Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan attending the Kenya Kwanza Parliamentary Group (PG) at State House on May 23, 2023 Image:PCS
•President William Ruto said that creation of employment is what's driving him to introduce the plans to Kenyans.
•The government, however, has faced criticism from the opposition as well as the public over the high cost of living.
Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan has said that the Housing fun debate has been politicised.
Speaking on Monday morning during an interview he said, that leaders have become political on the issue, not looking at the benefits of the plan.
"Much of the argument about the housing levy is political. It is not looking at the benefits and the impact that this is to going have," Hassan said.
The Jubilee MP noted that the plan will not only create employment but also stimulate Kenya's economy.
Hassan also noted that the housing plan will elevate millions of Kenyans living in deplorable conditions due to poverty and underdevelopment.
President William Ruto said that the creation of employment is what's driving him to introduce the plans to Kenyans.
"The real motivation behind it (housing project) is the jobs we are going to create for the young people of Kenya. Ni kuhakikisha kwamba vijana wanapata ajira (It's to ensure the youth are employed)," he said last Friday.
Ruto said the government will need five youths for every house to be constructed.
He criticised those opposing the plan and the proposed levy.
"I hear there are some people inciting you. First, you don’t have a salary. That person with a salary is telling you to oppose (the levy). Hii dunia iko na utapeli mingi sana (This world is full of fraudsters),” he said.
The government intends to curb mushrooming of informal settlements through the housing programme. There are 1,411 informal settlements across the country.
"Kenya is one of the fastest urbanising countries in the world; whereas in some places it's at 3.7 per cent, Kenya's rate is 4.4 per cent. By 2050, 68 per cent of Kenyans will be urban dwellers. If our strategy works, people said.
He explained that the government will ensure that the construction materials used in the project are sourced locally to boost the local manufacturing industry.
The government, however, has faced criticism from the opposition as well as the public over the high cost of living.
Opposition chief Raila Odinga has on various occasions told President Ruto that the cost of living needed to be relooked at because, at the moment, people are suffering.
He said Kenyans cannot be taxed to the bone just because of Kenya Kwanza’s internal weaknesses.
In addition, Raila has asked President Ruto to institute far-reaching reforms in his administration to tackle the high cost of living. By Maureen Kinyanjui, The Star
I want to begin this open letter by telling you that I love you Mr. President and do not intend any ill in sharing what you are reading. I know you are surrounded by lots of friends who may be telling you that things in the country are ok and moving from bad to good and best.
This letter is intended to give you the citizens’ perspective. This is truth as I see it, being out of government. It is shared to help you turn around and save yourself, your team and the nation at large from destruction. I have written open letters to previous presidents, including your predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta, so this is not personal.
I have also castigated former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, and many in government for many years when they made mistakes that affect the people of Kenya. So take this for what it is – speaking truth in love.
I write to you as someone who deeply loves Kenya, fears God and desires the best for every single citizen of this great country. I also write as someone who wanted to be in your position as 5th president of the Republic of Kenya with a deep desire to do government very differently from how you are doing it.
We let you become President. We gave you everything citizens can give one of them to lead them. But, instead of leading our country, you have been destroying it systematically so that every day, every hour, we are treated to one more layer of destruction, and if we let you go on the way you are, we will not have a country, but you can also be sure of this, we will also not have you as President.
In this open letter, I want to warn you in love about four things that may bring your downfall sooner than later, and the sooner you turn around and do the right thing, the better. I know, you think that because you have the instruments of power you can use them to prevent your downfall and to have your way, but it is that kind of thinking that would hasten the downfall I am talking about.
Mr. President, pride does not come before a fall. Pride is fall itself and, because you read Scripture, I want to remind you that it is pride that led to the downfall of the brightest angel, Lucifer, “the shining one.” Pride brought Nebuchadnezzar, President of Babylon, down. You may recall that God made him eat grass like an ox and wet with the dew of the morning.
It is pride that made Rehoboam, son of the wisest king of Israel, Solomon, to refuse advice from godly elders and prefer the counsel of his close youthful associates. At one point, he told the people he was leading, “My father chastised you with whips but I will chastise you with scorpions.” Rehoboam’s rule ended prematurely and the Kingdom of Israel was, unfortunately, divided into two.
