Ruto replies critics: Some friends helped pay for private jet for US trip

Responding to critics, Kenya's President William Ruto said the plane cost about US$73,000 and rejected claims that the trip cost US$1.5 million

Kenya’s President William Ruto has defended using a private plane for his recent trip to the US. Responding to critics, he said the plane cost about 10 million shillings (US$73,000).

He added that this was a discounted rate offered by “some friends” and cheaper than the national airline, which he had initially planned to use.

Ruto rejected claims that the trip cost US$1.5 million, calling them exaggerated. Speaking at a National Prayer Breakfast in Nairobi on Thursday, (30 May), he emphasised that he would not waste taxpayers’ money despite backlash and questions from the public.

During the visit, Vice-President Kamala Harris announced the formation of a new partnership to help provide internet access to 80% of Africa by 2030, up from roughly 40% now.
Besides launching the nonprofit Partnership for Digital Access in Africa, Harris announced an initiative to give 100 million African people and businesses in the agricultural sector access to the digital economy.

Upon returning, Ruto explained he was initially set to book Kenya Airways for himself and 30 others. However, friends offered a cheaper private jet when they learned he would fly commercially.

Ruto insisted he leads by example in cutting costs and urged critics to “relax.” Yet, questions persist about the appropriateness of accepting such offers.

Some Kenyans, like Karani Mutonga and Mwangi Maina on X, demanded transparency about these friends and their motives, suggesting potential geopolitical implications.

This spending controversy comes as Ruto’s government has been criticized for perceived extravagance amid rising taxes and public dissatisfaction since he took office in 2022.

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