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Ruto responds after Court of Appeal halts Housing Levy deductions

Court of Appeal upholds the decision of High Court declaring the housing levy unconstitutional.

Despite criticism and roadblocks, President William Ruto has stated that he intends to continue with the Affordable Housing Program.

Minutes after the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision to deem the levy deductions unconstitutional, Ruto said in a speech in Meru County that he would listen to Kenyan voices to carry on with the program.

While it was still unclear whether the head of State had been informed of the decision of the Appellant Court, Ruto likened the voice of Kenyans to that of Kenyans.

President Ruto maintained that the housing programme was important and had created job opportunities for Kenyans. 

“I have heard what the people in the opposition are saying and they are opposed to the housing programme. I asked them what is the alternative and they said Maandamano. 

“Do you want the housing programme to continue? Aren’t you the ones who have a say here? Isn’t your voice the voice of God? Now I have the command to continue with this programme,” he stated.

Ruto’s housing plan suffered a blow on Friday after the Appellant Court declined to grant the government its request to continue deducting 1.5% housing levy. 

In a ruling delivered by the three-judge bench of Justices Lydia Achode, John Mativo and Mwaniki Gachoka on Thursday, January 26, they upheld the High Court decision declaring the levy constitutional.

The Court of Appeals decision argued that the decision to impose the housing levy did not follow the stipulated framework.

“The trial Court held that the Housing Levy was introduced without a legal framework. It also held that the levy was targeting a section of Kenyans. In our view, public interest lies in awaiting the determination of the appeal,” the judges explained.

“This is because if the stay sought is granted at this stage, should the appellate Court affirm the impugned decision, then some far-reaching decisions that will have been undertaken pursuant to the impugned laws may not be reversible,” they further observed.

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“Public interest in our view tilts favour of in not granting the stay or the suspension sought. Public interest tilts in favour awaiting the determination of the issues raised in the intended appeals.”

Justices Lydia Achode, John Mativo and Mwaniki Gachoka observed that the applications filed by the state could not change the court’s decision declaring the levy unconstitutional.

They however directed the appeals filed by the government to be expedited to seal the fate of the housing levy.

“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,” the three-judge bench insisted.

Last year November, the High Court declared unconstitutional a 1.5 percent levy intended to fund affordable housing but later stayed the ruling until Jan 10 to allow for the government to appeal.

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