In the New Testament the best example I can give you of pride and arrogance is that of king Herod whom God struck by having worms eat him up. Great men and women, past and present, have been brought down by the sort of things you and your friends are doing to Kenyans. You are a scientist by training, but I know you have read or heard about an English playright called William Shakespeare. In his play called Macbeth, this is what Shakespeare says:
“A good and virtuous nature may recoil
In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon:
That which you are, my thoughts cannot transpose.
Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
Yet grace must still look so.”
I could tell you a lot about what Shakespeare implies in the passage above, but the last words are critical. If you really believe in grace, it should never, and it can never, wear foul garments. One more biblical example before I show you what will bring your downfall. In Genesis 4, when Cain kills his brother Abel – and I am not implying you have killed someone – God asks the question I would like to ask you in the context of how you are treating Kenyans: “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?...” But the verse goes on to say, “if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you but you must rule over it.”
Mr President, four things are going to bring you and your government down:
Your unending display of unforgiveness and the open practice of revenge, especially on former President, Uhuru Kenyatta, his family and the people who worked for and with him. Your deputy, Mr. Rigathi Gachagua, does the same, thereby implying that the topmost leadership of our country cannot reconcile the nation. This tit-for-tat, tooth-for-a-tooth and eye-for-an-eye attitude never works and is bound to leave the country both toothless and blind.
The position of President is like that of a father. You are the head, on top of everyone and everything and cannot go any higher, so it is about how you lead all those below you. As a father, at the end of the day, there is no good and bad child. It is about helping the bad children become good and ensuring that the home is livable. You cannot prove how much of a father you are by destroying the house you live in and spreading hatred and animosity in the home. As president, you are also like a priest, who ensures reconciliation among the people and between people and their God. No priest whips and scatters people coming to sacrifice and the flocks they bring for the same sacrifice.
What is more, the name “God” or “Christ” or “Church” does not befit the kind of things you and your government are doing to the people of Kenya. You can choose to go on doing those things and just not associate them with the Christian faith, or, better still, harmonize the way you are treating Kenyans with clear biblical teaching.
Your deputy has said with a straight face that your government belongs to” shareholders” and that only those who voted for the two of you will have the pre-eminence and priority. You have not come out to correct this notion, thereby implying you agree with him.
This attitude of revenge, favouritism and crony capitalism, coupled with your open ethnic appointments will not make you survive as a leader. Take it from me. Unless you change this, the nation called Kenya will spit you out as a leader. It has not worked in the past. It cannot work here. It will never work. It will bring you down unless you change.
Overtaxing your fellow citizens while spending the same taxes extravagantly cannot lead to Kenya’s prosperity. That approach cannot and will never work. I thought it was obvious to you and your friends until I saw you persist with it. Mr. President, the I.M.F. and the World Bank are misleading you by insisting that you implement over taxation and ruthless privatization in order to be economically stable, but they are lying to you on the timing. It will not work this time. Show me just one nation that became economically stable and prosperous by impoverishing citizens to the point of them not having incomes and then you impose hefty taxes on them. When the United States went through the Great Depression, they mainly reduced government spending.
When Greece’s unemployment moved from 7 per cent to 28 per cent, it is not just taxation that they dealt with; they mainly looked at government spending. What will bring you down, Mr. President, is increasing taxes while at the same time increasing your government’s spending and doing nothing about misappropriation and outright looting of Kenya’s incomes. You cannot overtax a nation into prosperity, let alone into liquidity.
Austerity measures take many forms and can help with economic recovery, but they must take into account the path that will ease the citizens’ burdens. For example, instead of beginning with raising taxes, what your government should have done is actually cut down on government spending and sealing off loopholes that make us lose money. You and your friends are, obviously, not willing to cut down government spending.
