The Kenya cabinet has approved a National Housing Policy and sent it to Parliament for endorsement to address the urban slum and housing shortage problems, deputy minister for roads, public works and housing, Joshua Toro said here Saturday.
Toro said the policy would facilitate the construction of over 150,000 housing units annually in the urban areas over the next five years.
He was speaking after flagging off the 2004 Nairobi Marathon for Shelter, which has as its theme "Slum Upgrading: Ensuring Community Participation, Protecting Human Rights", organised by the NGO Coalition on Urban Land Rights and Housing in collaboration with the UN-HABITAT.
Toro said the government had also prepared a national housing development programme to serve as the implementing arm of the housing plan.
David Kithakye, UN-HABITAT’s Senior Human Settlement Officer at the Regional Office for Africa and Arab States, called upon slum dwellers to take the lead in upgrading their environment, saying that the government and UN-HABITAT were unable to transform the slums on their own.
The UN official explained that through the UN-HABITAT Global Campaign for secure tenure, we are advocating that demolition of slum settlements is not a solution and that it is a violation of housing rights. He said more than one million people in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, were living in destitute situations that needed improvement.