,” Mr Odinga said.

Concerning the killings of women which has become rampant across the country, Mr Odinga said the government should take the matter seriously and tackle femicide.

Mr Oparanya told residents of Meru to register as members of ODM party in readiness to take over power during the 2027 General Election.

Mr Sifuna hit out Dr Ruto’s administration over the fire that broke out at Embakasi in Nairobi following an explosion of a gas tanker at an illegal gas filling station. He said the government was squarely to blame over the incident in which three people were killed and over 200 injured.

“We don’t want them to just talk, they must act. They should not go for the watchmen who were guarding the facility, they should sack the Energy Petroleum Regulatory Authority bosses under whose noses the illegalities happened,” Mr Sifuna said.

The senator told Meru residents not to be ensnared by tribal politics and should not be deceived by people who are saying that Mr Odinga’s criticism of Chief Justice Martha Koome was targeted at the community.

“If Raila criticises an officer for the mistakes they make, it does not mean he is targeting the community. We are trying to correct wrongs in government. Even when National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula makes mistakes I am the first to speak out,” Mr Sifuna said.