The mandate of the National Housing Corporation is to ensure affordable housing for a majority of urban dwellers.
When President Kibaki came to power in 2003 he said: “Corruption will now cease to be a way of life in Kenya and I call upon all those members of my government and public officers accustomed to corrupt practices to know and clearly understand that there will be no sacred cows under my government.”
Kibaki took power with the promise that more ordinary Kenyans would be able to own homes through less expensive schemes like the tenant purchase scheme NHC favours.
Unfortunately, that dream was long ago hijacked by corrupt ministers and chief officers in Government. These officials act as fronts for moneyed business people who bribe them to acquire such houses, which they later sell at market rates.
This kind of high-level sleaze and corruption has ensured that the cost of housing in urban areas remains extremely high.
Curing this ill will require de-linking the ministries from NHC, and creating an independent regulator for public housing, leaving the ministry with a policy making role only.
NHC would then be answerable to the regulator and not the minister.
This would restore confidence in the public housing sector, make oversight of procurement easier, and reduce chances of ministers dipping their hand in the housing till.
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