Kenya’s Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi on Monday led the national World Habitat Day celebrations in Nakuru town where the alarm was sounded over an acute housing shortage facing the country.
Mr. Naison Mutizwa-Mangiza, the Representative of UN-HABITAT Executive Director,deliver a speech during 2010 WHD at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru, Kenya © UN-HABITAT
During the colourful celebrations, Mr. Mudavadi who is also the Minister for Local Government led two of his cabinet colleagues in pleding his government’s commitment to addressing the housing crisis Kenya was facing.
“ We will consult all the stakeholders, including UN-HABITAT to help us find ways of addressing issues of decentralization and how the decentralized zones will be helped to be self reliant,” Mudavadi said.
Housing Minister Soita Shitanda said there was a shortage of 100,000 housing units every year in Kenya.
“Some 32 percent of the country’s 38.6 million population lives in the urban areas which is an increase from 22 percent in 1999 and this high rate of urbanization brings with it opportunities and challenges,” he said.
Hon. Musalia Mudavadi, Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister gives a speech at National Observance of World Habitat Day 2010 © UN-HABITAT
The Nairobi Metropolitan Minister Njeru Githae challenged Kenyans to be more assertive in demanding for services both from the government and other service providers.
“If your city or town is unclean you have the right to sue the Town Clerk. This is your right and not a favour being done to you,” he said.
The ceremony saw dances, bicycle races and poems, all in line with this year’s WHD theme of ‘Better City, Better Life.’
The celebrations at Gigiri saw a WHD themed skit and a musical performance by the Billian Music family from Mathare informal settlements. This drew passers-by, security staff and everyone in the vicinity.
Pillars of Kibera youth group then captured the mood of everyone present with a traditional dance. This was followed by a narrative on HIV Aids showing how a healthy city promotes better life.
Gunter Karl of Partners and Youth branch read the SG's statement and Makandey Rai, also from Partners and Youth Branch, read the DED's statement.
This was followed by a tantalizing traditional dance from the two groups. Everyone present was invited to see the exhibition. DED's statement was played on DVD.
The function came to a close at 12.45pm with a vote of thanks and a request to all present to spread the message of the WHD. A few posters were given to the youth from the informal settlements and the WHD information kits to all present.