Affordable Housing: Nakuru court transfers case to Nairobi

A seventh petition challenging President William Ruto’s affordable housing program was on Tuesday transferred to Nairobi by the High court in Nairobi.

Justice Patricia Gichohi in her ruling directed that the petition which was filed by a Nakuru based lawyer Peter Okiro be handled by the court in Nairobi which is handling six other petitions of similar nature.

She directed that the matter be placed before the High Judge sitting in Milimani that is Justice Chacha Mwita who will give directions regarding the prayers sought in the petition.

“The court gives directions that this file be transferred to Milimani human rights and constitutional division and be mentioned before justice Chacha Mwita on April 14 for directions,” ruled justice Gichohi.

Other petitions that have challenged the program include one filed by the Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Katinba Institute, Moses Nthurima against CS national Treasury, Okiya Omtatah and 27 other senators against the national Assembly, Trade union Congress versus the State law office, Dr Benjamin Magare against Cs Lands, treasury as well as one by Okiya Omtatah versus National Assembly.

The court however declined to grant conservatory orders to suspend the implementation of the law pending hearing and determination as well as an order referring the file to the Chief justice Martha Koome to constitute an even number of judges to hear the petition.

In the petition which was filed in march 25, Mr Okiro has challenged the constitutionality and validity of the Affordable Housing Act, 224 which he alleges contains various grounds of illegality and impropriety.

Through lawyer Kipkoech Ng’etich, Mr Okiro argues that some sections of the law, specifically section 4 and 5 impose mandatory levy on income of all citizens hence violating their right to property.

The lawyer claims the Act further affects the provisions of Article 160 (4) of the constitution that exempts the judge’s and magistrates’ remuneration from mandatory deductions.

The law further compromises the distribution of functions between the county and national government by excluding the county government from collecting the housing levy.

“The government has overthrown the constitution by legislating political rhetoric and hot air into an egregious Act of parliament,” stated Mr Okiro.

He wants the court to declare sections 4 and 5 of the Act unconstitutional while sections 16, 17 and 26 declared to be a violation of the law.

He also wants the court to declare that the Government of Kenya has attempted to overthrow the constitution.

When the case was mentioned on Tuesday the National Assembly sought to be enjoined in the petition as a respondent.

The assembly through its lawyer Josephat Kuyioni told the court that it holds a direct and substantial interest in the outcome of the proceedings.

“Affordable housing Act being a product of legislative deliberations and enactment, directly implicates the national assembly ‘s constitutional mandate. As such any challenge to the validity and constitutionality of the Act directly affects the legislative Authority of the national Assembly,” state Mr Kuyioni.

Justice Gichohi however ruled that the issue shall be dealt with by the court in Nairobi.


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