A section of construction workers from Nairobi held peaceful demonstrations at the Milimani Law Courts in support of the Affordable Housing Project.
In a video seen by The Kenya Times, the group protested outside the court on January 30, 2024, arguing that they earn their living from construction work.
The youth were protesting against the Court of Appeal’s ruling that declared the housing levy unconstitutional, pointing out that the court had dented their hopes.
“Affordable Housing is not just a program. It is a lifeline for a better quality of life. We support the housing levy,” read a banner displayed by the protesters.
Policemen were seen trying to contain the youth as they demanded to be heard.
This came days after the Court of Appeal declined to lift orders by the high Court suspending the Housing levy.
Housing Levy ruling
In a ruling delivered by a three-judge bench on January 26, 2024, the Court held that the deductions remain suspended.
“In conclusion, we find and hold that none of the 4 consolidated applications satisfies both limps. Accordingly, Civil applications Nos. E577 of 2023, E581 of 2023, E585 of 2023 and E596 of 2023 are hereby dismissed.
“We make no orders as to Costs. However, we direct that the appeals be heard expeditiously so that the issues raised in the appeals can be resolved with finality,” read part of the ruling.
Following the appellate court’s ruling, President William Ruto defended the affordable housing project highlighting the number of jobs it has created.
The head of state said the project currently employs over 130,000 young people and the number will shoot to 300,000.
“I want to tell the people who have gone to court, many of them have jobs, they want to deny opportunities to people who have never worked. We are on a mission to ensure equity and equality for all people of Kenya.”
President Ruto on the ruling
The President added that despite the ruling, he will push forward with the plan that has created opportunities for young people, insisting that is where the public interest lies.
“I want to say for the avoidance of doubt we are already making the law that the court authorized that we go and make.
They should have given us a chance to complete the law, but we are going to complete the law and we are going to go forward with making sure we create opportunities for jobs for the young people of our country because that is what the people of Kenya want.
That is the right thing to do and that is where the public interest is,” Ruto said.
Also in December 2023, a section of Kenyan youth protested within the Nairobi Central Business District in support of the housing levy.