President William Ruto has stepped forward to support Meg Whitman, the United States Ambassador to Kenya, following threats from Opposition leader Raila Odinga over her comments about the 2022 General Election. Speaking at the Official 2Jiajiri/GIZ Graduation Ceremony in Kasarani, President Ruto criticized Raila Odinga, the Azimio One Kenya Coalition Party Leader, for endorsing disruptive demonstrations and making unfounded statements against the U.S. envoy.
President Ruto emphasized that the U.S. is presently Kenya’s largest export market, and criticizing the Ambassador could harm the economy and demonstrate ingratitude. He stated that glorifying violent demonstrations that damage property and hinder the economy is irresponsible. He further highlighted the substantial investments from the American and German governments, stressing the need to safeguard these interests and refrain from pettiness.
Odinga had labeled Whitman as ‘rogue’ during his speech at the Devolution Conference, due to her assertion that the 2022 General Election was the most credible in Kenya’s history. President Ruto defended Whitman’s remarks as factual and urged respectful discourse. He humorously contrasted the Azimio team leading protests with those working to create investments, questioning who truly deserved the label of ‘rogue.’
President Ruto underscored America’s significant investments in Kenya, which contribute to job creation and economic growth. He emphasized the importance of enhancing access to American markets for Kenyan products like leather and textiles. He noted substantial investments from the American government, including Moderna’s planned Ksh.70 billion investment and technology sector investments totaling nearly Ksh.200 billion.
Odinga, on the other hand, criticized Ambassador Whitman for interfering in Kenyan affairs and hinted that the opposition might petition the U.S. government to recall her if she continued commenting on Kenyan matters. Odinga defended recent protests, asserting that they fostered national unity and compelled the government to engage in dialogue.
In summary, President Ruto defended Ambassador Whitman’s comments about the election, highlighted the importance of the U.S. as a trading partner, and contrasted responsible investment efforts with disruptive demonstrations. Odinga, meanwhile, criticized Whitman’s involvement in local affairs and supported the role of protests in prompting dialogue and unity.