On the housing question


The problem with a capitalist society like ours is that everything has been commodified for profit. Basic human needs, such as residential land, housing, water, education, healthcare and what’s worse, even natural things, like love and sex, have become conduits through which some people make money.
Simply put, the love of money has been elevated far above the basic needs of the general populace. As a result, these basic human needs for survival have now been turned into luxuries that only the rich can afford.
For example, we have seen incidents where poor people needing life-saving medical procedures have to raise funds through public donations to enable them to access the so-called “expensive” medical services. Have we become so heartless that we are willing to loose and sacrifice the life of poor people on the altar of greed?
Have we elevated money over humanity and consequently lost our moral compass? What is the role of the sate in this regard? Have we fallen into the traps of free market fundamentalism and capitalist greed to the point of no return?
It would thus be ludicrous for ordinary working class citizens to be expected to compete with the rich when buying houses, or when wanting to access basic human services, because these have been priced out of their reach and are only available to those who can afford.
What is worse is that a few rich individuals have now expropriated the housing market for themselves in order to sustain their profit margins. That’s why it’s no longer easy for an ordinary person to apply for a plot and get it.
We must de-commodify basic human needs if indeed we want our people to prosper (Harambee Prosperity Plan). Otherwise, the talk of “affordability” will continue to humiliate and degrade our citizens.
Augustino Boetie Mbangu


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