In a significant political move, Kenyan politician Raila Odinga has publicly urged employers to defy the government's directive on the Housing Levy.
This levy, a component of President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four agenda, is designed to facilitate affordable housing. However, its legality and impact on Kenyan citizens have sparked intense debate.
Odinga's Opposition to the Housing Levy
Raila Odinga, a prominent figure in Kenyan politics, has called for a halt to the remittance of the Housing Levy. He argues that the levy, which requires employers and employees to contribute 1.5% of their income, is unconstitutional.
His contention is rooted in the fact that the court has suspended the levy's implementation pending a case filed by the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU), an entity that represents Kenyan workers' interests.
Odinga's plea to employers not to comply with the government's directive is a bold reflection of his opposition to the policy. He asserts that the government's persistence in enforcing the levy directly undermines the judiciary's authority and disregards the rule of law. This defiance, in Odinga's view, is a substantial constitutional violation that employers should not condone.
High Court Ruling and Kenyans' Burden
The High Court had indeed declared the Housing Levy unconstitutional, temporarily relieving more than 3.2 million Kenyans from the financial burden. The judgment was suspended until January 10, allowing the government an opportunity to appeal.
However, Odinga and other Azimio leaders have hailed the High Court ruling, emphasizing that the financial bill is placing an excessive burden on Kenyans amidst concerns about the high cost of living.