Instead, you have gone on rampage to spend more. Mr. President, do the following and you will survive: First, stop all foreign trips by you and your government officials until at least July 2024 and see the difference. Let those you want to meet come to you or show up virtually at meetings you must really attend internationally. Stop hosting parliamentary and government meetings in Naivasha and Mombasa, Nanyuki or wherever and meet people at State House or Parliament Buildings, or have virtual sessions. We did it in 2020 and 2021 anyway. Bring back the trillions you and your friends have in foreign nations’ bank accounts, and let us pay back what we have borrowed on time both locally and internationally. Fire the 50 C.A.S’s you appointed recently. We don’t need them.
Abolish all unnecessary government offices like those of the First Lady, Second Lady and Spouse to the Prime Cabinet Secretary, etc. Most of all, instead of increasing taxes, lower them so that more people can pay with the little they have. Reschedule or renegotiate our public debt. Do not introduce any new taxes at this time as a new government. Bring back subsidies on fuel and unga to buy time for survival and for you to move from the short term to the long term planning you have for the people of Kenya.
Your priorities are completely wrong and there is no pretence about that. You cannot force people to have houses they are not asking for when they have no food and they keep telling you that food is their priority. The more you insist that they must have houses, before food, the more your motives become clear. It is not the houses you want the people of Kenya to have; it is what you and your friends will get financially from building houses for Kenyans by force. If you insist that we must have houses instead of affordable and available food, Mr. President we will impeach you together with your members of parliament. Why? Because we don’t want your houses before we have food.
What is more, you cannot take money from workers by force in the name of building them houses. They did not tell you that is what they want, and most of them already have houses. Neither will you take money from employers under the false pretext of helping their employees. You did not sit down with either before going this direction. In fact, you need to tell us how we participate in deciding on a process you have already launched and is going on. Your priority is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Again Mr. President, why are you so obsessed with these mega projects that gobble billions of shillings we do not have? Why not halt all of them in order to survive economically as a nation? Why privatize now? Where are you running to? Who is pushing you to do this to the people of Kenya so that you can force money out of them? Where is your heart of mercy? Where is your humanity? Wapi utu wako?
Your obsession with implementing global policies and programmes at the expense of our national sovereignty and integrity will end your leadership. Remember you sent troops to DRC before doing something about banditry in our own country? Remember what your first agricultural priority was once you took government? You sat down with foreign investors interested in marketing their food ideologies here instead of sitting down with our farmers and agricultural experts. You rushed to license GMOs against the will of the people you represent, because you pay more attention to Bill Gates and the American government than your own people.
You quickly visited Europe and America and came back with signed agreements on so-called food security. You quickly rushed to import fertilizer when we can make it here and create jobs. In fact, you have quickly rushed to outlaw the use of animal manure in our shambas so that you can import and benefit yourself and your foreign business partners. Although the Church, Muslim clerics and many citizens told you they do not want LGBTQI mainstreamed in Kenya, you quietly accepted it while pretending to be against it, again to please your foreign masters. Instead of listening to our economic experts, you are so quick to listen to foreign experts.
In the process, you have made our country a dumping ground for foreign goods, including maize, instead of empowering our local farmers. You already talked about the need to expand and protect as well as remove cartels from the tea and coffee sectors but say little on the need to invest and expand our indigenous food crops like cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas, arrow roots, sorghum, millet, yams and our legume varieties that are drought-resistant, and addressing post-harvest losses. You are ready to lease land in Zambia to grow maize while farmers languish here in untold suffering and Galana-Kulalo continues to receive casual attention.
Mr President, you are on your own … … with ethnic appointments; with mega projects when we are starving; with your housing project when we want food and affordable living; on your energy sector changes; with increasing taxes. You are on your own on privatization; on the so-called “bottom-up.” You are on your own with your foreign policy. You are on your own with your hatred and revenge tactics; on seeing Kenya as a club of shareholders. You are on your own; but if you turn around, we will be here, waiting to support and encourage you.
Love, justice and mercy as Micah advises, remember the widows and the orphans as Isaiah and James advise. Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and fight for the rights of the oppressed and God will bless you. As Isaiah advised, learn to do what is right and stop doing what is wrong.
I have shared openly in love. I do not desire your downfall. I want you to succeed. Hence the warnings. Better are the blows of a friend than the kisses of an enemy.
