Construction workers in Nairobi gathered outside the Milimani Law Courts to express their support for the Affordable Housing Project, staging a peaceful protest that turned tense when police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
The demonstration was sparked by a recent court ruling that ordered the government to suspend the collection of the Affordable Housing Levy. Construction workers fear that this decision could lead to job losses within their sector.
Wearing their distinctive construction attire, workers demanded the government to proceed with the Affordable Housing Project, holding placards with messages like “Affordable Housing is not just a program. It’s a lifeline for a better quality of life.”
One protester, identified as an electrical engineer, shared his frustration over the lack of job opportunities and expressed hopes for financial benefits from the government’s project before the court ruling.
“Housing levy is a must. As a worker, I plead for the work to continue because, without this project, people will resort to illegal ways,” said another protester.
The Affordable Housing Levy was declared unconstitutional by the High Court on November 28, 2023, and the Court of Appeal upheld this decision on Friday.
Despite the state’s request to halt the implementation of the High Court judgment, the justices insisted on awaiting the appeal’s determination before taking further action.
Justices Lydia Achode, John Mativo, and Gatembu Kairu of the Court of Appeal declined the state’s plea to suspend orders preventing the deduction of the housing levy from Kenyan citizens.
In their statement, the justices highlighted the importance of considering public interest while awaiting the appeal’s determination, expressing concerns about potential irreversible consequences on decisions made under the challenged laws.
The court’s decision means that the housing levy remains suspended, aligning with the initial declaration by the High Court.
The situation remains tense as construction workers anxiously await the resolution of the appeal, hoping for a positive outcome that will allow the Affordable Housing Project to continue