A mixed bag of reactions has followed President William Ruto’s inaugural media interview at the state house.
Journalists drawn from Kenya’s leading media houses took to task the head of state on different issues ranging from the state of the economy, education, security, and a host of other pre-election pledges.
Asked how he intends to address the rising cost of living, Ruto defended his government’s move to remove subsidies from essential commodities.
Ruto said: “It was costing us every month Sh 16 Billion to subsidise fuel, Sh 8 Billion to subsidise Unga, Sh 3 Billion to subsidise electricity. The decision on subsidies was not an economic decision. It was a political decision. The most important thing is that I have stopped the haemorrhage of public funds.
He added: “We are going to support the production of food and interrogate the cost of energy.”
Festus Kipkoech on Twitter says the President is on the right track: “I have never regretted voting this man William Ruto as President. I trust that he has the best plan to transform this country. We need to support this government to deliver.”
While some praised how he performed in the interview, others were saddened:
Gabriel Dolan, a renowned human Right Defender, asked on Twitter: “In a new year, one would expect that Mr Ruto would stop blaming the old regime for every mistake/crime and admit that he was there for the ten years. Blame games are tiring. The country needs leadership.”
The interview did not miss some light moments when a journalist asked about the President’s missing ring.
He quipped: “There are Kenyans who are asking-as you were taking a break from the Swahili episode; you were not wearing a ring, now you have one.”
A tickled President Ruto posed to everyone’s amusement: “You know, in a hurry to come here, I was having some meetings in the office, and then someone told me, you know, go dress up, so in the process of all that I forgot to wear my ring, it is very interesting it became a subject of discussion, I thought we were having a very serious conversation here”.
Ruto also used the opportunity to outline some of his 2023 agenda but took a swipe at his predecessor’s administration on several issues.
It’s been slightly over 100 days since his election, and the media sought to establish whether his short-term pledges have been realised.
The journalists included Sam Gituku (Citizen TV), Michelle Ngele (K24), Ken Mijungu (KTN News), James Smart (NTV), Linda Alela (TV 47) and Jacob Kioria (KBC)