God bless you and God bless Kenya. By Reuben Kigame, The Standard
Two patients died of Congo fever in Abu Ali Sinai Balkhi Hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif city, health officials said.
Reports of an outbreak of Congo fever have been recorded in a number of provinces in the north of the country.
Najibullah Tawana, head of public health of Balkh, announced the death of two people in the meeting of sectorial coordination to prevent and reduce diseases between humans and animals in the province.
“Last week, 10 cases of Congo disease were confirmed in Faryab and Jawzjan and [patients were] transferred to Abu Ali Sina Balkhi seminary hospital, but two of them have died,” said Tawana. Meanwhile, Mawolavi Mohammad Nasim Abid, the deputy mayor of Mazar-e-Sharif, said that they monitor the cleanliness and compliance of butchers every day, and that animals are slaughtered in slaughterhouses built by this department.
According to him; standard facilities have been established for the slaughter of chickens to prevent the spread of various diseases.
Mawolavi Zabihullah Noorani, the head of Balkh culture and information, also asked the media to inform the people about the prevention of this disease and inform them about the harm of this deadly disease. Atr News
The session was chaired by the Environment Parliament Speaker, Robert Turyakira, an environmental and climate activist
To tackle climate change, the Environment Parliament has issued a call for a substantial increase in investment in waste disposal research.
The inaugural sitting on Friday, 26 May 2023, at Parliament, brought together young people, policymakers, environmental scientists, concerned individuals and Members of Parliament to explore viable solutions to environmental challenges in the country, with a particular focus on waste disposal.
The session was chaired by the Environment Parliament Speaker, Robert Turyakira, an environmental and climate activist.
During the sitting, Professor John Kaddu, the board chairperson of the Climate Change Adaptation Innovation (CHAI), emphasised the urgency of investing in research to develop sustainable and efficient waste management solutions.
Kaddu highlighted the existing challenges associated with the current waste disposal systems, including air, water, and soil pollution. These challenges not only harm the environment and compromise ecosystems but also pose risks to public health.
"Climate disasters and waste management are intricately linked, demanding a concerted effort to invest in data generation to inform policy action," Kaddu stated.
Kaddu further acknowledged the positive impact of private entities' involvement in waste collection, particularly in the capital, Kampala. However, he pointed out that the volume of waste generated exceeds the capacity of the available collection vehicles, necessitating additional resources to effectively manage the escalating waste production.
Climate disasters and waste management are intricately linked, demanding a concerted effort to invest in data generation to inform policy action. Hon. Jacinta Atuto, the Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on Climate Change in Parliament, echoed the call for funding in waste disposal, emphasising that inadequate waste management directly contributes to disasters and exacerbates climate change.
Atuto, also Kapelebyong District Woman Representative, cited the overcrowded Kampala City, where waste is scattered across the streets, obstructing drainage systems.
To address these waste management challenges, Atuto revealed that the committee has devised measures, including decommissioning the Kitezi landfill and providing support to small enterprises engaged in waste income-generating activities.
"The Government should review and streamline waste management and recycling policies, enhancing their implementation," recommended Atuto.
"Furthermore, the government needs to intensify waste management campaigns and public education on proper waste handling and disposal," she added.
Diana Kibuuka, a media personality who covers environmental issues, drew attention to the problem of waste disposal in Lake Victoria, highlighting encroachments on wetlands and widespread dumping as major concerns. She emphasised the need to protect wetlands and called for efforts to educate fishermen on responsible waste disposal, discouraging them from abandoning their tools in the water.
Expressing her concern, Hon. Linda Auma, the Lira District Woman MP, lamented the inadequacy of environmental laws that have enabled the continued destruction of the environment.
Hon. Miriam Mukhaye, the Mbale District Woman Representative, highlighted the profound impact of climate change on the Bugisu sub-region.
Referring to the 23 May 2023 landslides in Bulambuli District that killed over six people, Mukhaye called for robust mitigation policies to ensure the safety and well-being of all citizens in the face of such tragedies.
Prior to the afternoon sitting, the stakeholders held a seminar that was opened by David Ivan Masajjage, Assistant Director for Communication and Public Affairs at Parliament. Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.
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